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 Principal 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. His current work at HCSS focuses on strategic defense management, security resilience, network-centrism, capabilities-based planning, and the transformation of defense planning.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.