Faces and eyes rival passwords

Thursday, 23 January 2003, 3:57 PM EST

Biometric technology which identifies people by the shape of the face, pattern of the iris or fingerprint is soon going to play a greater part in our lives.

This is the message from the US military, which has a special team devoted to testing out the latest biometric systems.

"The technology is really maturing," said Gregory Johnson, technology spokesman for the Department of Defense's Biometrics Management Office (BMO). "The stuff that is on the market is here and now and reliable. Now it's becoming widespread."

But he admitted that biometric systems could be beaten and so would be used in combination with other security systems like a swipe card and a PIN number.

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