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Introduction to Evaluating Biometric Systems



P J. Phillips, Alvin F. Martin, Charles L. Wilson, Mark A. Przybocki


Biometric technology has the potential to provide secure access using user characteristics, biometric signatures, that cannot be lost, stolen, or easily duplicated. However, the actual performance of many existing systems is unknown. Potential users of this technology need to know what questions to ask and how to understand the answers for successful biometric system deployment. This paper provides a starting point for users of biometric identification and verification systems. First, we describe the evaluation methods that are applicable to all biometric systems. Then we discuss general properties of biometric system and the different levels of evaluation that are needed to move these systems from the development laboratory to the desktop. The critical components of the evaluation are discussed and specific evaluation examples are provided for face, voice, and fingerprint recognition methods. The current status and maximum expected security level provided by each technology are discussed as the advantages and disadvanteages associated with each biometric.
- 6384
Report Number


biometrics, evaluation, face recognition, fingerprints, speech recognition


Phillips, P. , Martin, A. , Wilson, C. and Przybocki, M. (2000), Introduction to Evaluating Biometric Systems, - 6384, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created February 21, 2000, Updated August 21, 2008