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Verification vs. Identification


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Verification vs. Identification

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A biometric system is essentially a pattern recognition system which makes a personal identification by determining the authenticity of a specific physiological or behavioral characteristic possessed by the user. An important issue in designing a practical system is to determine how an individual is identified. Depending on the context, a biometric system can be either a verification (authentication) system or an identification system.

There are two different ways to resolve a person's identity: verification and identification. Verification (Am I whom I claim I am?) involves confirming or denying a person's claimed identity. In identification, one has to establish a person's identity (Who am I?). Each one of these approaches has it's own complexities and could probably be solved best by a certain biometric system.

In day-to-day life most people with whom you do business verify your identity. You claim to be someone (your claimed identity) and then provide proof to back up your claim. For encounters with friends and family, there is no need to claim an identity. Instead, those familiar to you identify you, determining your identity upon seeing your face or hearing your voice.

These two examples illustrate the difference between the two primary uses of biometrics: identification and verification. 

Identification (1:N, one-to-many, recognition) Ė The process of determining a personís identity by performing matches against multiple biometric templates. Identification systems are designed to determine identity based solely on biometric information. There are two types of identification systems: positive identification and negative identification. Positive identification systems are designed to find a match for a userís biometric information in a database of biometric information. 

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