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D2.3: Models

Identification  D2.3 Models


Biological characteristics (biometrics, medical)


The biological attributes represent the category that is used to represent the biological (or physiological) characteristics of a person. The representation of the biological characteristics can be done for several reasons such as identification, verification (access control), criminal investigation or healthcare. 


Biometrical information 

The first category of attributes that have already been mentioned is related to the identification of the person and includes all the biometrical information. The underlying premise is that some of the biological characteristics are permanent, intimately associated to the person, difficult to forge and unique enough so that they can be used for identification purpose. For instance they can be used to link a person to a passport or, in the context of a criminal investigation, to link the presence of a person to the scene of a crime.

The biometrical characteristics can vary considerably, and includes elements that are highly visible for the human (such as a Facial Features) or need some sophisticated mechanisms to be analysed (such as the DNA). These characteristics can either be physiological (passive), such as iris or face recognition or behavioural (active), such as lip movement, gait or keystroke dynamics. Within the physiological biometric methods we can distinguish between morphological methods (such as facial features, iris, fingerprint or palm geometry) and those being related to the senses (including voice, thermal patterns, body odour etc.). Biometric methods and their use for identification and verification are investigated further in FIDIS D3.2. 


Physiological & medical information (patient data) 

Another category of biological information is related to healthcare and includes the physiological characteristics that can be recorded in a medical record. Examples of biological information that can be recorder include: blood characteristics (pressure, level of albumin, cholesterol, etc.), known disease, etc.

It is important to mention that the use of these physiological characteristics can also be relevant outside of the medical domain, such as ability to practice a sport or to perform a job, insurance, etc., though in some case it raises a series of questions related to privacy protection . 

Examples of attributes


  1. Biometric 

    1. Physiological (or passive)  

      1. Morphology 

        1. Facial features 

        2. Fingerprint 

        3. Palm geometry 

      2. Senses 

        1. Voice 

        2. Body odour 

        3. Thermal patterns 

      3. Other 

        1. DNA 

    2. Behavioural (or active) 

      1. Gait 

      2. Lip movement 

      3. Keystroke dynamics 

  2. Physiological and medical 

    1. Physiology 

      1. Sex 

      2. Weight 

      3. Length 

      4. Strength 

      5. Biological clock (morning / evening) 

    2. State 

      1. Awake / asleep 

    3. Health characteristics 

      1. Known diseases 

      2. Vaccinations 

    4. Health instant state 

      1. Blood pressure 

      2. Temperature of the body 


Application domains

The main application domains of biological characteristics are security (authentication / verification), and healthcare. 

Relevant standards and specifications


Certain standards exist that can be used to specify biometrical characteristics, especially concerning the way processed biometric data, so called ‘templates’, are stored. The template formats depend highly on the algorithms used to process the ‘raw’ biometric data (such as a digital photo, in a defined digital format, of a face or iris). In some cases the algorithms are protected by patents. These aspects are further described in FIDIS D3.2.  

For transporting of raw biometric data and templates, standards such as XCBF (OASIS XML Common Biometric Format) can be used. The International Committee for Information Technology Standards, a predominantly US organisation, is attempting to derive standards for interoperability (data exchange formats) for biometrics with M1, but is only one of several parallel organisations and initiatives (BioAPI, ISO SC37, BioFoundry x9.84 and others ..) deriving ‘standards’ for biometric information..

Finally, it is worth mentioning the representation of biometric information in JXDM (global Justice mark-up language), which can be used in a crime investigation context. 


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