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Committee on Financial Services

United States House of Representatives

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NEWS from Subcommittee Chairman
Michael N. Castle (R-DE)

Committee on Banking and Financial Services
Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy

May 20, 1998 (202) 225-4165
  Joe Pinder
  (202) 226-0473

Chairman Castle
Opening Statement
Hearing on Biometrics and the Future of Money
May 20, 1998


Today we are going to learn about a family of new technologies that may soon change the way we live and conduct business in a multitude of small but profound ways. If everyone in this room took a moment and added up all the passwords, pin numbers, account numbers, voice mail access numbers and other security codes that we have to deal with in our daily lives, I am sure that many of us here would have quite a few. I wonder how many of us would cheerfully trade in all of these multi-digit codes if we could use one unique, secure, personal identifier for every purpose, one that was always at hand and could not be stolen, lost, forgotten or duplicated.

Trying to come up with that all-purpose, or at least multi-purpose, personal identifier is what the art and science of biometrics is all about. A broad variety of physical characteristics are now being tested to determine the potential accuracy and ultimate consumer acceptance of their biometric measurement as personal identification standards.

Today, we will be introduced to a representative selection of these emerging technologies. While a definitive review of all the potential biometrics is impractical due to time constraints, this hearing will sample the following: facial recognition, a variety of finger imaging, iris scans, voice recognition and signature dynamics.

As a subcommittee, we are primarily interested in the application of these technologies to banking and financial transactions as well as the protection of individual data from identity theft and other forms of fraud. We have already seen many Hollywood films and sci-fi novelists to understand that biometric technology has potential applications that extend well beyond these areas to securing secret intelligence, protecting strategic commercial data and law enforcement.

There will be two panels of witnesses today. The first will provide a context for biometric identification applications and includes the Chairman of the President's National Biometric Consortium, a middle school student from Merritt Island, Florida, who will share the results of her very interesting science fair project, the Director of the National Biometric Test Center at San Jose State, an attorney expert in this emerging field and the Vice President of the Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union where biometric applications have already been installed and used for a number of months.

On the second panel we will have representatives from seven companies that already are actively marketing their technology. To the extent that time and physical space constraints permit, they will each demonstrate a device or technique for biometric identification.

The first panel includes:

Mr. Jeffrey Dunn, Chairman of the Biometric Consortium;

Ms. Sharin Paige Leeming, a student at Divine Mercy Catholic School;

Dr. James. L. Wayman, Director of the National Biometric Test Center, San Jose State University;

Mr. John D. Woodward, Esq., a lawyer who specializes in biometric issues; and

Ms. Gail J. Koehler, vice president of Information Services at the Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union.

The second panel includes:

Dr. Joseph Atick, Chief Executive Officer, Visionics Corp.;

Mr. Clint Fuller, Chief Operating Officer, The National Registry, Inc.;

Mr. Robert Van Naarden, Vice President, Sensar Inc.;

Mr. Tim Nitzsche-Ruggles, Senior Vice President and co-founder, Sagem Morpho;

Dr. Steven Boll, Product Line Director for Biometrics, ITT Industries Inc (SpeakerKey);

Ms. Lisa Broderick, Chief Executive Officer, PenOp Inc., and

Mr. Oscar R. Pieper [pronounced "Piper"], President, Identicator Technology.

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