Biometrics Security & Privacy

Biometrics refers to the automatic recognition of individuals based on their physiological and/or behavioral characteristics.

Biometrics refers to the automatic recognition of individuals based on their physiological and/or behavioral characteristics.

The Biometrics Security and Privacy (BSP) group at Idiap focuses on three main areas of research:

  1. Biometric recognition: We investigate and develop new biometrics based recognition algorithms, notably for face, voice, and vein biometric modalities.
  2. Presentation attack detection: We look for new and better ways of detecting presentation attacks on face, voice, and vein biometric recognition systems.
  3. Biometric template protection: We research effective methods of preserving both the security of biometric recognition systems and the privacy of their users by protecting the biometric models ("templates") that are employed by the system for recognition purposes.

The BSP group prioritizes reproducibility in research. This is important for ensuring that our work can be both verified and built upon by the wider research community. To enable reproducibility, we mainly make use of our Python-based signal-processing and machine-learning toolbox, Bob, which we make freely available for academic purposes. The group also develops and maintains the BEAT platform -- a MLaaS platform compliant with Swiss and European data-security norms.

The group participates in several large-scale biometrics projects at Swiss (SNSF), European (H2020) or world-wide levels (eg. IARPA/DARPA) but also conducts projects directly with companies.

The BSP group provides also expertise to the Swiss Center for Biometrics Research and Testing, which, among other things, carries out tests and evaluations on commercial products related to biometrics.

Group News

Fake faces for more ethics in biometrics
research — Oct 12, 2021

The lack of representativity in databases used to train facial recognition tools often creates biases. Creating a repository of fake faces can resolve these biases. Financed by the Hasler Foundation and under the supervision of Idiap Research Institute, the SAFER project gathers the University of Zurich and the company SICPA.

Idiaper appointed Professor at the University of Lausanne
education — Aug 30, 2021

Head of the Biometrcs security & privacy research group at Idiap, Sébastien Marcel was appointed Professor at School of Criminal Justice (Ecole des Sciences Criminelles) of the University of Lausanne from September 1st. His nomination is strengthening an already deep rooted collaboration between the two institutions.

Major Bob release
tech — last modified May 26, 2021

This release brings many changes and some packages have been completely re-written.

« My career at Idiap allowed me to establish a standard »
research — Mar 09, 2021

Since his arrival at Idiap 20 years ago, Sébastien Marcel is shaking up the research community in biometry. After several major projects and a long term hard work, the researcher established the bases for a new biometrics standard.

Android accredits Idiap's biometrics center
tech — Oct 21, 2020

To face the increasing use of biometrics systems, Android set up its own certification standard. The biometrics center of Idiap became accredited to deliver certificates meeting these standards. This competence builds up on the FIDO accreditation obtained in 2019.

Group Job Openings

Several Openings for Cross-Disciplinary Senior Researcher positions by admin — last modified Mar 01, 2021
With the growth of the institute, in addition to increased Federal funding to further support its activities, Idiap is opening several additional permanent senior research scientist positions.
PhD in fairness and responsible datasets for face recognition by admin — last modified Sep 29, 2021
The Idiap Research Institute and its Biometrics Security and Privacy group seeks qualified candidates for one PhD student position on the topic of fairness and responsible datasets for face recognition.

Current Group Members

The group is led by Sébastien Marcel.

MARCEL, Sébastien
(Senior Research Scientist with Academic Title)
- website

(Research Associate)
- website

(Research Associate)
- website

(Research Associate)
- website

GEORGE, Anjith
(Research Associate)
- website

(Research Associate)
- website

(Research Associate)
- website

(Postdoctoral Researcher)
- website

(Postdoctoral Researcher)
- website

COLBOIS, Laurent
(Research Assistant)
- website

(Research Assistant)
- website

(Research Assistant)
- website

MORAIS, Antonio
(Master Student)
- website

BROS, Victor
(Research Intern)
- website

VYAS, Sargam
(AI Master Student)
- website


  • AEBERHARD, Niels
  • ATANASOAEI, Constantin-Cosmin
  • BALA SUBBURAMAN, Venkatesh
  • BENDALE, Abhijit
  • BOURLARD, Maxime
  • EGLITIS, Teodors
  • EL KHOURY, Elie
  • EL SHAFEY, Laurent
  • ERDOGMUS, Nesli
  • GALBALLY, Javier
  • GÜNTHER, Manuel
  • HALSTEAD, Michael (Allan)
  • HEUSCH, Guillaume
  • JOHANSSON, Niklas
  • JUST, Agnès
  • KEOMANY, Jean
  • KOMATY, Alain
  • LINGHU, Yu
  • MÄÄTTÄ, Jukka
  • MANDASARI, Miranti
  • MCCOOL, Christopher
  • MCLAREN, Mitchell
  • MEHTA, Rakesh
  • MILLIUS, Josselin
  • MILLIUS, Loris
  • MOSTAANI, Zohreh
  • NGUYEN, Huy (Hong)
  • NIKISINS, Olegs
  • ORRÙ, Giulia
  • PETTINATO, Michela
  • ROY, Anindya
  • SARFJOO, Saeed (Seyyed)
  • SARKAR, Eklavya
  • SCHMIDLI, Dominic
  • THURRE, Veronique
  • TOME, Pedro
  • VANONI, Matthias
  • WALLACE, Roy (Geoffrey)
  • ZHANG, Xinyi

Active Research Grants

Past Research Grants