March 6, 2002 3:25 PM PST
Comdex: Biometrics meets security
Representatives from the airline and biometrics industries met for daylong discussions about working together to develop measures that could help prevent tragedies such as those on Sept. 11.
Biometrics, the field of using biological determinants such as fingerprints and facial features for identification and access, has long been the next big thing in computing. Heightened security concerns and efforts by IBM and others to integrate fingerprint log-in buttons on notebooks are pushing the field toward center stage.
"With United headquarters and one of the largest airports in America, O'Hare, nearby, we felt this technology venue was a good place for people from the transportation and security arenas to come together," said Eric Grodziski, spokesman for Comdex organizer Key3Media, which also organized the discussions.
Of the twenty largest airports in the world, 14 of them are in the United States, said Cathal Flynn, retired rear admiral of the U.S. Navy, who facilitated the discussion.
"If the aviation industry is attacked, it will have a ripple effect on the economy," Flynn said. "These are dangerous times and the target is the U.S. economy."
Flynn said technology--specifically biometrics--provides an intriguing opportunity to contribute to the fight against terrorism.
"It is in everybody's interest to bring technology to bare--including the resources of companies--to help our government and help our society deal with this aspect of the terrorist threat," Flynn said.