Jul 12 2011

Building a Biometrics Following


U.S. school districts are lagging behind their counterparts overseas when it comes to biometrics adoption, says C. William Day, senior analyst at the educational technology and facility consulting firm KBD Planning Group. While privacy concerns are an obstacle, he points to the way in which fingerprint scanners are deployed as a bigger issue.

“There's currently only an approximately 70 percent accuracy rate among fingerprint scanners used in the United States,” Day explains. In Europe, accuracy is much higher because the scanners are configured to scan two to three fingers; models used stateside, meanwhile, only scan one finger.

According to Day, having only a single fingerprint as a reference point is problematic because it permits false-acceptance rates (that is, a higher percentage of impostors are accepted) and false-rejection rates (a higher percentage of authorized users are rejected) to occur. Additionally, finger residue can build up quickly on a scanning plate and cause interference.

“The industry as a whole must become more proactive in dispelling the negative misconceptions” about biometrics as a means of identifying users, Day says. “Educators need to be better informed [so they] understand the value biometrics can bring to a [school's] security system.”