Local News

Iris Recognition ATM's Help Keep an Eye on Crime

Posted April 22, 1998

— The secret code you use to get money from an ATM is about to get more secure -- with a code you'll never forget. Within a couple of months, some major banks will introduce "pin-less" ATM's. WRAL's Tom Lawrence has details of a breakthrough in ATM security that lets you get your cash with the blink of your eye.

Americans made 11 billion ATM transactions last year. And ATM fraud is on the rise. A new technology called Iris Recognition records your eye for identification. Sensar's Tom Drury explains.

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles."An iris pattern is highly distinctive. Ten times more unique than a fingerprint. Because it is so distinctive, we can tell with absolute accuracy that you are who you say you are."With PIN numbers we now use, thieves can steal your number. The key to your ATM account is the personal identification number or pin. A crook with a high powered video camera, hidden from view, can record you putting the number in, unless you cover your hand. With iris recognition, a video camera safely records an image of your iris. That's the colored part of your eye.

Drury says a computer uses a complex formula to turn light and dark flecks of the iris into digital code.

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles."We create, effectively, a human bar code and that human bar code becomes your identity inside the ban."In seconds your iris code is compared with the bank's copy.

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles."As I look at the yellow light, it's taking my picture. It's finished and the screen recognized Tom Drury. That's me."Scientists who developed iris recognition say it's not only fraud proof, it's foolproof because you can't forget it like a PIN number.

Citibank plans to test Iris ID ATM's this summer. There's no word whether North Carolina banks will use the machines. They are already in use in Great Britain.

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