Why Biometrics Is No Magic Bullet

This promising ID technology works best in controlled situations -- which are hardly the norm in the real world

In Afghanistan, the U.N. uses an iris-scanning system to identify refugees returning from Pakistan to ensure that they don't double-dip on one-time aid grants. In Pinellas County, Fla., police use facial-recognition technology to record the newly arrested so they can be more easily identified if they're nabbed again. At Counterpane Internet Security in Mountain View, Calif., hand-geometry readers match the hands of people seeking to enter key areas with those on a list of Counterpane employees. All three are examples of relatively successful uses of biometric technologies.

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