Biometric Identification Innovation: Iris Recognition

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) relies on its partnerships with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies to collaboratively guide courses of action when incorporating new technologies into services provided to the law enforcement and criminal justice communities. This approach has successfully guided the development of vital programs such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Next Generation Identification (NGI) systems. This same concerted method is being used to explore several developing biometric identification disciplines, one of the most promising of which is iris recognition.

Iris recognition is fast becoming a part of everyday operations for a number of local and state law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions. It is the process of identifying people by the pattern of their irises through the use of software and cameras designed to specifically collect iris images. Algorithms use the intricate structures and detail of the iris to conduct automated matching. Iris recognition systems have been deployed within local jurisdictions to identify subjects who have been arrested and may be transported within large facilities or to several different facilities. As more agencies adopt the iris as a viable means of identification, the need for a national iris repository and search capability is clear.