I can't tell you how many times I've heard folks in the security industry bemoan television shows like CSI for giving the public an unreasonable expectation of the capabilities of biometric technology. Here's a perfect example:
“CSI is our worst enemy,” said Chad Parris, senior consultant with Security Risk Management Consultants in Columbus, Ohio. “Some of the things on CSI just kill us because half of the things you see on CSI are possible and the rest of it is in the screenwriters’ imagination.”
Obviously, there are several big companies out there whose entire business focuses on biometric development (as a matter of fact L-1 Identity Solutions Inc, one of the biggest biometric makers just got bought for $1.1 billion - that's no chump change). And while biometric technology will only get better and more sophisticated with time, there remains plenty of skepticism out there that biometrics need to be cautiously deployed.
I just read this article in USA Today about a new report that "calls for caution on widespread use of biological identification."
"While there are lots of good uses for biometric recognition, there are lots of ways to create systems that waste time, cost too much and don't work very well."
The report, "Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities" released by the National Research Council, concludes all biometric recognition technologies are "inherently fallible", according to the article.
The article also points out the amount of money that federal agencies, such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, are spending to research and implement biometric screening technology. However, the report cautions that the government isn't doing the necessary basic research about whether the physical characteristics involved are truly reliable or how they change with aging, disease, stress or other factors.
You never see the guys on CSI worrying about silly things like that.