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REVIEW: "Biometrics", John D. Woodward/Nicholas M. Orlans/Peter T. Higgins

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKBIOMTC.RVW 20031204 Biometrics , John D. Woodward/Nicholas M. Orlans/Peter T. Higgins, 2003, 0-07-222227-1, U$49.99/C$74.95 %A John D. Woodward %A
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2004
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      BKBIOMTC.RVW 20031204

      "Biometrics", John D. Woodward/Nicholas M. Orlans/Peter T. Higgins,
      2003, 0-07-222227-1, U$49.99/C$74.95
      %A John D. Woodward
      %A Nicholas M. Orlans
      %A Peter T. Higgins
      %C 300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario L1N 9B6
      %D 2003
      %G 0-07-222227-1
      %I McGraw-Hill Ryerson/Osborne
      %O U$49.99/C$74.95 905-430-5000 +1-800-565-5758 fax: 905-430-5020
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0072222271/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0072222271/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0072222271/robsladesin03-20
      %P 432 p.
      %T "Biometrics"

      The book is intended for both students and professionals, covering all
      of the aspects and uses of biometrics. The chapters are written by a
      number of contributing authors. For example, Richard E. Smith, author
      of "Authentication" (cf. BKAUTHNT.RVW) wrote the introduction found in
      chapter one. It is an excellent precis of the uses of, and
      requirements for, authentication, paying particular attention to the
      use, strengths, and weaknesses of biometrics. The functional aspects
      of biometric assessment; feature extraction, storage, error rates, and
      so forth; are covered well in chapter two. (There is a rather odd
      confusion of genetic and phenotypic sources of biometrics: aside from
      behavioural measures and DNA testing itself, almost all biometrics are
      expressed characteristics, and therefore phenotypic.)

      Part two deals with types of biometrics. Chapter four provides
      fascinating details on the history, technology, storage, indexing, and
      searching of fingerprint records, and a brief mention of hand
      geometry. After the wealth of technicalities about fingerprints, the
      very basic explanations of enrollment of face and voice recognition
      are disappointing. The material on iris and retina scanning, in
      chapter five, is slightly better, but signature and keystroke dynamics
      again get minimal coverage in chapter six. Eleven of the more
      esoteric biometrics are briefly described in chapter seven, ranging
      from standards such as DNA testing to odd entries like sweat pore
      distribution or body odour.

      Part three looks at various aspects or factors to consider in
      implementing biometrics. Chapter eight looks at the question of
      "liveness" testing. (This is the biometrics topic beloved of students
      the world over: "What if you cut off the guy's finger and used that?"
      Students tend to be rather gruesome creatures.) Most of chapter nine
      is devoted to a guide for contracting out, or questions to ask
      contractors or vendors. Various standards bodies are described in
      chapter ten. Chapter eleven talks about issues involved in testing of
      biometric systems.

      Part four deals with privacy, policies, and legal issues. Chapter
      twelve examines both the threats and the benefits that biometrics
      holds for privacy. There is a detailed and interesting look at
      (mostly US) law and decisions relating to privacy, and the
      implications for biometric applications, in chapter thirteen. Chapter
      fourteen does have brief case studies of the use of biometrics at the
      Super Bowl and in Virginia Beach, but concentrates on the legal
      issues. Chapter fifteen deals with the American digital signature
      law, and the potential relation to the inclusion of biometrics in the
      process. Some material is repeated from earlier chapters.

      Part five reviews selected biometrics programs. Chapter sixteen
      covers government and military programs, most related to law
      enforcement. Searching the FBI files of civil (or non-criminal)
      fingerprint files, in chapter seventeen, reiterates a fair amount of
      content from chapter four. Private sector programs, in chapter
      eighteen, are primarily concerned with face recognition in casinos or
      a variety of systems for banks, but others are mentioned. Chapter
      nineteen presents a very detailed and thoughtful analysis of the
      possibilities for a national identity card.

      Because this book is essentially a collection of standalone essays by
      a variety of authors, there is a great deal of overlap and duplication
      of material, and at times this repetition becomes annoying. This is,
      however, the most useful and informative work on biometrics that I
      have reviewed to date, and the analysis, in particular, is
      comprehensive and even-handed. I would recommend this as both a
      serviceable introduction to anyone who must work with biometrics, and
      as a guide to the controversies surrounding them.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKBIOMTC.RVW 20031204


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