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Security Technology

A Wrinkle For Biometric Systems: Irises Change Over Time 59

scibri writes "The iris scanners that are used to police immigration in some countries, like the UK, are based on the premise that your irises don't change over your lifetime. But it seems that assumption is wrong. Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have found that irises do indeed change over time, enough so that the failure rate jumps by 153% over three years. While that means a rise from just 1 in 2 million to 2.5 in two million, imagine how that will affect a system like India's — which already has 200 million people enrolled — over 10 years."
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A Wrinkle For Biometric Systems: Irises Change Over Time

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:37AM (#40118917)

    One in a million instead of one in two millions. I guess it would still not overload the average office clerk to double check that many people. Yes, it would be a nuisance, but a minor one.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not really a fan of biometrics, but I guess we'd have to come up with a better reason than one of statistical insignificance. Likewise you could say inoculations are bad because one in a million develops a rash so let's toss it altogether.

    The only thing that I can take from this is that officials should be informed that a negative on a biometric scan is NOT necessarily a proof that the person is not who he claims to be.

  • Re:uh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:44AM (#40118943)
    I object to the notion that pointless identification by the state like iris prints for immigration only fucks over a tiny percentage of the population. The loss of privacy is a bigger concern for me, and I've never had iris scans, to my knowledge.
  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:43AM (#40119773)

    And yet iris and retena scans are FAR more privacy friendly than fingerprints or DNA.

    We don't go around leaving our eye prints all over the place. And it is far more difficult to obtain them clandestinely.

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