Electronic Design

Biometrics Brings New Benefits And Challenges

Fingerprint scanning—the main method of biometric verification for many years—is no longer the only means of identifying a person. Now there's iris and facial recognition, voice recognition, vein recognition, embedded RFID chips, and smart ID cards. Down the road, embedded genetic chips will identify us to the most exacting levels. All of this new technology has emerged due to the need for greater security for our citizens, government, and financial institutions.

The creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has challenged the federal government's ability to bring cohesive security solutions to our nation's infrastructure and computer networks. Major investments are being made in protecting our private and commercial networks and in how organizations use information. The advent of the U.S. Congress' Oxley Sarbanes Act and the attendant need to build a careful accounting trail is further fueling the need for valid biometric identification and verification.

As a result of these efforts, Americans face many issues of privacy versus protection of their physical and monetary assets. We face a world where corporate corruption has forced unparalleled controls upon companies. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have opened our citizens up to greater scrutiny as well.

While the protection of individual rights is always in jeopardy, I believe that we must trust our systems of checks and balances to keep our country the strongest and most free nation on earth. Some might argue that it's no longer safe to trust our government, or "Big Brother," given recent revelations of government scandals at all levels—municipal, county, state, and federal. But what other means do we have to keep our nation strong? In the long run, our system of checks and balances will prevail and ensure our freedom.

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