Glossary

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Current definition

Biometric data

Biometric data is anything that relates to the measurement of people’s physical features and characteristics. In digital identity terms, this data is used to prove a person’s uniqueness and verify that someone is who they say they are.

A digital ID could include biometric data recorded from an eye-scan (recording the pattern of the iris) or from a fingerprint scan. It could even include behavioural characteristics, such as vocal cadence.

Biometric ID systems are one of the most commonly used forms of authentication, and they have the potential to simplify identification processes by reducing the need for passwords and other personal data. Biometrics could also provide a more secure means of verification, owing to the uniqueness of each individual’s data.

However, biometric data also presents privacy concerns. Data breaches could have severe consequences, as users are not able to simply reset a password when their biometric data is stolen. Biometrics also present issues around privacy, surveillance and state control, and biometric ID programmes have been met with mistrust from users because of the nature of the data being gathered by authorities.

More around the web

“Biometrics are part of the cutting edge of technology. Put simply, biometrics are any metrics related to human features. The most common examples of a biometric recognition system is the iPhone’s fingerprint and facial recognition technology. As an emerging technology, biometric systems can add great convenience by replacing passwords and helping law enforcement catch criminals. Biometric identifiers also act as access control in secure environments, both physical and digital. But the first question you should ask is: Is my biometric data secure from identity theft?”

Biometrics and biometric data: What is it and is it secure? - Norton

“Biometrics has the potential to make authentication dramatically faster, easier and more secure than traditional passwords, but companies need to be careful about the biometric data they collect.


Biometrics are physical or behavioral human characteristics to that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, voice or typing cadence. Each of these identifiers is considered unique to the individual, and they may be used in combination to ensure greater accuracy of identification.”

What is biometrics? 10 physical and behavioral identifiers that can be used for authentication - CSO

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