FC: Pentagon test finds iris, face scan technology not that reliable

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 07:45:15 PST

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       Scanning Tech a Blurry Picture
       By Declan McCullagh and Robert Zarate
       2:00 a.m. Feb. 16, 2002 PST
       ARLINGTON, Virginia -- Iris-scanning and face-matching technologies
       don't work nearly as well as their manufacturers have claimed, the
       Department of Defense has discovered.
       In a 270-person pilot program at the Army Research Laboratory, the
       Pentagon tested iris recognition technology from Iridian for 26 weeks
       and the Visionics FaceIt system for 13 weeks. Iridian claims a 99.5
       percent success rate, and Visionics predicts solid face-matches 75 to
       99.3 percent of the time.
       The results: Reality didn't match the hype.
       At a biometrics conference on Friday, Defense Department official
       Steven King said that of the 270 persons checked by the Visionics
       system, it correctly recognized individuals a mere 51 percent of the
       time, and identified an individual to within a range of 10
       participants 81 percent of the time. The supposedly more reliable
       Iridian eye-scanners, meanwhile, correctly verified someone's identity
       just 94 percent of the time.
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