Europe hopes to set framework for biometric standards

September 10, 2012 - 

A new Biometrics Evaluation and Testing (BEAT) project has been launched and is funded by the European Commission, under the Seventh Framework Programme, in order to set a framework for systematically evaluating the performance of biometric technologies using several metrics and criteria.

The project is headed by Dr Sébastien Marcel and coordinated at the Idiap Research Institute.  The project, specifically, responds to the need of setting standard operational evaluations to measure reliability of biometrics technologies, which are difficult to compare.

Although biometric evaluations exist in Europe, Asia and the U.S., they are not harmonized.  Evaluations have often been isolated, only concentrating only on one or two biometric modalities; disorganized with teams working separately on different biometrics; and limited in time as it is not an ongoing evaluation process. The project, therefore, hopes to contribute in setting up an European Identification Certification System.

BEAT focuses on the following criteria to measure reliability of biometric technologies: (i) performance of the underlying biometric system; (ii) robustness to vulnerabilities such as direct (spoofing) or indirect attacks; and, (iii) strength of privacy preservation techniques.

The project expects the following outcomes:  (i) measurable reliability of biometric systems for meaningful increase in performance; (ii) easier technology transfers from research organizations to companies because of a new interoperable framework; and (ii) informed decisions as progress will be documented which will impact the standards set.

The project will sets several deliverables; with the first phase examining terminologies and functional specifications.

To achieve its goals, BEAT will first set-up an online and open platform to transparently and independently evaluate biometric systems vis-à-vis validated benchmarks.  Then, it will design protocol and tools for vulnerability analysis and standardization documents for common criteria evaluation.  Legal aspects will form part of it to ensure data privacy and intellectual property protections.

Will standardization improve the accuracy of biometrics technologies in the future?

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About T'ash Spenser

T’ash Spencer writes full time for She has 15 years experience in the field of regional planning and earned her Master’s of Science in Regional Development Planning and Management from the University of Dortmund, Germany. Follow her @tashspencer1.