As biometric systems are deployed within security systems, or as part of identification programs, implementation issues relating to security and privacy need to be considered. The role of a biometric system is to recognize (or not) an individual through specific physiological or behavioral traits. The use of the word 'recognize' is significant - defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "identify as already known". In other words, a biometric system does not establish the identity of an individual in any way, it merely recognizes that they are who they say they are (in a verification or a 'positive identification' system), or that they were not previously known to the system (in a 'negative identification' system, for example, to avoid double enrollment in a welfare system). This tie between the actual identity of an individual and the use of biometrics is subtle and provokes much debate, particularly relating to privacy and other societal issues. This paper seeks to clarify come of these issues by providing a framework, and by distinguishing between technology and societal issues. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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