Research finds iris scanning unreliable over time

It is standard fare in action movies involving secrets and spies to see the protagonist trick iris recognition scanners into allowing access to off-limits vaults or restricted areas. Unfortunately, it seems that the ineffectiveness of these machines isn’t such an unlikely possibility, considering the recently uncovered fallibility of such security precautions.

A research team at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana discovered this when matching up more than 20,000 images of 644 different irises taken over a three-year period of time. The result? While photos taken a month apart were matched up, those with the three-year gap experienced a 153% increase of a false non-match rate. What this means is that, over time, irises change.

According to the team, this is something that could become worse if current technology isn’t improved or updated, and could result in either legitimate persons being locked out of a system or others tricking security at checkpoints.

Right now, these findings point to the idea that images of irises should be regularly updated. Additionally, new technology should be created to take these changing irises into account.

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