National Physical Laboratory

Biometric Authentication Performance

MSCG has conducted a performance assessment of seven biometric authentication systems for the UK government Biometrics Working Group run by the Communication Electronics Security Group (CESG).

The systems tested each used a different biometric technology:

  • iris pattern
  • vein pattern
  • hand geometry
  • face image
  • fingerprint optical imaging
  • fingerprint capacitive chip imaging
  • voice print

Iris and Iris CodeIris and iris code 

The systems were tested in a scenario of access control in a normal office environment, and data were collected from over 800 volunteers, using the systems several times, over a three month period.

Voice PrintA typical voice print 

The test methodology followed the Biometric Testing Best Practices (PDF File PDF 397 KB) previously developed by NPL jointly with other biometric testing organisations.


Biometric Detection Error Trade-OffDetection error trade-off 

The results show typical levels of performance attainable by the technologies tested. The results, together with our testing experiences, are also helping in the development of testable performance criteria for future security evaluations.

This article first appeared in Counting on IT Issue 10.

Last Updated: 25 Mar 2010
Created: 4 Jun 2007


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