NGBS: Next Generation Biometric Systems

Funding Agency: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art (HMWK)

Lead organization: Hochschule Darmstadt

Team members: Hochschule Darmstadt, Fraunhofer IGD

Performance period: January 2019 – December 2023

Project description: The ATHENE mission “Next Generation Biometric Systems” should make fundamental progress in the field of biometrics and achieve the following goals and objectives:

  • Robust quality determination of biometric samples: A core objective of the mission is to develop new algorithms and methods for quality As described above, this is highly relevant from a practical point of view for the operational systems in Europe (such as the Visa Information System and the Entry‐Exit System), in particular for the use of face recognition systems.
  • Increased security against attacks on biometric systems: A systematic vulnerability analysis is essential to ensure the security of biometric Suitable countermeasures must be developed for already known attack vectors. In addition to presentation attacks, the vulnerability of biometric systems (especially face recognition) to image manipulation has recently been identified. This specific research field is still in statu nascendi and only a few countermeasures have been proposed. The practicability of such countermeasures has not yet been tested in operational systems. A partial objective of the mission is, to analyze the security of biometric systems on the basis of a rigorous vulnerability analyses and to develop effective countermeasures. Moreover, such attacks on embedded and mobile biometrics imposes specific requirement that cannot be directly addressed for solutions developed for other application domains. Securing this rapidly expanding family of embedded biometric use-cases still require expanded research effort to be addressed.
  • Improved protection of biometric reference data: A weakness of today’s biometric systems is the inadequate protection of biometric reference data. Classic cryptographic methods are not sufficient, to protect the privacy of data subject registered within a biometric systems. While existing template protection mechanisms can offer partial protection of biometric data, this is usually accompanied by a significant loss in recognition performance. The aim of the mission is to develop new concepts for data protection‐friendly processing/storage of biometric data. This an absolute necessity, if future biometric systems shall comply with new legal frameworks, in particular the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Increasing the efficiency and recognition performance of biometric identification systems: There is a steady growth of databases that link biometric data with other personal data (large scale databases). If a capture biometric probe sample has to be compared against a large amount of reference data to determine the identity of a capture subject, this can lead to long response times and an increased false positive identification rate of the system. In order to scale with the growth of biometric databases, the recognition performance of biometric systems must be One objective of the mission is to improve the generalizability of biometric systems, especially facial recognition systems, in order to increase biometric performance. This is absolutely necessary for biometric data that show an increased variance, e.g. beautified facial images, which are very often found in social networks. On the other hand, a further objective is to develop methods that allow an efficient search query with the help of biometric data in large databases (in real time). Efficiency is specifically important when dealing with limited computational resources, which is the case in embedded and mobile biometric applications. Building modern and high-performing biometric solutions is essential to enable the spread of the technology in this domain. One of the goals of this project is to build smaller and more efficient models for the different sub-processes that constitutes the biometric decision making workflow.
  • Impacting international standards evolving in the field of research: One of the mission’s concurrent objectives, which covers all core topics, is to contribute the achieved findings to the relevant committees that deal with the standardization of biometric systems. This enables a transfer of knowledge to the industry and guarantees a long‐term impact of our research for operational biometric systems and thus for all end users. This additionally enables a transfer of knowledge to the relevant stakeholders (such as industry and policymakers) with a potential of long-term impact of our research for operational biometric systems and thus for all stakeholders.