HP Labs Distinguished Technologist Joe Pato will chair an advisory
committee to the U.S. government to provide a comprehensive
assessment of biometrics and the role of government in its development.
which begins its two-year study in October, will examine
the technical and policy challenges associated with the development,
evaluation and use of biometric technologies and systems.
In addition, panel members will investigate the research
challenges and identify a multi- and inter-disciplinary research
agenda to begin to meet them.
Biometrics – the automatic identification or identity
verification of human individuals on the basis of behavioral
and physiological characteristics – is receiving
attention from many quarters. Promoted as a means to combat
terrorism, to increase security, to boost efficiency and
to lessen inconvenience, biometrics technologies are being
deployed in corporations, government agencies and other contexts.
Questions persist, however, about biometrics' effectiveness
as a security measure, its usability and manageability and
its appropriateness in widely varying contexts.
Pato, Lab Scientist for HP’s Trusted
has been involved in security research and development since
1986, with a focus on security as a tool to enable collaboration.
He has spent much of his career exploring authentication,
identification and privacy issues and considering how to
strengthen critical infrastructure protection.
The biometrics committee was convened by the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications
(CSTB), an independent advisor to the U.S. government
on technical and public policy issues relating to computing
and communications. The new study builds on the board’s
work on authentication and privacy, in which Pato
was a key participant.
In addition to Pato, the 15-member committee includes
distinguished representatives from industry and academia.
Participants include a former Under Secretary of Defense
for Science and Technology, a former CIO at Fidelity Investments,
and leading researchers in fields of biometrics, statistics,
ethnography, law and science, and information security.
The work is sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency
and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with sponsorship
from the Department of Homeland Security pending.
Pato, who manages a team of HP Labs researchers in Princeton,
NJ, is a founder and board member of the IT
Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center
for sharing information about
network vulnerabilities and effective solutions. For the
past three years he has been an instructor for the course, Ethics
and Law on the Electronic Frontier at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.
by Jamie Beckett
Joe Pato, a Distinguished Technologist at HP Labs