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Biometrics – Not just fingerprints anymore

The field and application of biometrics has evolved. From fingerprints to DNA analysis, biometrics have been at the forefront of identification and security for a long time now.

Recently, companies in Japan have begun using advanced biometric systems that identify a person based on the pattern of veins in their fingers. This technology was developed by Hitachi and reads the complex lattice work of small blood vessels under the finger’s skin.

Dubbed one of the most secure forms of biometrics, Hitachi claims claims that because the veins are inside the body and virtually invisible to the human eye, it is “extremely difficult to forge and manipulate”.

“While fingerprints can be “lifted” and retinas scanned without an individual realising it, it is extremely unlikely that people’s finger vein profiles can be taken without them being aware of it.”

Another similar technology developed by Fujitsu scans a person’s entire palm and identifies a person by the blood vessel pattern therein. This technology is actually being used in Carolina’s health care system in Charlotte, NC. The scanners are linked to hospital patient databases and are used at all registration points. Where I go, I have to carry around an 8″x11″ picture of myself attached to my hospital card. They have to take a picture every time I go in for any type of appointment and I have to carry it around until I leave the hospital. You know, in case I forget who I am. And they always manage to make it a shitty picture.

The company I work for is considering a biometric system using fingerprints for employees to punch in and punch out when they come in and leave work. Gattaca anyone? Next thing I’ll know I’ll have provide a DNA, blood and urine sample, fingerprints, a voice pattern and have my iris scanned. But maybe I’m getting too worked up over it. No more 7 hour days for me. Gotta put in my full 8.


On an unrelated note, my Saturday blog schedule is changing to Thursdays starting next week. So mark your calendars.

3 comments to Biometrics – Not just fingerprints anymore

  • springer.adam

    How much variation is there from person to person in these vein patterns? Are twins distiguishable? How about siblings?

  • IPVlazy

    Wow this is a really good development because unless a criminal finds a way to cut into his hand and somehow change his blood vessel orientation (which is basically impossible), this is a great new way to keep track and identify people. The USA and Canadian government already has my fingerprints and iris scans, I may as well head over there and give them my blood vessels too.

  • I have mixed feelings about biometrics. On the surface it seems more secure than say, passwords and login names. However, any biometric data can still be stolen, and I don’t mean by cutting off your finger. Between the point your finger touches the sensor and the ultra secure vault opens up, your finger print, or vein print, is turned into data that the computer can process. Data is hackable, and data can be stolen. If your credit card number or your pin number are stolen you can always have the numbers changed. If your biometric data is stolen there isn’t much you can do about it.

    As biometrics become used more and more widely, the opportunities to hack the data also increase. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is much harder to hack biometric data rather than normal passwords, but when they are hacked there is no easy remedy. You can even get your SSN number changed in extreme cases of identity theft. What recourses do we have with compromised biometrics?

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