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Increased use of biometrics has encouraged increasing concern about the privacy and security implications of these technologies. This paper considers the identifiability of stored biometric
 

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Increased use of biometrics has encouraged increasing concern about the privacy and security
implications of these technologies. This paper considers the identifiability of stored biometric
information, and its implications for biometric privacy and security. Biometric authentication is
typically performed by a sophisticated software application, which manages the user interface and
database, and interacts with a vendor specific, proprietary biometric algorithm. Enrolled biometric
records are stored in the format of templates - a (typically vendor specific) compact digital
representation of the essential features of the sample image. Because, biometric algorithm vendors
have uniformly claimed that it is impossible or infeasible to recreate the image from the template,
templates are traditionally considered to be non-identifiable data, much like a password hash. These
claims are supported by the fact that: 1) the template records features (such as fingerprint minutiae)
and not image primitives, 2) templates are typically calculated using only a small portion of the
image, 3) templates are small - a few hundred bytes - much smaller than the sample image, and 4)
the proprietary nature of the storage format makes templates difficult to "hack".
Recently, Hill (B.S. Thesis, Australian National University, 2001) demonstrated that is was
possible to reverse engineer the file format of a particular (unspecified) fingerprint template.
Software was developed to generate an image which would compare at high match score with the
original, and would visually elucidate the essential characteristics of the original fingerprint. The
implications of this work was analysed in a report by the International Biometric Group, where the

  

Source: Adler, Andy - Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences