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Public awareness and perceptions of biometrics
Furnell SM, Evangelatos K
Computer Fraud & Security, Issue 1, January, pp8-13, 2007

Having long been promoted as a technology of tomorrow, the widespread deployment of biometrics is now a genuine prospect. While they are still by no means commonplace, they can now be found on devices such as PCs and PDAs as an alternative to traditional password-based authentication. In addition, many people will already have been exposed to them in contexts such as air travel and immigration. Indeed, biometrics are now being proposed for an increasing range of applications in everyday life, particularly in the wake of 9/11 and other terrorist incidents. This has unavoidably drawn a fair degree of media attention, and as a result it is expected that a far greater number of people have now heard of biometrics – and quite often in controversial contexts. However, it is relevant to recognize that the debate is surrounding a technology that the vast majority of people have no actual experience of using, and therefore what is not so clear is what these people really understand about it. This question is of particular interest since public perception can impact the acceptance of biometrics in general or of certain technologies in particular. It is therefore interesting to gauge public awareness and opinion of biometrics, and indeed determine how they have been informed and influenced. As such, this paper presents results from a survey conducted to assess such perceptions in the UK, where biometrics have come to increased prominence in recent years as a result of both changes to passports and the proposed use within a national identity card scheme.

Furnell SM, Evangelatos K