Future Issue: Biometrics

June 1st 2009 - 12:00
Biometrics, the science and technology of measuring and analysing biological data, has become a hot topic within the emerging technology foresight literature. It has generated quite a bit of interest amongst security planning professionals. Global interest in biometrics has surged since 2000, and revenue projections for 2010 are expected to exceed 3.75 billion Euros.1 Yet, there are many uncertainties that surround this technology and its place in the future. Will privacy or security be the prevailing factor in an individual’s decision to use or avoid biometrics? Do biometric systems provide enhanced security?
Based on an in-depth analysis of 58 publicly available foresight studies, this Future Issue addresses these questions and examines trends, drivers, and the future security dynamics in biometrics. Proponents contend that biometrics stands to offer enhanced security and/or greater convenience. Although the dissenters tend to agree with these assertions, they caution that significant privacy and identity theft issues could emerge from extensive use or over-reliance on biometrics technology, warning for the potential of biometrics to provide users with a false sense of security.

Stephan De Spiegeleire is senior scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy.

Tim Sweijs is a Senior Strategist. He is the initiator, creator, and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for research projects in horizon scanning, conflict analysis, international and national security risk assessment, and capability development. He has led multicenter research projects for both private and public sector organizations – including the European Commission and various European governments.