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Biometric Education » FAQ
What is biometrics ?
Biometrics is the study of the measurable physical or biological characteristics that are unique to each person.

What is applied biometrics ?
When applied to security and access control situations, biometrics enable devices to verify individual identities - with fewer security personnel, enhanced access hours, and no potential for collusion or fraud. Biometric devices provide the highest level of solutions for security applications.

Why use biometric technology ?
By definition, personal biometrics are unique and non-transferable. Biometrics based security provides convenience for the implementer and the user: the biometric cannot be lost, stolen or forgotten, and reduces administrative costs.

Is biometric technology physically safe for the individual ?
Yes. The methods employed to gather biometric data on individuals are non-invasive and pose no threat to physical health or well-being. When properly installed, biometric devices enhance both security and ease of access. No health hazards have occured in the more than 25 years that biometric devices have been in use.

Are identification and authentication/verification the same ?
No. In biometrics, “identification” occurs when a live biometric—like a fingerprint—is compared electronically to a database containing many stored fingerprint images and a match is found. Identification compares one to many, where “authentication” or “verification” is a one to one comparison. Identification systems ask, “Who are you?” Authentication systems ask, “Are you who you claim to be?”

Why choose fingerprints over another type of biometric ?
Fingerprints provide one of the oldest and most accepted forms of personal verification; no two fingerprints ever have been found to be the same. The use of fingerprints is accurate, reliable, convenient, and unobtrusive.

How do biometric devices work ?
Biometric devices compare a properly “enrolled” sample with a live sample and attempt to make a match.

What is the enrollment process ?
There are three steps to enrollment: 1. The biometric (e.g. fingerprint) being used is captured by a sensing mechanism (a scanner or the like); 2. The unique characteristics of the biometric are converted and encrypted into an identifier record; 3. The record is stored on a token (kept in the possession of the user) for later use in comparing the enrolled record to the live biometric.

How do you protect my fingerprint biometric data from being stolen ?
During enrollment, the minutiae points are assigned values that are encrypted; the fingerprint itself is discarded from the computer's memory and only the fingerprint template is stored on the token you carry. The encrypted information is meaningless until the corresponding live biometric is available for comparison. If your token is stolen, it cannot be used for unauthorized access and your fingerprint is not at risk.

If I cut my enrolled finger, can I still use the system ?
A severely cut or damaged finger can render a reading invalid. We recommend enrolling more than one finger as a backup in case your usual finger is injured.

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