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Introduction - Pg. xv

Introduction Biometric technologies are crucial components of secure personal identifica- tion and verification systems, which control access to valuable information, to economic assets, and to parts of the national infrastructure. Biometric- based identification and verification systems support the information-based economy by enabling secure financial transactions and online sales, and by facilitating many law enforcement, health, and social service activities. Since September 11, 2001, the national requirements to strengthen homeland secu- rity have fallen short, hindering government and industry interest in attempting to apply biometric technologies to the automated verification of the identity of individuals. As you know, biometric technologies are automated methods for identify- ing a person or verifying a person's identity based on the person's physiological or behavioral characteristics. Physiological characteristics include fingerprints, hand geometry, and facial, voice, iris, and retinal features; behavioral character- istics include the dynamics of signatures and keystrokes. Biometric technologies capture and process a person's unique characteristics, and then verify that per- son's identity based on comparison of the record of captured characteristics with a biometric sample presented by the person to be verified. After many years of research and development, biometric technologies have become reli- able and cost-effective, and acceptable to users. However, new applications of