Television cop shows love "biometric" technologies — fingerprints, eye scans and so on — but a blue-ribbon panel report calls for caution on widespread use of biological identification.

Released by the National Research Council, the "Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities" report headed by HP Labs distinguished technologist Joseph Pato, concludes all biometric recognition technologies are "inherently fallible."

"A lot of things possible on a TV series just don't work that way in real life," says panel member Bob Blakley of Gartner, a computer security firm in Stamford, Conn. "While there are lots of good uses for biometric recognition, there are lots of ways to create systems that waste time, cost too much and don't work very well."