BEST IELTS Daily Reading Test, 26th March
IELTS READING PRACTICE TEST 3, Passage – 3
Reading Passage 3
A. The term ‘biometrics’ is derived from the Greek words bio (life) and metric (to measure). It refers to technologies for measuring and analysing a person’s physiological or behavioural characteristics, such as fingerprints, irises, voice patterns, facial patterns and hand measurements, for identification and verification purposes. One of the earliest known examples of biometrics in practice was a form of fingerprinting used in China in the 14thcentury. Chinese merchants stamped children’s palm prints and footprints on paper with ink to distinguish the young children from one another. This method of biometrics is still being practised today.
B. Until the late 1800s, identification largely relied upon ‘photographic memory.’ In the 1890s, an anthropologist and police desk clerk in Paris named Alphonse Bertillon sought to fix the problem of identifying convicted criminals and turned biometrics into a distinct field of study. He developed a method of multiple body measurements which was named after him –Bertillonage. Bertillon based his system on the claim that measurement of adult bones does not change after the age of 20. He also introduced a cataloging system, which enable the filling and checking of records quite quickly. His system was used by police authorities throughout the world, until 1903, when two identical measurements were obtained for two different persons at Fort Leavenworth prison. The prison switched to fingerprinting the following day and the rest of the world soon followed, abandoning Bertillonage forever. After the failure of Bertillonage, the police started using fingerprinting, which was developed by Richard Edward Henry of Scotland Yard, essentially reverting to the same methods used by the Chinese for years.
C. In the past three decades biometrics has moved from a single method (fingerprinting) to more than ten different methods. Hundreds of companies are involved with this development and continue to improve their methods as the technology available to them advances. As the industry grows, however, so does the public concern over privacy issues. Laws and regulations continue to be drafted and standards are beginning to be developed. While no other biometric has yet reached the wide range of use of fingerprinting, some are beginning to be used in both legal and business areas.
D. Identification and verification have long been in practice by presenting a personal document, such as license ID card or a passport. It may also require personal information such as passwords or PINs. For security reasons, often two, or all three, of these systems are combined but as times progress, we are in constant need for more secure and accurate measures. Authentication by biometric verification is becoming increasingly common incorporate and public security systems, consumer electronics and point-of-sale applications. In addition to security, the driving force behind biometric verification has been convenience. Already, many European countries are introducing a biometric passport which will carry a paper – thin computer chip to store the facial image and at least one additional biometric identifier. This will help to counter fraudulent efforts to obtain duplicate passports and will verify the identity of the holder against the document.
E. Identification and verification are mainly used today in the fight against crime with the methods of fingerprint and DNA analysis. It is also used in security for granting access rights by voice pattern recognition. Additionally, it is used for personal comfort by identifying a person and changing personal settings accordingly, as in setting can seats by facial recognition. Starting in early 2000, the use of biometrics in schools has become widespread, particularly in the UK and USA. A number of justifications are given for such practices, including combating truancy, and replacing library cards or meal cards with fingerprinting systems. Opponents of school biometrics have raised privacy concerns against the creation of databases that would progressively include the entire population.
F. Biometric devices consist of a reader or scanning devise, software that converts the gathered information into digital form, and a database that stores the biometric data for comparison with previous records. When converting the biometric input, the software identifies specific points of data as match points. The match points are processed with biometric data in the database. There are two types of biometrics are generally used for verification while identification or verification.
G. Iris-pattern and retina-pattern authentication methods are already employed in some bank automatic teller machines. Voice waveform recognition, a method of verification that has been used for many years with tape recordings in telephone wiretaps, is now being used for access to proprietary data banks in research facilities. Facial-recognition technology has been used by law enforcement to pick out individuals in large crowds with considerable reliability. Hard geometry is being used in industry to provide physical access to buildings. Earlobe geometry has been used to disprove the identity of individuals who claim to be someone they are not (identity theft). Signature comparison is not as reliable, all by itself as other biometric verification methods but offers an extra layer of verification when used in conjunction with one or more other methods. No matter what biometric methodology is used, the identification verification process remains the same. A record of a person’s unique characteristics is captured and kept in a database. Later on, when identification verification is required, a new record is captured and compared with the previous record in the database. If the data in thenew record matches that in the database record, the person’s identity confirmed.
H. As technology advances, and time goes on, more and more private companies and public utilities will use biometrics for safe, accurate identification. However, these advances will raise many concerns throughout society, where many may not be educated on the methods. Some believe this technology can cause physical harm to an individual using it, or that instruments used are unsanitary. For example, there are concerns that retina scanners might not always be clean. There are also concerns as to whether our personal information taken through biometric methods can be misused, tampered with, or sold, eg. by criminals stealing, rearranging or copying the biometric data. Also, the data obtained using biometrics can be used in unauthorised ways without the individual’s consent. Much still remains to be seen in the effectiveness of biometric verification before we can identity it as the safest system for identification.
Reading Passage 3 has eight paragraphs, A-H.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-H in spaces 27-31 below.
27. Possible health hazards associated with the use of biometrics ……………………………..
28. Convicted criminals were not the first to be identified by the use of biometrics ……………………………
29. The application of mathematics is assessing biometric data ………………………….
30. Despite its limitations, biometrics has become a commercial field of activity ……………………………
31. Some biometric methods are useful only in conjunction with others …………………………………..
Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
32. Members of the public are becoming increasingly worried about the …………………………… that may accompany the use of biometrics.
33. Biometrics can be used to improve the …………………………….. of drivers and passengers.
34. Regardless of the technology used, it has one common purpose: to find somebody’s …………………………….. and store it on computer.
Complete the summary with the list of words A-L below.
Write the correct letter A-L in spaces 35-40 below.
As long ago on the 14th century the Chinese made use of biometrics in order to tell young children apart, but it wad only in the 1890s when it was used by the authorities as a means of 35……………………. in the criminal cases. The system developed by the Frenchman Bertillon – that of measuring adult bones – was flawed, however, and so police adopted 36…………………… as a more reliable way of identifying sports. Governments, companies and even schools employ biometric technology to ensure, for example, that people do not enter a country illegally, gain access to certain buildings, or assume someone else’s 37………………………. . Apart from security another important 38……………………… behind biometric verification has been 39……………………….. . The use of biometrics, however, has its critics, who say that the data collected could be used for different purposes without our 40……………………………. .
Answers are below >>>>
32. Privacy issues
33. Personal comfort
34. Unique characteristic
35. Paragraph B
36. Paragraph B
37. Paragraph G
38. Paragraph D
39. Paragraph D
40. Paragraph H