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Biometric Authentication Credential in the Criminal Justice System - Applications to Access Control

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2004
100 pages
After developing and testing the use of a biometric authentication credential (BAC) for use in criminal justice operations, this project developed guidance and a cost-benefit tool to help criminal justice technology officers assess the feasibility of an access control program that uses biometric authentication credentialing.
Biometrics are defined as "physical or behavioral characteristics that can be measured and compared by automated means to determine or verify the identity of an individual." Criminal justice operations rely on the correct identification of individuals who pose threats to national and local security. These operations also rely on providing access only to those individuals who have been positively identified and authorized access to criminal justice system and related components. The current project produced a number of conclusions in five areas: biometric efficacy, requirements and standards, software development needed to support applications, costs versus benefits, implementation, and interoperability. This project's approach was to first identify the criminal justice entities and operations where positive identification of officers and staff is critical and where BAC could improve both the conduct and security of operations. Project staff then partnered with an agency with needs that might be addressed with BAC, had the ability and desire to cooperate in helping to identify and evaluate their needs, and was willing to use their professional expertise in the development and evaluation of a proof-of-concept. Next, basic concepts of operation for use of a BAC were developed for law enforcement and corrections operations. They were then evaluated for practicality, feasibility, and usefulness. A hands-on, proof-of-concept demonstration was then conducted, followed by the successful development of a cost-benefit tool. This tool is an interactive Microsoft Excel model that includes extensive information on potential weaknesses of identification technologies, and it presents various access control options. Extensive figures, 49 references, and appended supplementary guidance and information

Date Published: November 1, 2004