More Distinctive than a Fingerprint for Identification

One of the most promising forms of biometric identification is the iris scan. As governments, businesses and individuals seek ways to make themselves more secure, biometrics is a technology that gets a lot of attention. Simply put, biometrics is the measuring of biological characteristics as a method of identification.

The iris of the eye is one of the few protected internal organs of the body that is visible from the outside. Its intricate structure displays a complex, unique, stable texture throughout life.

While current technology requires individuals to be close to scanning equipment, technology is being developed that will allow scanning at a distance. This raises privacy concerns with some, but others laud it as a non-invasive form of identification that could aid in security enforcement and reduce identification fraud and mistakes in areas as diverse as maternity ward patient ID and pass-protection of computer programs. 

Some countries have an "iris passport" option that allows travelers to opt for a scan at international border crossings. The largest user of algorithms resulting from the scans is in the United Arab Emirates. About 10 billion iris comparisons are performed each day in real-time database searches.