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According to the NSTC definition (and other current definitions), biometrics is all about recognition. The more traditional definition applies to all "biological observations and phenomena." The field of biometrics it is an enabling technology used in the service of such practical projects as identity management (in lieu of passwords, cards, etc.) and forensic.
Biometric recognition takes two general forms, called verification and identification: Verification uses a biometric system to determine that an individual is who he or she claims to be. In this mode, a biometric system is similar to a credit card or password that allows a person to log onto a computer, cash a a check, or enter a secured physical space.
Biometric systems can also verify that a person is someone he or she claims not to be. For example, a fingerprint check might establish that a person attempting to vote has actually already voted under a different name. Verifying that someone is not already in a biometric database is sometimes called a duplication search. Identification is the familiar use of a biometric modality, such as fingerprints, to aid in the search for a person of unknown identity, such as a criminal suspect or crime victim, or to locate a person of known identity but unknown whereabouts, such as a terror suspect.
The two different types of identification searches are called open-set identification and close-set identification. The NSTC glossary defines open-set identification as a Biometric task that more closely follows operational biometric system conditions to 1) determine if someone is in a database and 2) find the record of the individual in the database. This is sometimes referred to as the "watchlist" ask ... By contrast, the NTSC glossary defines closed-set identification as A biometric task an unidentified individual is known to be in the database and the system attempts to determine his/her identity. Performance is measured by the frequency with which the individual appears in the system's top rank (or top 5, 10, etc.). Closed-set identification is useful for testing the performance of a system by submitting probe data from an enrolled individual.
Implicit in the concept of human identification, and explicit in the definition of closed-set identification, is the possibility of error arising from various sources such scanner malfunctions or an imperfect biometric image. A verification search may be in error either by falsely accepting an identity claim or falsely rejecting an identity claim. For example, false acceptance might allow an impostor to gain access to another individual's bank account. An example of false rejection is refusing the correct person access to the account. Issues related. Definitions - Biometric . Definitions - Automated .