According to its etymology, the word ”biometry” literally means “measurement of life and living”. This term was first used in the field of cinema, but it was also translated into the field of security technologies when the first biometric criteria appeared for civilian purposes, such as the identification of fingerprints.
The upcoming of biometrics brought new responses to the need to detect and authenticate the individual identity in a secure, reliable and precise manner: the biometric authentication systems, generally applied to restrict the access to specific areas, products and private services.
The main weakness of conventional techniques, such as magnetic cards, personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords, is that the means of authentication and access can be stolen and used by someone faking his identity. Identification using biometry counteracts the risk of identity theft, since each person, with or without another identification method needed (for example a card), needs to prove the system he is who he claims to be. This is obtained by corroborating unrepeatable individual characteristics (iris, voice, fingerprints, face, etc.) with a base of digital data.
Many processes needing high levels of security benefit largely from biometric authentication.