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Controlling Access with Biometrics

by Ron Kurtus (updated 23 November 2022)

Biometrics is the use of biological signatures to identify a person. Such a signature can be used to allow access to a physical or computer area.

Like any method, it has its advantages and disadvantages, but it seems like a promising method to control access.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Using biometrics

Using biometrics to control access to an area or a computer consists of using such biological signatures of facial features, the pattern of the iris in a person's eye, fingerprints, and a voiceprint. A digital pattern of the person is stored in a database and compared with the biometric signature read by some device.

This is as opposed to using a person's written signature, password, key or photo to identify the person and allow access.


The primary advantage is that each biometric signature is essentially unique and impossible to forge.

Another advantage of such a method is that information is stored in a database, so the signature could be used anywhere by simply accessing the database.

Finally, it is better than using a password or key that could be lost or stolen. The password in this case is the person himself.


A major disadvantage of using biometrics is the cost of implementing it. Although the price is dropping. There are some digital fingerprint readers for use with a PC that cost around $100.

There is fear from civil liberty groups that using biometrics with information stored in databases that can be accessed anywhere in the country may lead to abuses in person freedom and privacy. Reasons for resistance is similar to that against a national ID system.


Biometrics, such as using an iris pattern or voiceprint, along with signatures stored in a database is an effective way to control access to an area or a computer. This has the advantage of unique signatures that are impossible to forge. Concern about freedom and privacy issues has caused some resistance to using biometrics for security.

Think logically and clearly

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