Army Biometric Applications

Army Biometric Applications: Identifying and Addressing Sociocultural Concerns

John D. Woodward
Katharine W. Webb
Elaine M. Newton
Melissa Bradley
David Rubenson
Kristina Larson
Jacob Lilly
Katie Smythe
Brian Houghton
Harold A. Pincus
Jonathan M. Schachter
Paul Steinberg
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 225
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1237a
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  • Book Info
    Army Biometric Applications
    Book Description:

    Every human possesses more than one virtually infallible form of identification. Known as biometrics, examples include fingerprints, iris and retinal scans, hand geometry, and other measures of physical characteristics and personal traits. Advances in computers and related technologies have made this a highly automated process through which recognition occurs almost instantaneously. With concern about its information assurance systems and physical access control increasing, the Army has undertaken an assessment of how it can use biometrics to improve security, efficiency, and convenience. This report examines the sociocultural concerns that arise among soldiers, civilian employees, and the general public when the military mandates widespread use of biometrics. The authors see no significant legal obstacles to Army use of biometrics but recommend that the Army go beyond the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 to allay concerns related to this emerging technology. This report should be of interest to those responsible for access control as well as anyone concerned about privacy and technology issues.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3250-8
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. TABLES
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. SUMMARY
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. ACRONYMS
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-8)

    The U.S. Army has a growing need to improve access control for its many systems, both in wartime and in peacetime. In wartime, the Army’s dependence on information as a tactical and strategic asset requires it to carefully control its battlefield networks. From information on logistics flows to intelligence on enemy forces, the Army depends on confining access to its data to authorized personnel.

    Access control is critical for weapon systems. These systems increasingly consist of physical, logical (computer), and informational components. Army weapon systems are so powerful and often so dominant that unauthorized use of even a single system...

  10. Chapter Two A PRIMER ON BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGY
    (pp. 9-20)

    Here we provide a primer on biometric technology.¹ In particular, this chapter introduces the technical terminology and the major concepts related to biometric applications. We first define the terms, “biometrics” and “biometric authentication.” Next, we discuss three universal components present in the operation of all biometric technologies, including the difference between applications that identify, or verify the claimed identity of, an individual. We then discuss some mainstream biometrics and their applications. We conclude with a table comparing salient characteristics of mainstream biometric technologies.

    A biometric is anymeasurable, robust, distinctive, physical characteristicorpersonal traitof an individual that can...

  11. Chapter Three WHAT CONCERNS DO BIOMETRICS RAISE AND HOW DO THEY DIFFER FROM CONCERNS ABOUT OTHER IDENTIFICATION METHODS?
    (pp. 21-32)

    Any biometrics program must be prepared to deal with individuals who cannot or will not participate in the program. Some people, through no fault of their own, cannot provide the chosen biometric because they have unmeasurable fingerprints or eyes, for example. Thus, all biometric systems have a small number of people who simply cannot be enrolled.

    Others, however, deliberately choose not to participate in biometric programs because of their individual beliefs. While these individuals constitute a relatively small minority, they are the most likely contingent to voice their concerns. Their criticism will probably not cause a biometric program to collapse...

  12. Chapter Four WHAT STEPS CAN THE ARMY TAKE TO ADDRESS THESE CONCERNS?
    (pp. 33-48)

    Given the three major sociocultural concerns associated with the Army’s use of biometrics, namely protecting informational privacy, safeguarding physical privacy, and addressing religious objections, this chapter focuses on how the Army can most effectively address these concerns. Because biometrics are similar in many ways to more traditional identifiers, such as photographs, the Army can look to existing laws, regulations, and precedents to address the main sociocultural concerns. This body of law suggests that the Army has a solid framework in place to address sociocultural concerns.

    However, in light of the novelty of the technology and the heightened interest among citizens...

  13. Chapter Five WHAT IS THE FEASIBILITY OF A NATIONAL BIOMETRIC CENTER?
    (pp. 49-58)

    As noted in Chapter One, biometrics are a potential solution to Army needs. However, the findings of the previous two chapters indicate the Army must justify its program based on specific problems for which specific biometrics are an appropriate solution. As shown in Chapter Four, the feasibility of a biometrics program rests on how the program is structured and whether its implementation adequately addresses concerns about informational privacy, physical privacy, and religious objections as identified in Chapter Three. The establishment of a biometrics center, to include an RDT&E facility and a repository has a good chance of success if it...

  14. Chapter Six CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 59-66)

    In this chapter, we draw on the discussion in the previous five chapters to present our conclusions and recommendations.

    RAND identified three potential sociocultural concerns with biometrics related to informational privacy, physical privacy, and religious objections.

    With respect to informational privacy, laws, such as the Privacy Act of 1974, and regulations, such as the Army Privacy Program, provide a baseline for protecting an individual’s privacy interest in his personal information. The Army has flexibility to either accept these standards as the maximum privacy protection it will give to individuals or provide additional protections beyond the Act’s requirements, particularly with respect...

  15. Appendix A BIOMETRICS: A TECHNICAL PRIMER
    (pp. 67-86)
  16. Appendix B PROGRAM REPORTS
    (pp. 87-110)
  17. Appendix C LEGAL ASSESSMENT: LEGAL CONCERNS RAISED BY THE U.S. ARMY’S USE OF BIOMETRICS
    (pp. 111-166)
  18. Appendix D BIOMETRIC CONSORTIUM
    (pp. 167-168)
  19. Appendix E INDIVIDUALS INTERVIEWED
    (pp. 169-172)
  20. F. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 173-188)