OmniPerception warns against ‘post 9/11’ complacency in use of biometric technology

According to Stewart Hefferman, the firm's CEO, the events of 9/11 have put biometric technology firmly in the spotlight as an effective way of verifying the identity of citizens and strengthening the security of potentially vulnerable areas such as airports and other public spaces.

“You only have to take a trip to the US to see just how integrated face recognition, iris and fingerprint technologies have become into the overall security response of the country at its main borders”, he said.

Hefferman added that the UK and much of the rest of the world has also introduced biometric passports following the recognition that the technology is capable of providing the most accurate method of identifying a person’s face.

Plans for a national identity card in the UK, he noted, however, have not come to fruition, although biometrics - most notably facial recognition technology – has, he says, witnessed a growth in popularity in the aftermath of the shocking events of 9/11.

Facial recognition technology, he adds. has the benefit of providing a precise digital map of the face that can verify the identity of a known criminal if their details are already registered on a database.

But whilst trailblazing police forces in the UK such as Merseyside, Nottinghamshire and Hertfordshire have adopted biometrics technology in their custody suites to verify the identity of persistent offenders, the OmniPerception CEO says it now widely recognised that there is a clear link between local crime and international terrorism, as well as a recognition of the value of the work individual police forces carry out in helping identify potential terrorists.

“Although it is wrong to describe face recognition in particular as a panacea to solving the world’s security problems – it has proved to be a major player in the crime fighting armoury of countries such as the UK and the US in the ten years since 9/11”, said Hefferman.

Against this backdrop, he argues that the industry has worked hard to demonstrate that the technology can be extremely accurate, fast and ‘user friendly’, as well as working to protect the rights of individual citizens rather than infringing them.

“The challenges for the coming years are more to do with ensuring that the technology itself does not stand still and continues to evolve and develop in line with other technology such as mobile phone and the internet which is continuing to advance at a rapid pace,” he explained.

“We must not only continually strive to ensure the technology is as accurate as possible but that it must also be fit for purpose as the risk changes and evolves. The terror threat has changed and evolved dramatically over the past ten years and so biometric technology must keep up with this pace”, he said.

“As CEO of the company, I think it’s vital for us and the industry as a whole not the rest of its laurels and to continue to ensure that biometrics is an evolving technology that will continue to develop and be as relevant now as it has been over the past ten years”, he added.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?