Biometrics Insititute logo

Definition of biometrics

Biometrics definition 

The International Standardisation Organisations provides the following definitions for

biometric recognition/ biometrics:
"automated recognition of individuals based on their biological and behavioural characteristics"

biometric characteristic/ biometric (deprecated):
"biological and behavioural characteristic of an individual from which distinguishing, repeatable biometric features can be extracted for the purpose of biometric recognition"

Refer: ISO/IEC 2382-37. Information technology — Vocabulary — Part 37: Biometrics

Biometrics covers a variety of technologies in which unique identifiable attributes of people are used for identification and authentication. These include (but are not limited to) a person's fingerprint, iris print, hand, face, voice, gait or signature, which can be used to validate the identity of individuals seeking to control access to computers, airlines, databases and other areas which may need to be restricted.

Biometrics is also a term used in statistics particularly in science, medicine and forestry (refer to the International Biometric Society), not related to biometric technology. It has been around for longer than biometrics for identity verification or recognition. In the mid to late 90s there was often confusion like this in the media when "biometrics" was used by the security and the pharmaceutical/medical world.