What Does The Future Hold For Biometric Security Technology?

Welcome to the first post in our series on ‘Emerging Use Cases’. In this post, David Orme, SVP of Sales and Marketing at IDEX Biometrics, discusses the future of biometric security technology.

Put simply, biometric identification is the use of our biology as a way of identifying us: our unique characteristics, movements, body temperatures and even the way we walk can all be used. The increasing sophistication of fraudsters and hackers and international concern over terrorist threats, as well as concerns more recently over viruses such as Covid-19 being spread through cash, has increased the urgency for companies and governments to develop more secure ways of operating.

Biometric passports have been used by the UK government since 2010, and according to their website, the first one was issued in 2006 and included a chip that held the user’s facial biometric (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/biometric-passports-and-passport-readers/biometric-passports-and-passport-readers). These passports had the holder’s personal information on the last page, and the antenna and chip were visible on the observations page.

The Rapid Increase In Biometric Technology

China is at the forefront of the biometric payment revolution. In 2018, their largest e-commerce shopping promotional event saw 60 percent of the attendees paying by scanning their fingerprints or taking a photo for their phone payment apps.

In 2019, we witnessed the UK banking sector adopting the technologies with NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland, including biometric fingerprint sensors within their bank cards, removing the need for pins even for transactions above the £30 contactless limit.

The high street is poised to embrace biometric payment methods with the adoption of fingerprint sensor cards, removing the need for the three digit security number on the back of cards, which can be easily used in fraudulent transactions. Businesses are also rapidly switching over to secure biometrics systems with a predicted take-up of 90 percent by the end of 2020.

Governments Are Embracing The Technology

Governments throughout the world are well aware of the merits of biometrics, with customs, schools, and hospitals adopting the technology. Schools in the UK are already using cashless payment systems to pay for school meals–known as “finger payments”—allowing pupils to cover school trips and any materials they may need. These fingerprint scanners mean that the children no longer need to carry cash, and parents can easily transfer money for their children onto the cashless payment account while at home or at work.

However, the future of biometric security needs to focus upon facial recognition or card-based systems to curb the spread of diseases.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Police Department, for example, have stopped all their employees from using fingerprint ID entry.

There is little doubt that the Coronavirus crisis will increase demand for on-card fingerprint sensors and facial recognition solutions. In fact, the pandemic is creating a market opportunity for both card-based system and facial recognition manufacturers.

However, privacy issues remain a priority, as technical experts and industry analysts are keen to emphasize. Biometric specialists are now working to ensure that the devices provide the requisite level of security and identity protection.

So, What Does The Future Of Biometric Security Looks Like?

We are going to see an increase in “behaviometrics” and Palm Vein Pattern Authentication (PVPA). According to multinational IT services and equipment company Fujitsu Ltd., PVPA involves the comparison of palm veins in the person being authenticated against a pattern that is stored in a database. (https://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/COMP/ffna/palm-vein/palmsecure_wp.pdf)

However, two-factor authentication to combine these with another stable biometric feature is vital to make the authentication completely protected. Fingerprints are still the most secure and remain the most stable through every stage of life.

As the benefits of biometric authentication that became apparent in more areas of our lives, producers and manufacturers of biometric technology must act responsibly and work hard to mitigate any security risks to user data and identities. As this technology continues to evolve and becomes more widely used, there’s no clear way to know exactly what the future holds, but it is certainly bright.