Biometrics is the science and technology of measuring and analyzing physical characteristics of a person such as DNA, eye retina, iris, fingerprints, hand measurement, facial pattern, voice pattern etc. This information technology tool called is today widely used as part of security measures across the world, more so by the police and intelligence agencies. Federal agencies of a large number of countries, including USA, Germany, Italy, Australia, and UK among others, have adapted to biometric security systems.
Though biometric security can be based on any of the attributes discussed above, systems based on fingerprint and iris or eye retina recognition are still considered to be more reliable and are preferred over the others. This is because these two attributes are the entirely unique and are never the same for two individuals. Also they are easy to register. Facial patterns can change with weight changes and changes in facial hair pattern. Voice patterns also vary due to cough, cold and other illnesses. Though DNA is the most unique feature of a human being the complicacy involved in matching a DNA sample with an individual fails to make a DNA recognition system a popular access control measure. As a result fingerprint access control and iris recognition systems are most widely used as a biometric security measure.
Even a couple of decades ago biometric authentication procedures were a part of science fictions. But today biometrics is a reality and biometric access control systems are soon taking over traditional access control measuresto guard sensitive data. The advantage of biometric access control over traditional password protected systems is that not only are passwords protected system easier to intercept as compared to biometric systems, but also it takes a lot of time to recover a password if it is forgotten. Apart from access control biometrics is also utilized as part of biometric attendance record.