ABIS (Automated Biometric Identification System) is used for large-scale biometric identification and deduplication. An ABIS is a type of biometric search system that performs a one-to-many comparison of a “probe” sample to samples in a database containing many biometric templates. This process is known as biometric identification. It enables matching of a live sample against many existing biometric templates to find a record of a particular individual and verify his or her identity. Biometric identification including the face, fingerprint, palm print, and iris.

The Department of Homeland Security uses a central DHS-wide system for storage and processing of biometric and associated biographic information for national security; law enforcement; immigration and border management; intelligence; background investigations for national security positions and certain positions of public trust; and associated testing, training, management reporting, planning and analysis, or other administrative uses. This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and the attached appendices provide transparency into how the system uses Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and details the system’s sharing partners and functions.

Biometric identification is not the same as the one-to-one verification – one biometric template, one user sample – used in authentication models. Biometric identification answers the question “Who are you?” Biometric verification answers the question, “Are you really you?”.

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