Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The term “biometrics” has been getting a fair amount of airplay these days as news about surveillance and data collection highlight existing privacy concerns. However, the argument in favor of biometrics, which involves using human features to make assumptions about personal identity, is that it can encourage public safety.

In the midst of debates about the ethics of biometrics, however, there is one thing we can all agree on. The use of real-time biometrics platforms to handle complex requests for mission-critical decision-making represents a real “big data” challenge.

IT giant NEC was one of the first large companies to invade the biometrics space and currently claims over 200 deployments worldwide. The company offers everything from fingerprint identification to custom biometrics solutions for military and government use.

As a company familiar with both the hardware and software sides of big data, creating biometrics algorithms and the tools to manage the data they create made NEC the choice vendor for a number of global public service and law enforcement agencies.

A recent use case of one of the company’s biometrics solutions in action raised questions about how the data for real-time biometrics is handled and delivered for nearly instantaneous decision making. The company recently worked with the Texas Department of Public Safety to roll out a real-time identification system that would host biometric details for over 9 million subjects, including fingerprint data, demographics, photos and other materials—all within a mobile platform.

“Identity of suspects lacking proper identification or drivers during suspicious traffic stops can now be confirmed with the NEC Mobile ID at the scene and without the need to remove the officer from his or her patrol,” said Raffie Beroukhim, Vice President of Biometric Solutions for NEC Corporation of America...