Biometric Information Services


BIS Subcommittee Overview

The purpose of this subcommittee is to provide cross-pollination of IAI disciplines with biometric resource knowledge, as well as tracking related use-cases and technologies of interest to the IAI membership.

Mission Statement for the BIS Subcommittee

  1. Interact with other IAI disciplines to encourage education and understanding for the adoption of biometrics in appropriate use-cases.
  2. Encourage discussion of biometric applications and issues at IAI meetings and conferences to include use-cases, acquisition practices, standards, technology use and development, legal protocols, and scientific underpinnings.
  3. Submit material for publication in the IDentification News and the Journal of Forensic Identification.
  4. Encourage broad international participation from practitioners, researchers, vendors, consultants, the legal community, and other stakeholders at meetings of the full IAI, the subcommittee, and the various IAI Divisions.
  5. Cooperate with related groups such as OSAC subcommittees for friction ridge, facial and iris identification, as well as the NIST Iris Examiners Group (IEG), for the resolution of common issues.
  6. Identify areas appropriate for the IAI to participate in national and international activities, committees, and seminars. The subcommittee will be a focal point for recommending these types of actions to the Science and Practices Committee and through them to the Board of Directors.

What are Biometrics?

Biometrics involve the automated encoding and comparisons of human physical and behavioral characteristics such as fingerprints, palm prints, facial features, irises, retinas, voice, hand geometry, even gait and keystroke identification. Applications for biometric identification (1:many search) and verification (1:1 comparison, not to be confused with the ‘V’ in ACE-V) involve secure transportation needs such as airports, secure financial transactions, physical access control, user authentication for computer systems and mobile phones, and of course identity management for law enforcement and national security.
DNA is also considered a biometric characteristic, but the distinction between CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and ABIS is that modalities such as fingerprint, face, and iris all involve pattern recognition—now assisted by machine learning—whereas DNA profiling involves molecular testing and interpretation of chemical results.

Difference Between Biometrics and Forensic Science

The purpose of biometrics is to provide an automated means of identity management, identification and verification, while the goal of forensic science is to provide information ultimately to court systems about the guilt or innocence of subjects of criminal investigations. The intersection of these two worlds can be found in the capture of tenprint cards for management of criminal history information, and then using the same database for latent print searches.

Criminal Justice Use-Cases for Biometrics

Probably the most common example of biometrics in the criminal justice system is the use of Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) for criminal identification, and edge devices used by law enforcement for mobile identification of subjects they encounter in the field, or fingerprint scanners in the courtroom to verify the identity of persons before the court. 
The term AFIS has recently been replaced by ABIS (Automated Biometric Identification System) to account for additional modalities such as face and iris recognition. In recent years facial recognition has emerged as another valuable tool for forensic investigators and continues to gain popularity. Iris recognition has been around for about 20 years and offers a viable alternative to fingerprint matching. Emerging use-cases for iris recognition are for non-contact applications such as prisoner transport and release.