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Government initiatives spur growth for biometrics

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By Publish Staff

(IDG) -- Governments around the world are responding to consumer concerns about the confidentiality of their personal information that is being stored or transmitted by companies. By enacting strict privacy legislation, such as laws that guarantee confidentiality of health insurance records, governments intend to hold companies accountable for all personal information they retain.

As the demand for privacy safeguards grows, biometrics, which can offer high levels of protection against information and identity fraud, are expected to show impressive gains.

Biometrics are automated techniques that are designed to verify or identify people by their physical characteristics. Various technologies for biometrics authentication include finger-scan, hand geometry, iris recognition, voice verification, face recognition, signature verification and retina recognition.

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"The emergence of new standards could demolish a long-standing obstacle to industry growth," says Frost & Sullivan Analyst Prianka Chopra. "The biometrics industry, once plagued with interoperability issues, has combined forces and agreed on a common platform."

Previously, biometrics relied on proprietary methods to store and exchange data, locking users into one specific technology. The newly released Biometric API standard (BioAPI) should facilitate communication between applications.

Nevertheless, there still remains work to do on standards. Manufacturers of PKI and smart cards, for example, must strive to integrate their technologies with biometrics.

New analysis by Frost & Sullivan, a strategic market consulting and training company in San Antonio, Texas, titled "World Biometric Technologies Markets," indicates the total biometrics market generated $66 million in 2000 and is expected to reach $900 million by 2006.





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