The biometric industry has grown at a breathtaking pace in the last decade. According to reports, the biometric identification industry grossed more than ten billion dollars during last year. What explains the growth of this industry? How come it is so recession proof? Why is the government so keen on Biometric Devices? The answer to this question lies in the government mandate: Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12.
According to this directive, laid down in 2004, U.S policy is to enhance security, increase efficiency, reduce identity fraud, and protect personal privacy, by establishing a mandatory, government wide, identification policy for all federal employees and federal contractors. The directive was passed because it was observed that the prevailing system of identification was full of loopholes and presented a danger to national security. This directive spurred the biometric identification industry to improve its product and there has been no looking back since then.
Since the directive covered all federal buildings it became imperative to protect network resources too. Network resources included access to computers, servers, central and local database. The old system of access control, relying on a password system, was passé as it could be hacked. To avoid this from happening, the scope of the directive was extended to network resources as well. Biometric devices fitted the bill perfectly because it fulfilled all the requirements of the presidential directive when it came to operational capability, scalability and security.
The directive called for the installation of a uniform, electronic, secure, tamper proof identification system for all federal employees and federal contractors. Biometric access control collects biometric data like fingerprints, iris pattern, and voice and uses it for verification purposes. Automated fingerprint identification system scans the finger and compares it with pre-recorded data to confirm the identity of the user. The newer generation of fingerprint scanner makes impersonation impossible. Thanks to this reliability, hotels, airports, public buildings rely upon automated fingerprint identification systems for security.