Biometric technologies – How to Evaluate Their Accuracy?


Biometry is a technology that uses a person’s physical parts for recognition. This technology is widely used in many security devices and has now been integrated into smartphones, along with facial and fingerprint recognition, as a reliable form of security.

The first biometric evaluation to be used was fingerprint recognition. But, with technological advancement, iris recognition, facial scanners, and retinal scans have also emerged as a reliable form of security. Moreover, with programs such as NIST PFT that strive to develop a 100% fingerprint algorithm, the future of biometric technology is bright.

In this article, we will learn about biometric technology and how the accuracy of a technology is measured.

What is Biometric Technology?

Biometric technology uses a human being’s physical features or characteristics as a form of recognition. Every human being is born with unique physical characteristics and features, even in the case of twins, making biometrics a highly reliable form of recognition.

Once a person’s biometric data is obtained, it is stored for future recognition. However, it is prone to errors. For instance, even if everyone is born with a unique fingerprint, the probability of false results is very high. Therefore, evaluation of the problems and coming up with solutions is crucial.

The NIST PFT program tests the accuracy of devices that use fingerprint recognition. You can read more about fingerprint recognition evaluation by NIST available to know more about the methodology and the findings.

Evaluating the Accuracy of a Biometric System:

Many public and private institutions are working hard to evaluate the accuracy of biometric devices. The two most popular metrics that are widely used to evaluate the rate of accuracy of a biometric system are:

  1. The False Acceptance Rate:

The false acceptance rate measures the number of times a device has granted access to an unauthorised person due to incorrect matching with the biometrics recognition template.

  1. False Rejection Rate:

False rejection rate measures the number of times a device has denied access to an authorised person. Identify theft is very common worldwide. Hence, a conscious step towards evaluating biometric accuracy can help prevent many fraudulent activities. Along with these two metrics, institutions such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology have also come with measures such as the Proprietary Fingerprint Template (PFT III is the latest version) to check the accuracy of proprietary fingerprint templates used in one-to-one matching, which helps in biometric evaluation precision.


The accuracy of biometric technology is crucial to maintaining the security of a device, place or sensitive information. Therefore, many private and public institutions have come to the forefront to protect the security of individuals by designing programs that test the accuracy of these devices. The future of biometric technology looks promising, with more advanced technologies and 100% accuracy rising to prominence.

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