USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications


Embedding biometric identifiers in 2D barcodes for improved security.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Max M. Houck

Document Type


Publication Date





Two-dimensional (2D) barcode symbology is an emerging technology used for compactly storing and retrieving information. These barcodes can be found on the back of drivers’ licenses and are encoded with secure text data. Standard 2D barcode such as PDF417 uses upper and lowercase alphabets, numeric digits and special characters for encoding. Some barcodes also include a compressed photo of the individual. The visual quality of the compressed image is usually poor and occupies a large amount of space which greatly reduces the capacity needed for encoding text. This paper presents a novel approach for embedding uncompressed images in a standard PDF417 2D barcode using a blind digital watermarking technique. The text is encoded in the standard PDF417 format with error correction, while the face and fingerprint images are watermarked in the encoded 2D barcode. Experimental results show that the proposed technique effectively increased the standard capacity of the PDF417 2D barcode without altering the contents of the encoded data. The results also show that the visual quality of the extracted photo image is high. The extracted fingerprint image when compared with the original fingerprint using an AFIS system yielded a high matching score.


Citation only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.