Biometrics gets the vote

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 1 September 2004




(2004), "Biometrics gets the vote", Sensor Review, Vol. 24 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Biometrics gets the vote

Biometrics gets the vote

Keywords: Biometrics, Voice recognition

The State of Geneva has demonstrating the first ever biometric-voice recognition e-voting system for blind and partially sighted people at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) facilitating electronic voting for physically impaired citizens.

The State of Geneva assisted by its two technology partners, HP and WISeKey have taken the e-voting project interoperability and accessibility to the next level through the integration of biometric and voice recognition technology.

So far traditional e-voting systems prevented blind and partially sighted people from participating fully in the Internet voting. Even in the traditional physical polling booth situation, blind and partially sighted people have had to be assisted to make their vote.

To solve this problem the Geneva State authorities have been investigating alternative voting methods that might make the process of placing a vote easier and more convenient for blind and partially sighted people. “This experience is also a great model for developing countries where illiterate people could use this technology to vote electronically”, said Chancellor Robert Hensler.

The e-voting system authenticates the voter using a biometric fingerprint device, guides him through the voting process with interactive audio, and processes his desired voting choices through matching phonetic pronunciations of simple responses such as “yes”, “no”, “cancel”, “resume” or “ok”.

The voice recognition system has been developed by HP to accommodate a wide range of voices and accents of both genders. “This development illustrates our commitment to making new technologies available to a vast number of people of all backgrounds”, said Jean-Max Arbez, HP Manager for French speaking Switzerland.

With the WISeKey technology, the biometric match is used to release a digital signature instead of using a password or pass phase. As the biometric information is stored on a secure device – a smart card or token – the biometric information is retained by its owner and not centrally stored, thus, ensuring security and safeguarding privacy.

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