High-end Mathematics Courses May Soon Id You . . . and Me!

For Immediate Release: 
Jun 29 2004

High-end Mathematics Courses May Soon Id You . . . and Me!

Athens, W.Va. - "Identity verification in a complex, mobile and networked society is becoming increasingly difficult,” stated Dr. W.R. Winfrey, professor of mathematics at Concord University.

“Is the person standing at an ATM in Singapore authorized to withdraw funds from an account in Hinton? Is the person sitting at a computer in a hospital authorized to view medical or financial information about a patient? Deciding who should have access to what is usually straight forward. Verifying the identity of the person who has those privileges, particularly over a distance, is not. ID cards can be lost, stolen or forged.

Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) can be forgotten or stolen. However, biometric identifiers cannot be lost or stolen and are more difficult to forge.”

On Tuesday, June 22, Dr. Winfrey presented basic information about biometrics to 25 members of the Virginia Tech Security Task Force.

Biometrics is the science of using distinctive human characteristics for identification of people. Commonly used biometric identification techniques include fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition, speaker identification and hand geometry.

A student from Nigeria recently told Winfrey that his country implemented a massive voter registration program using fingerprints to prevent voting fraud. There are many opportunities for this emerging technology, “but it’s not for the faint-of-heart,” stated Winfrey.

Last fall, 35 students attended an orientation presentation by Dr. Winfrey. He presented the current state of the industry, with both the failures and successes of the latest technologies. Students were very interested in the potential applications.

Winfrey is developing a set of biometrics courses for Concord that will be launched in the fall of 2005.

He may be reached at 1-304-384-5217 or wrwinfrey@concord.edu.