ICPR 2008

Invited Talk 7

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Hardware and Software Architectures for

Secure Biometric Systems


By Barry W. Johnson (USA)

Reviewed by Vasant Manohar (USA)

With increasing amount of concerns raised on the cost-effectiveness, plausibility, and—most important of all—vulnerability of biometrics-based personal authentication systems, the plenary talk by Barry Johnson (Chairman and CTO of Privaris, Inc; Professor of ECE and Associate Dean of Research, University of Virginia) on personal biometrics couldn’t have been more significant and relevant.

The main goal of personal biometrics is to define a self-contained and onboard biometrics solution that is exclusive to an individual. Besides providing secure and cost-effective implementations, it should create a single authentication solution for multiple applications. One such product is the plusID (shown in the figure below), developed by Privaris, which is a fully distributed fingerprint-based personal authentication device so small that you can hang it on your keychain.


All of the following steps are performed on the device: sensing, enrollment, biometric processing, storage, and matching. Such an approach protects the user’s privacy by retaining all fingerprint information in a secure processor of the tamper resistant device, not in a centralized biometric database. It also eliminates the enterprise's liability and maintenance costs associated with implementing and securing a biometric database. For more specifications on plusID, visit www.privaris.com/products/index.html and refer the associated white paper at the same URL.

In the near future, Johnson also envisions systems on cell phones that use touch screen as a human-machine interface technology. If this becomes a reality and sees widespread deployment, we would indeed have “security at our fingertips”.