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The NSTC definition, which is similar to definitions in other authorities sources, differs from a more traditional use of the term, based on classical Greek words for life (bios) and measure (metron), the term biometric was introduced in the early 1800s to mean "the statistical analysis of biological observations and phenomena." Though the two definitions may appear very close, they have different connotations. There is noting in the earlier meaning to indicate reliance on automation. Indeed, there could not have been. It first appeared in 1831 in the International Scientific Vocabulary. Biometrics as we know it today depends on evermore powerful computer hardware and software.
Indeed, biometrics, as construed by the NSTC, did not come into being until manual methods of recognition were superseded by automated methods. Consider fingerprints, for example. The use of fingerprints in law enforcement dates back to the 19th century. But rolling inked fingertips on cardboard and comparing those prints, under a microscope, with other prints drawn from a card file does not qualify as a biometric method of recognition under the current definition. This method is manual and time-consuming. The prints are no digitized and stored in software. They are not available for electronic transmission to distant locations. The old fingerprinting method, in short, is not an automated method.
Issues related. Definitions - Biometric .