In the recent movie adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story "Minority
Report", a man walks through a crowded shopping mall. As he passes by,
electronic billboards scan his irises. Their presentations instantly
change, electronic actors calling the man's name aloud to attract his
attention, immediately tailoring their presentations to suit his
pre-recorded profile of preferences.
As with any movie presentation, this vision of a dystopia of corporate
advertising linked to biometrics outwith the control of the individual
contains just enough grains of truth to make us wonder. We can trace
through many of the technologies that would be necessary for this vision
to become reality and ask "Is this possible?" We can trace through many
of the societal realities of today and ask "Is this already happening?"
This seminar will review some of the complex issues relating to the
of biometrics in our current societies. The nature of biometrics and
some of the characteristics and limiations of contemporary devices will
be discussed. A framework based on privacy, consent and awareness will
be presented and it will be shown how cryptographic techniques can be
employed to provide the important properties of privacy and
non-repudiation in a biometric system.