Written records and verbal testimony are fundamentally fallible: documents can be forged, and people lie. Therefore, these cannot be relied upon alone to conclusively prove one’s identity. This poses a difficult problem for institutions mandated with identity management. Biometrics is an appealing solution, as it provides a link between an individual and who they claim to be. This is not the panacea for all problems at hand, but will undoubtedly play an momentous role in the future of identity management and criminal investigations. This has important implications for the use of biometric data in a commercial and legal setting, which is the subject of this chapter.

This chapter is comprised of two sections:
  • With the growing prevalence of identity theft, it is apparent that identity management systems, such as those pertaining to driver’s license and passports, need reliable procedures for the issuance of new identity documents. The first section presents the practical ways that biometrics can be used to strengthen the issuance process, and develops novel methods for assessing the level of fraud that has infiltrated existing systems (Sect. 10.1).

  • The second section considers the use of biometrics in a legal setting. This is an emerging area, and the output of biometric recognition systems is yet to reach a stage where it is fully embraced by the courts. However, there are reasons to believe that it will begin to play a greater role in future legal cases. A comprehensive treatment of the subject is not presented here, but rather a commentary on how the ideas that form the core of this book are vital to the concept of ‘proving identity’ (Sect. 10.2).


Identity Document Expert Witness Identity Theft Legal Setting Biometric Technology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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