IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence

Generating cancelable fingerprint templates

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Biometrics-based authentication systems offer obvious usability advantages over traditional password and token-based authentication schemes. However, biometrics raises several privacy concerns. A biometric is permanently associated with a user and cannot be changed. Hence, if a biometric identifier is compromised, it is lost forever and possibly for every application where the biometric is used. Moreover, if the same biometric is used in multiple applications, a user can potentially be tracked from one application to the next by cross-matching biometric databases. In this paper, we demonstrate several methods to generate multiple cancelable identifiers from fingerprint images to overcome these problems. In essence, a user can be given as many biometric identifiers as needed by issuing a new transformation "key." The identifiers can be cancelled and replaced when compromised. We empirically compare the performance of several algorithms such as Cartesian, polar, and surface folding transformations of the minutiae positions. It is demonstrated through multiple experiments that we can achieve revocability and prevent cross-matching of biometric databases. It is also shown that the transforms are noninvertible by demonstrating that it is computationally as hard to recover the original biometric identifier from a transformed version as by randomly guessing. Based on these empirical results and a theoretical analysis we conclude that feature-level cancelable biometric construction is practicable in large biometric deployments. © 2007 IEEE.