March 5th - Nalini K. Ratha

Dr. Nalini K. Ratha (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center)

Privacy enhancement in biometrics


Biometrics, as an authentication tool, provides several advantages over conventional what you know (e.g., password, PIN) and what you possess (e.g., keys, tokens) authentication methods. However, a biometrics is an irrevocable password as we can’t change the biometrics easily. If it is compromised digitally, it is compromised for ever. Secondly, a biometrics can be easily matched against multiple databases to link identities. In order to alleviate privacy deficiencies of biometrics, IBM Research has pioneered a new technique for protecting biometrics templates that can allow for revocation and anonymous sharing. Instead of enrolling with the true biometrics, the original signal/template is intentionally and repeatably distorted using a class of non-invertible functions. The resulting “transformed” biometrics is enrolled. During verification, the same distortion transformation is applied to the biometrics signal/template to match against the enrolled template. The proposed method supports revocability and permits anonymous matching where biometrics data sharing is prohibited.


Bio: Dr. Nalini K. Ratha is a Research Staff Member at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY where he is the team leader for the biometrics-based authentication research. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry working in the area of pattern recognition, computer vision and image processing. He received his B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, M.Tech. degree in Computer Science and Engineering also from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Ph. D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University. He has authored more than 80 research papers in the area of biometrics and has been co-chair of several leading biometrics conferences and served on the editorial boards of IEEE Trans. on PAMI, IEEE Trans. on SMC-B, IEEE Trans. on Image Processing and Pattern Recognition journal. He has co-authored a popular book on biometrics entitled “Guide to Biometrics” and also co-edited two books entitled “Automatic Fingerprint Recognition Systems” and “Advances in Biometrics: Sensors, Algorithms and Systems”. He has offered tutorials on biometrics technology at leading IEEE conferences and also teaches courses on biometrics and security. He is Fellow of IEEE, Fellow of IAPR and a senior member for ACM. His research interests include biometrics, pattern recognition and computer vision. He is an adjunct professor at IIIT Deli, had been an adjunct for several year at Cooper Union and NYU-Poly. During 2011-2012 he was the president of the IEEE Biometrics Council. At IBM, he has received several awards including a Research Division Award, Outstanding Innovation Award and Outstanding Technical Accomplishment Award along with several paten achievement awards.