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Electrophysiological Biometrics: Opportunities and Risks

Part of the The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology book series (ELTE,volume 11)


The use of electrophysiological signals as features to authenticate subjects is a novel approach to biometrics. It has been proven that both electrocardiography (ECG) and electroencephalography (EEG) signals are unique enough to be applied for recognition and identification purposes. Moreover, the use of electrooculography (EOG) and electromyography (EMG), which are related to the movement of the eyes and muscular activity, can also be useful and add an extra dimension to the field of biometrics: the possibility of continuous and transparent biometrics, i.e., biometry on the move. We also comment on the future of the electrophysiological biometrics, highlighting the added value. This includes the use of a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) system for authentication purposes and the application of such a system for the evolving field of telepresence and virtual reality.


  • Equal Error Rate
  • Brain Computer Interface
  • Biometric System
  • Imagery Task
  • Iris Recognition

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-3892-8_7
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  1. 1.

    Real-time control of wheelchairs with brain waves . Accessed October 26th 2009.

  2. 2.

    Cisco Telepresence Solution . Accessed October 26th 2009.





Brain computer interface


Cross correlation








Equal error rate






Event related potential


European Union


Framework program


False positive rate


Fourier transform




Mutual information


True positive rate


Universal serial bus


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The authors wish to acknowledge the ACTIBIO project, a STREP collaborative project supported under the 7th Framework Program (Grant agreement number: FP7-ICT-2007-1-215372) in which Starlab is actively involved. ACTIBIO aims at authenticating subjects in a transparent way by monitoring their activities by means of novel biometric modalities.

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Correspondence to Alejandro Riera .

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Riera, A., Dunne, S., Cester, I., Ruffini, G. (2012). Electrophysiological Biometrics: Opportunities and Risks. In: Mordini, E., Tzovaras, D. (eds) Second Generation Biometrics: The Ethical, Legal and Social Context. The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology, vol 11. Springer, Dordrecht.

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