Biometric Technology: A Brief History


On the last day of 2019, several people were diagnosed with pneumonia from an unknown virus in Wuhan City, China. Later on, it was identified that a new strain of the coronavirus family caused pneumonia. It was called the Novel coronavirus or more commonly known as COVID-19. The quick spread of the virus resulted in countries closing their borders and mandating strict health protocols. In response to these, numerous business establishments had to close down, adapt to work-from-home setup, and transact more online.

Although this setup might be ideal for some, this entails a risk for both businesses and customers, and the use of passwords may contribute more to that threat. Passwords are insecure and inconvenient. Some studies have shown that over 80% of data breaches have a root cause relating to passwords. But thanks to the development made in the 1960s, the problem with passwords now has a solution: biometric technology.

During the 1960s, scientists began exploring the physiological components of acoustic speech and phonic sounds. This discovery has led to the development of modern voice technology. And in 1969, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pushed for automated fingerprint authentication.

In 1975, the first fingerprint scanners that the FBI funded were prototyped. With the help of the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), who worked on compression and algorithms, the M40 algorithm was created. This is the first operational matching algorithm used at the FBI.

Later on, biometric science has boomed and was used by other government sectors such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Defence (DoD). Both worked for the further improvement of biometrics. 

Today, almost everyone can use the biometric feature on their devices for easier, faster, and passwordless authentication UX. Online transactions and providing digital signatures have also been more seamless and secured. 

It took a long time to develop biometric authentication, and until today, it continues to evolve into high-tech scanners. And if you want to know more about this, you can check and ready this infographic by LoginID.

Biometric Technology: a brief history