Designing multimodal biometrics framework for the Namibian government.

Author: Erastus, Licky Richard

As technology evolves, the once reliable traditional authentication and verification systems are now open to a number of security threats, some of which may not be combated by these old or traditional security measures. For instance, Personal Identification (PIN) Numbers and passwords that are normally used to authenticate system users are vulnerable to shoulder surfing and systematic trial-and-error attacks. Cases have since been reported in Namibia in which people have lost personal belongings worth thousands of dollars as a result of information security breaches. In response to these security breaches, different technologies have been proposed with the aim to authenticate users, verify and or detect any possible fraud activities. Among these are firewalls, encryption and biometrics. Biometrics offer reliable identification mechanisms compared to other technologies due to their uniqueness and difficulty to be emulated. Regardless of the tremendous advances in biometric technology, the recognition systems based on the measurement of single modality (mono-modal) cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. Accordingly, multimodal systems based on multiple uncorrelated biometric signatures or traits offer more robustness in terms of recognition accuracy and handling of poor quality biometric samples. The research used a qualitative research approach. For data collection, questionnaires, interviews, observations and document analysis were employed. A multiple case study strategy was used for data collection to ensure validity through data triangulation. Three Namibia ministries were selected as case sites as they are among the security critical sectors of the nation where the use of biometrics is imperative. Results have shown that a number of biometrics is used in government departments in Namibia. However, the usage is still a bit low and a lot is required for citizens to trust and use biometrics. The major challenges in biometrics usage have been identified as a lack of technical skills, a lack of appropriate budget, too dynamic, social challenges and a lack of supporting policies. This study argues that even if these challenges are addressed, one biometric may not be reliable and very secure. The purpose of this research is to share possible biometrics that can be combined and used concurrently to address the identified security challenges. This saw the designing of a multimodal biometrics framework for the Namibian government.