Biometric identification systems: What are benefits and challenges of it.

Iris scan
"Iris scan" by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Biometric identification systems: What are benefits and challenges of it.

“Iris scan” by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Iris scan
“Iris scan” by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The spread of biometric identification technologies has been boosted since September 11, 2001. This tragic event lead the global trend of using biometric technology to identify individuals. Biometric identification technology is a technology that uses personal biological or behavioral characteristics to identify individuals (Wilson, 2007). In this essay some concerns of using biometric technologies and positive effects of biometric identification system will be discussed. Also, discuss whether biometric identification system should be used in Australia by looking at examples from India where largest biometric identification system is used.

India Aadhaar Card

File:A sample of Aadhaar card.jpg
“File:A sample of Aadhaar card.jpg” by PageImp is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Image of sample Aadhaar card in India.

“File:A sample of Aadhaar card.jpg” by PageImp is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


India has the largest biometric identification system in the world which is called the Aadhaar card. The uniqueness of Aadhaar card is that they also contain some biometric information. Aadhaar card was first introduced by the Indian government in 2009. Individual Aadhaar card have its own unique 12 digit number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Aadhaar card is not proof of citizenship or domicile it can be used as a proof of identification. It contains number of demographic and biometric information such as, name, date of birth, gender, address ten fingerprints, two iris scan and face photograph. It was introduced to improve efficiency of government services. For example, as it is mentioned in the UIDAI webpage by using Aadhaar card governments can aid residents faster and can provide various of government services more directly and hassle-free service to residents. if the resident is eligible by only using Aadhaar card number resident can apply for financial support through internet and can apply for number of government welfare services provided to residents. Aadhaar card is the only document to prove your identity in India therefore, time for preparing documents required to open bank accounts or getting passport is saved and accelerated (Unique Identification Authority of India).

Positive aspects of Biometric identification

Long queue
“Long queue” by tim.riley is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Image of people queue to use government service.

“Long queue” by tim.riley is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The aim of first biometric technology was for security and surveillance reason, it was used to prevent terror (North-Samardzic, 2018). In these days biometric technologies are used in number of different fields. However, Biometric identification system is very controversial. There are number of positive effects of using biometric technologies. For example, by using biometric technology we can prevent identity theft and fraud (Smith et al,. 2019). The impact of identity theft is serious. According to Australian government Home and Affairs department every 1 in 4 Australians have been victim of identity crime and financial losses due to identity theft is about 2 billion dollars per year. There are number of different identity theft crime. Common identity theft is criminals stealing personal details to open a bank account, obtain loan by stolen details and applying for government supports (Cradduck and Mccullagh, 2007).

Furthermore, Biometric technologies also, can improve government efficiency of welfare services provided to citizens (Kalsi & Kiran, 2015). In order to acquire passport, your identity must be proven. There are number of different documents that can be used to prove your identity in Australia, such as drivers license, proof of age card, photo ID, passport, birth certificate, medicare card, centrelink card and there are many more cards that you can use (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). Due to all different document and long queue to apply the document it takes time and there are limited number of services that can be accessed through internet in Australia.


Customer drops off checked bag using facial recognition option
“Customer drops off checked bag using facial recognition option” by DeltaNewsHub is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Example of using face recognition at the airport.

“Customer drops off checked bag using facial recognition option” by DeltaNewsHub is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Instead of waiting in a long line as it can be seen from the above image using biometric technology can be faster and efficient in some places. As it is said in Kalsi & Kiran, (2015) when citizens visit government agency the factors that give pain and harassments to citizens are delays and having to visit multiple times for various reasons. When move to E-government many more government welfare service can be handled through internet and it can save time and costs for both government and citizens (Khosla, 2016).

Concerns about biometric identification

data security privacy
“data security privacy” by Book Catalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Concern about data privacy.

“data security privacy” by Book Catalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The most common concerns of using biometric identification system is about privacy and rights of individuals (Tanwar et al., 2019). As we are storing critical data where and how the data is stored and used are important as well. Also, the cyber security is very crucial to prevent any hacking or leak of any sensitive information, this is possible drawbacks of handling all our government services through internet (Godse, 2010). Furthermore, government should use biometric data where they should be and we should keep our attention so the data is not abused. When biometric technologies are abused it can lead to illegal surveillance (Parker ,2010). There are number of different forms of biometric data. According to a survey done by Australian Institute of Criminology, 61 percent of respondents were willing to use fingerprints as identification method. However, as it is shown in Puri et al., (2010) people who live in rural area of India has problem using the Aadhaar card as their fingerprints are hard to recognize due to works and life style compared to people who live in urban area. This could be problem for those who work at manufacturing industry and people who have scars on hand.


Biometric identification technology is still very controversial and it has both positive and negative aspects of using this technology. By using biometric technology, it can improve the efficiency of government system and prevent identity related crimes. On the other hand as it is using personal data there is concerns about security and privacy. However, In case of Australia, in order to use biometric identification system, the infrastructure and accessibility are important and Australia has unbalance development between urban and rural area. Therefore, it could be a chance to develop those under developed rural areas. Also, security and privacy concern are not something that can be solved in short period of time. To satisfy everyone and make effective polices to protect our data it needs long term plan to establish a well-built policy (Tanwar et al., 2019). In addition, number of Australians are open and willing to using biometric technologies. As it is shown in survey from Australian Institute of Criminology 61 percent of Australian respondents were willing to use fingerprints. The rate of saying they will use fingerprints in future were higher in older population than younger population. Also, around four in ten respondents answered that they are willing to use iris recognition and face recognition technology. People who are under 25 responded that they are less likely to use iris and face recognition however, people who are over the age of 50 were more willing to use both iris and face recognition in future. Despite the concerns about data privacy and security s it can be seen many Australians are looking forward to use biometric technologies.



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Emami, C. (2016). Use and acceptance of biometric technologies among victims of identity crime and misuse in Australia. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, 511, 1–6.

Godse, V., Kumar, A., & Zhang, D. (2010). Building an Ecosystem for Cyber Security and Data Protection in India. In Ethics and Policy of Biometrics: Third International Conference on Ethics and Policy of Biometrics and International Data Sharing, ICEB 2010, Hong Kong, January 4-5, 2010. Revised Papers (Vol. 6005, pp. 138–145). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Identity crime and misuse in Australia Retrieved from,other%20forms%20of%20serious%20crime

Kumar, A., & Zhang, D. (2010). Are We Protected? The Adequacy of Existing Legal Frameworks for Protecting Privacy in the Biometric Age. In Ethics and Policy of Biometrics: Third International Conference on Ethics and Policy of Biometrics and International Data Sharing, ICEB 2010, Hong Kong, January 4-5, 2010. Revised Papers (Vol. 6005, pp. 40–46). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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Sang Lee
About Sang Lee 2 Articles
Hi, I am 3rd year student studying psychology and Asian studies at The University of Sydney. I like traveling and taking photos. I have a tangerine leopard gecko as a pet.