U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Biometrics: Separating Myth From Reality

NCJ Number
Corrections Today
Date Published
2 pages

This article examines the five most common myths surrounding biometric technologies.


Biometric technologies have been receiving increasing attention for their ability to improve public safety. There is a wide array of information about biometrics, although not all of it is accurate. The five main myths surrounding biometric technologies are each discussed in turn and include the myth that biometrics works exactly as it is portrayed by the media, that biometric technologies are simple to implement and use, and that biometric technologies work for everyone. In fact, many factors play a part in whether biometric technologies are suitable or not, including lighting conditions and security. The other myths debunked in this report are that the selection process of biometric technologies is simple and that data exist regarding the use of biometrics for specific applications. In fact, biometric technologies are still emerging and there is still much to learn about their application. Resources are presented for additional information on biometric technologies.

Date Published: January 1, 2002