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Crossmatch explores history and future of biometrics

Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes

Crossmatch is exploring the history of biometrics on its website with a six-part series of posts. Four parts of “Behind the Biometrics Boom: The Secret History of Identity” have been published so far, which cover the development of biometrics from ancient times to the 21st century.

The series begins with “Biometrics in the Ancient World,” and discusses the evidence of the use of fingerprints to identify individuals in ancient Mesopotamian societies, providing a way for even the illiterate majority to “sign” a document. It also compares the principle of using fingerprints in Chinese society thousands of years ago to modern identity schemes like Aadhaar, which are used to authenticate identity in relatively large populations.

The second article covers 12 famous people in the development of biometrics as a field between 1684 and 1901. During this period the ridges, furrows, and pores of people’s fingers, hands, and feet were described, examined, and proposed to be unique. Early attempts were made to systematize fingerprint identification, and the fingerprinting as a tool for law enforcement was first described and applied.

The third section, on “The Rapid Growth of Biometrics,” presents a quiz about major milestones in the development and application of biometrics, including the first version of keystroke biometrics.

The fourth part is a video which deals with the consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the biometrics industry, particularly in America. It calls biometrics “the keystone of a government-wide push to keep another 9/11 from happening and modernize our security,” and explains how the response broadly spurred the development and use of biometrics.

The remaining topics cover the present and future of biometrics. For more information on the history of biometrics, see the Biometric Update “History of Biometrics” Explainer.

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