The series of case histories – most of which have not previously been heard in the UK – delegates to the conference could hear about new applications including border control projects in Europe and Chile, travel security initiatives in the USA and Australia, uses in the South African healthcare industry and banking/payment systems in Senegal, Japan and the UK.

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“Today’s heightened interest in biometrics reflects the fact that the technology can now offer secure, cost-effective and user friendly solutions from single-user implementations to internationally based projects involving millions of users,” said Mark Lockie, editor of Biometric Technology Today and Biometrics 2004 programme coordinator.

With national identity cards an increasingly hot topic, the concept of identity technology is explored from both technical and societal perspectives. In her keynote presentation, Katherine Courtney, Identity Cards Programme Director at the UK Home Office was updating the delegates on the UK National Identity Cards Scheme.

Additional presentations brought delegates up to speed with similar projects in Europe and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />USA. Offering a contrasting view on the increased use of identity technology, Simon Davies, Director of Privacy International, provided his insight into what the future is likely to hold for identification technology and civil rights in his closing keynote presentation ‘The ticking time bomb: How governments will use digital ID to destroy freedom’.

Numerous successful techniques have been developed to ‘hack’ biometrics systems – from the use of silicone-based technologies to data-based attacks.

Further balancing the program was a session dedicated to biometrics system security on the opening day of the conference, Professor Tsutomu Matsumoto, famous for his ‘gummy-finger spoofing’ revelations, revealed his brand new research into the vulnerabilities of not just fingerprint but also iris recognition systems. 

Professor Matsumoto was joined by Professor John Daugman, the inventor of iris recognition and other expert speakers to look at ways of incorporating defences and addressing system security as a whole.