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A Brief Overview of Biometrics in the Philippines

There has been an increase in concern regarding the security of private systems and files. The ability of technology to protect us from unauthorized access is an issue shared by many, from the casual home computer user to corporations, businesses, medical providers and professionals, and even governments like the Philippines. Biometric systems aim to bridge this gap in security.

One of the most important priorities when it comes to securing data, information, supplies, or equipment in your home or place of business is confirming that the person accessing these confidential, sensitive, or classified information is actually authorized to do so. This is usually done by the person proving their identity through the use of means or methods of authentication.

In other words, a person must be able to prove who they say they are before they can access anything in your workplace. If this person is unable to do so and fail to prove their authenticity, they will then be denied access from the facility.

A good security system should be able to identify a person if they are an authorized user in one of three following ways: what you are, what you have, or what you know. The most popular and widely used among these three methods is what you know e.g. passwords or other personal information. The more sophisticated method is what you have e.g. tokens and smart cards. The last and primary topic of discussion is what you know; in this case, biometric systems technology.

What are Biometrics?

What are Biometrics

It can be very difficult to establish a definition for biometrics that is all-encompassing because it can be used in a wide variety of applications. The most suitable definition of biometrics, however, can be: “The use of behavioral or physiological characteristics in an automated way to verify or determine identity.”

Physiological biometrics, to elaborate on this definition, is based on data and measurements derived from measuring apart of the human body directly. The most popular forms of physiological biometrics include facial-scan, hand-scan, iris-scan, retina-scan, and finger-scan.

Behavioral biometrics, on the other hand, is based on the action that a person takes. They are based on data and measurements gathered from an action that measures the characteristics of a human body indirectly. The most popular means of behavioral biometric technologies are signature-scan, voice-scan, and keystroke-scan. The incorporation of time is one of the major characteristics that define behavioral biometric. The behavior that is measured has a beginning, middle, and end.

It is important to consider that the difference between behavioral biometrics and physiological biometrics is slightly artificial. Physiology still plays a large part in behavioral biometrics such as the dexterity of your fingers or hands when using signature-scan or the shape of vocal chords when using voice-scan.

Similarly, physiological biometric technologies are influenced by user behavior such as the way a person looks at a camera or the manner in which a user presents a finger. The distinction between behavioral biometrics and physiological biometrics, however, can still be a helpful way to understand exactly how these biometric systems work and how they can be applied in the real world.

Biometrics are automated in a way that the processes involved are often machine-based or computerized. The process includes acquiring samples, extracting features, retrieving records, and algorithm-based matching. As a result, the decision-making involved in biometrics is very quick and happens in real-time in most cases.

Efficiency of Biometrics

Without a doubt, biometrics technology is the most efficient way of authentication compared to the more common methods such as using smart cards, passwords, or any combination of the two. The user would potentially not have to remember a password or series of passwords just to access information, especially if they have a hard time remembering.

Passwords also have expiration dates and need to be updated with new ones constantly, adding even more to the workload of your technical support staff. Corporations, businesses, and medical providers have also found that far too often, users cannot remember their passwords. Resolving this by trying to access the information they need by navigating through a series of steps can be time-consuming and cumbersome.

Biometrics can provide a solution to all of these problems because this technology would be a very efficient way to authenticate your employees. You can save time and resources when you are able to authenticate just one time and be recognized properly. This is why for many businesses in countries like the Philippines, biometrics are being recognized as the more efficient choice.

Types of Biometrics Available in the Philippines

Types of Biometrics Available in the Philippines

Here is a short summary of how different kinds of biometrics work and how one interacts with them:

 

  • Finger-Scan

The user gently places his or her finger on an optical or silicon surface when prompted. This surface is known as a platen and is usually the size of a postage stamp. IT can be built into a peripheral device such as a mouse, keyboard, or PCMCIA card. Generally, the user must hold their finger onto the surface for one to two seconds. During this time, an automated matching and comparison process takes place. The user then gains access to files, programs, or resources after matching successfully.

 

  • Facial-Scan

The user faces a camera that is typically positioned within 24 inches from the face. The system can usually locate the face of a user very quickly and tries to match it with the claimed identity immediately. Depending on the situation, a person may have to slightly alter their facial aspects in order to be verified.

 

  • Voice-Scan

A user positions him or herself near the device for acquisition such as a telephone or microphone. When prompted, the user either repeats a passphrase provided by the system or recites an enrollment passphrase.

 

  • Iris-Scan

Similar to the voice scan, the user positions him or herself near an acquisition device; this time, a standalone or peripheral camera. The user centers their eye on the device so they can see the reflection of their eye. The user should be between two or 18 inches away, depending on the device.

