SIA Calls Latest NRC Biometrics Research Outdated

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Security Industry Association (SIA) is disputing a report by the National Research Council (NRC) that criticizes biometrics, stating that the study relies on data that is several years old and provides no new insights into the use of the technology.

Titled “Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities,” NRC released the nearly 200-page report on Sept. 24. The report claims that biometric technology is “inherently fallible” and that the “scientific basis of biometrics … needs strengthening.”

In its response, SIA acknowledged that new technologies often have limitations, but cautioned against interpreting the NRC report as a refutation of biometrics. The association noted that while the NRC provides useful recommendations for additional study, a lot of the information provided in the report is outdated. SIA maintains the research used for the report is from 2006 and that there have been many significant advances in biometrics technology, testing and standards since then.

SIA goes on to offer a vigorous defense of biometrics.

“Biometrics technology has the potential to change society to the same degree as Alexander Fleming’s penicillin, Henry Ford’s mass production of the automobile or the Wright brothers’ airplane,” SIA states in its response. “Biometric technology can answer the question, ‘Are you who you claim you are?’ Open standards are available and are constantly being enhanced to further develop this technology and provide a more unified approach to verifying an individual’s identity. Biometrics provide an effective countermeasure against fraud and identity theft in applications as diverse as personal access to buildings and computers, banking security, business-to-business transactions and e-commerce.”

The association concluded its response by asserting that “automatic biometric systems are here to stay because of their ability to tie an undisputable physical attribute to an individual.”


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