Biometrics: the future of authentication in government?

There is a lot of work being undertaken to develop the next stage in authentication protection and we at Unisys believe it to be biometrics. Already great strides have taken place to bring Mission Impossible-like systems into reality and there are a wide variety of companies that offer solutions and are committed to extensive R&D.

Biometrics are growing in use across Policing, Border Control, and to serve National Security interests. At the broader level we see adoption in digital banking, and to support digital government more generally. 

As organisations seek to update their authentication systems they appear to invest in several different solutions so that they are able to capitalise on the best opportunities available. However, what we’re seeing is that almost every provider is using its own protocols and standards – meaning that for every organisation there are a number of differing biometric systems some that are able to work together and others which aren’t. In turn, this is causing huge inefficiencies both in costs and IT infrastructure and when you consider the scale of government departments these complexities are multiplied exponentially.

Between service providers, biometric technology suppliers, identity service providers, consumers and smartphone manufacturers there is little or no coordination. As such, government and businesses either sit and wait or make their own investments in something that might only be suitable temporarily.

Not taking action now, could mean that the biometrics sector will face the same issues that the IoT market now faces. With a huge growth rate and hundreds of companies and providers, each with their own way of operating, it will certainly prove costly to rectify and to reverse engineer common standards.

This latest thought paper argues that the industry needs to work together to create maximum value before it becomes too complicated and diverse. Only this will enable government departments and businesses to offer their citizens and customers digital services with the latest biometric technology of their choice in the knowledge that it is safe.

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