Considerations on the Emerging Implementation of Biometric Technology

28 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2004  

Robin Feldman

University of California Hastings College of the Law


Biometrics is the science of identifying people based on their physiological and behavioral characteristics. Although biometric science could revolutionize the process of identification, it also raises concerns that should be considered as we enter into more widespread use of the technologies. Concerns about biometrics are particularly important in light of the federal government's project to implement biometric technologies at all points of entry by the end of 2004. Much of the discussion surrounding implementation of biometric technology involves developing rules to ensure reliability of the systems and create appropriate restrictions on the use of the data. This article argues, however, that regardless of how much we invest in establishing standards for reliability of the technology and protections of the data from fraud or improper use, no system will be foolproof. Biometric determinations will be subject to mistakes, fraud, and abuse through human and technological error, both intentional and inadvertent. As a result, we should take this opportunity to develop methods for individuals to review and challenge biometric determinations. In particular, the article suggests a doctrinal framework for challenges to biometric determinations made by administrative agencies.

Keywords: Biometrics, immigration, airport security, intellectual property, points of entry, terrorism

JEL Classification: I18, 038, 034

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Robin, Considerations on the Emerging Implementation of Biometric Technology. Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Robin Feldman (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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