 

  • Retina-Scan

The user looks into a small opening on a wall-mounted or a desktop device. While holding their head very still, they will then look directly at a small, green light inside the device.

 

  • Hand-Scan

The user places their hand, palm down on a metal surface with five guidance pegs. The guidance pegs make sure that the fingers are properly placed and ensure correct hand position.

 

  • Signature-Scan

The user signs on the capture area of a tablet when prompted.

 

  • Keystroke-Scan

The user types his or her password or passphrase.

Challenges Involving Biometrics in the Philippines

 

  • Function Creep

Also known as mission creep, function creep is the process of widening the scope of the original purpose of the task, in this case, obtaining information by including purposes other than the one stated originally. Function creep can happen with or without the agreement or knowledge of the person who provides the data. Many experts in privacy deem function creep as something that is inevitable.

 

  • Tracking

Tracking refers to the ability to monitor, in real time, the actions of an individual or searching databases for any information that may determine these actions. Tracking has been considered a particular type of function creep, which is why concerns have been raised about the ability of an individual to maintain his or her anonymity. Because of the use of massive databases that contain detailed, personal information, there are even some people that fear a “Big Brother” situation.  This is especially concerning once the government gains access to this database and the ability to track every individual.

 

  • Misuse of Data

Stealing identities, or identity theft, has become more of a threat as technology becomes more integrated into the information and commerce industries. Misuse of personal data and information can be avoided and prevented in countries like the Philippines with the use of biometrics because it makes identifiers much harder to counterfeit or steal.

 

  • Stigmatization

Depending on the kind of society a country has, concerns about stigma can vary widely. For some individuals and segments of society in countries like the United States or the Philippines, biometric fingerprinting is associated with acts of criminal behavior, law enforcement, and an oppressive government. Among the voluntary private sector programs that use fingerprints, however, there has been little to no stigma cited as a concern among participants. These objections can be overcome easily enough, however, through education about the protections and safeguards that would be in place when biometrics are used.

 

  • Actual Harm

There have been concerns about the actual harm that biometric technologies could bring, although most of them so far have been perceptual. While the technology itself is, in fact, harmless, the harm the users perceive may cause them to be more reluctant to participate or obstruct the implementation of a biometrics program. For instance, consider a military pilot whose careers greatly depend on their eyesight. They might raise some concerns about implementing a biometrics program that requires them to look directly into a source of bright light. They may believe that a retinal-scan system that needs to have their eyes in close proximity to a device presents a risk to their eyesight.

 

  • Hygiene

Concerns about the sensors used in biometrics systems raise other issues and objections. Just like concerns about the cleanliness of public restrooms, users might feel uncomfortable placing their faces against a machine that scans their retinas after many others have done so. There may also be issues about touching a hand-scanner during flu and cold season. However, no biometric application has been overturned for hygienic reasons so far.

Why use Biometrics from ELID?

Unlike using other methods of authentication like tokens or passwords, using biometrics in the Philippines for your business or workplace gives you a strong link between an individual and the identity that they claim.

Leading manufacturers of biometric systems like ELID understand that protecting your confidential information is increasingly becoming more difficult. ELID understands the advantages that using biometric security systems can bring such as protecting computers units, server rooms, and other assets of your business.

In corporate environments in countries like the Philippines, biometrics are an important method of preventing individuals who are unauthorized from accessing secure networks and systems.

ELID provides these companies the biometric devices they need such as fingerprint scanners and time-attendance solutions to regulate access to a computer or server room. These devices will ensure that only the person who can prove their identity through the use of biometrics can access any sensitive information.

ELID and the Future of Biometric Security

It is expected that the use of biometrics will increase significantly within the next few years. This increase in use is likely associated with several reasons. First, the devices used for biometric scanning are becoming more common which further drives down the cost of the technology. Another reason is that the size of these devices is getting smaller and smaller which makes them easier to incorporate into any kind of office or business.

Most importantly though, as these devices become more common, people will become more familiar with them and will likely be less hesitant and afraid of the technology. The use of fingerprint biometric systems is also becoming more normal with their implementation in widely used devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablet computers. It is even speculated that most, if not all computer systems are going to include some sort of fingerprint recognition biometric device sometime in the future.

ELID continues to be at the forefront of this technology. With innovative products that provide safety and security to your establishment, especially in terms of access control and attendance monitoring, ELID has become the leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art electronic identification systems in Asia and the Philippines. The biometrics ELID provides are the results of the emphasis they have put on research and development, production, and sales.

ELID aims to be a world-renowned manufacturer of biometric and electronic identification systems. If you want to know more about the products and services they provide, click this link and read all about it on their website!