Iris ID systems go mainstream

Iris recognition finally seems ready to break into the mainstream, particularly in banking and law enforcement, as prices drop and systems get easier to use.

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The system will eventually upload iris data to a state repository that will in turn upload the data to the FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) database. The fact that the system doesn't require touching the individual is an advantage in a prison setting, Covington says, and the technology requires minimal staff training. "The quality of the images is much better now," he says. "And the machines are more user-friendly and more durable. They're cop-proof."

Iris recognition technology is continuing to evolve and outgrow its spy novel image, as is the manner in which users interact -- or don't interact -- with the systems. The technology is moving beyond what HRS's Norman calls a "coerced method of acquisition" -- exemplified by the types of systems historically used at border crossings and in prisons -- to a more social technology. "Social is if I go to a store and take a soda from a machine using a biometric," he says. "We're on the edge of moving into a personalization stage and away from this security/paranoia type of application. That's the next phase."

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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This story, "Iris ID systems go mainstream" was originally published by Computerworld.

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