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Embedding Biometric Identifiers in 2D Barcodes for Improved Security

NCJ Number
Computers & Security Volume: 23 Issue: 8 Dated: December 2004 Pages: 679-686
Date Published
December 2004
8 pages

This paper presents a novel approach for embedding biometric identifiers in standard 2d barcodes for improved security.


Two-dimensional (2D) barcode symbology is an emerging technology used for compactly storing and retrieving information. These barcodes can be found on the back of drivers' licenses and are encoded with secure text data. Standard 2D barcode such as PDF417 uses upper and lowercase alphabets, numeric digits, and special characters for encoding. Some barcodes also include a compressed photo of the individual. The visual quality of the compressed image is usually poor and occupies a large amount of space which greatly reduces the capacity needed for encoding text. This paper presents a novel approach for embedding uncompressed images in a standard PDF417 2D barcode using a blind digital watermarking technique. The text is encoded in the standard PDF417 format with error correction, while the face and fingerprint images are watermarked in the encoded 2D barcode. Experimental results show that the proposed technique effectively increased the standard capacity of the PDF417 2D barcode without altering the contents of the encoded data. The results also show that the visual quality of the extracted photo image is high. The extracted fingerprint image when compared with the original fingerprint using an AFIS system yielded a high matching score. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: December 1, 2004