Archief Kennisparels

[240] 13 juli 2021: Changing perceptions of biometric technologies

Inleiding en context

Goede morgen allemaal, het is vandaag dinsdag 13 juli 2021. Vandaag treffen jullie een ´kennisparel´ aan in jullie mailbox over biometrische technologieën om identiteitsdiefstal te reduceren of te voorkomen. Het betreft deels inzichten omtrent de situatie in Australië waar vrij veel kennis beschikbaar is over de mate waarin (potentiële) slachtoffers gebruik maken van deze technologie. Tevens wordt een internationale vergelijking gepresenteerd omtrent de preventiebereidheid, uitdagingen, verwachtingen, kosten en privacy aspecten van het gebruik van biometrische technologieën. Allemaal relevante vraagstukken en analyses voor beleid en praktijk in Nederland. Op naar de bijgesloten ´kennisparel´.   


Franks, Christie & Russell Smith (May 2021). Changing perceptions of biometric technologies. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 76 pp.


Identity crime and misuse cost the Australian economy an estimated $3.1b in 2018–19 (Smith & Franks 2020). Protecting individuals’ personal identification information and finding secure ways to verify identities has become an increased priority as the impact of identity crime continues to grow in Australia and worldwide. Biometric technologies for identity verification provide an enhanced security solution, although implementation of biometric systems within Australian society has met with varying degrees of acceptance. Since 2013, the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has conducted online surveys to gain a greater understanding of identity crime and misuse in Australia. These surveys have asked about respondents’ experience of identity crime and also their previous use of, and future willingness to use, biometric technologies to safeguard their personal information. This report presents both qualitative and quantitative research findings obtained from a sample of respondents in the most recent surveys concerning their experiences of biometrics and perceptions as to its role in identity security.

Annually since 2013 (with the exception of 2015), the AIC has administered online questionnaires to a research panel of Australians drawn from all states and territories. A sampling frame of more than 300,000 individuals was provided by the market research company i-Link Research Solutions, which also hosted the online questionnaire and provided raw, de-identified data for the AIC to analyse. Sampling was completed once a quota of 10,000 respondents had been satisfied. No other quotas were employed as the sample was sufficiently large to ensure good representation from urban and regional areas across Australia.

Results of the AIC 2019 identity crime survey, AIC 2018 identity crime survey and online interviews, and consulted international publications, demonstrate a generally high level of previous exposure to biometrics, with an increasing willingness to use biometric technologies in the future, especially among previous victims of identity crime. Simple username and password combinations are becoming obsolete as offenders have become more adept at compromising these user authentication processes. The constant requirement of network security to reset these combinations has made it challenging for users to manage access to devices without resorting to insecure ways of remembering passwords. Biometrics offer a more secure solution by enabling individuals to use their biological attributes as a means of identifying themselves.

Identity crime and misuse of personal information remain ongoing concerns for those in the Australian community. Despite advances in verification of credentials and improvements in online authentication procedures, victimisation continues to increase. Financial losses also continue to rise, along with the equally harmful non-financial consequences including damage to credit ratings, being wrongly accused of crime, and a range of psychological and emotional harms.

This report presents the findings obtained in online interviews with selected AIC 2018 survey participants as well as the results of the latest AIC identity crime survey, conducted in 2019. The results of relevant international publications that demonstrate previous exposure to biometrics in Australia and overseas are also presented by way of comparison. This report also examines the increasing willingness of individuals to use biometric technologies in the future, advantages, challenges, future developments and the restraints of implementation including expense, privacy and ethics considerations.

The biometrics industry is rapidly developing and is arguably outpacing current privacy laws and ethics policies. Further dialogue is needed to understand the driving force behind areas of user mistrust. This input will enable public and private sector organisations to be more efficient and thorough in their legislation and planning. Public trust plays a central role, with continued and ongoing research needed to understand user willingness or unwillingness to use these stronger security methods. More information is required on systems’ vulnerabilities to bias, fraud and misuse along with greater investigation into the adaptive behaviour of criminals as a result of these enhanced user authentication processes. Understanding the attitudes of members of the public towards the impact on privacy of surveillance technologies used for public security is also an essential, but complex, consideration for policymakers.


Biometrische beveiliging is hard op weg de voorkeursmanier te worden om bedrijven en individuen te beschermen tegen hackers die fraude en identiteitsdiefstal plegen. Vingerafdruklezers, irisscans en gezichtsherkenning zijn mainstream geworden, onder leiding van technologiebedrijven zoals Apple. Deze technologie levert aanzienlijke voordelen op in de strijd tegen cybercriminaliteit, maar er zijn risico’s. Van digitale beveiliging tot grensbeveiliging, van werknemers-ID tot nationale ID en van gevangenisbeveiliging tot luchthavenbeveiliging, biometrische identificatie en authenticatie die individuen identificeert en authenticeert op basis van fysieke kenmerken is een groeimarkt bij uitstek. Het blijft echter de vraag of biometrietechnologie volledige bescherming biedt en klaar is voor wereldwijde implementatie. Dat brengt ons bij een belangrijke vraag: kan het zich ontwikkelende biometrische systeem op zichzelf een volledig menselijk identificatie- en authenticatiesysteem zijn of is het slechts onderdeel zijn van een identificatiesysteem? Voer voor beleid en wetenschap lijkt mij.