Along at least twelve dimensions biometric systems might vary. We need to exploit this variety to manoeuvre biometrics into place to be able to realise its social potential. Subsequently, two perspectives on biometrics are proposed revealing that biometrics will probably be ineffective in combating identity fraud, organised crime and terrorism: (1) the value chain perspective explains the first barrier: our strong preference for large scale biometric systems for general compulsory use. These biometric systems cause successful infringements to spread unnoticed. A biometric system will only function adequately if biometrics is indispensable for solving the dominant chain problem. Multi-chain use of biometrics takes it beyond the boundaries of good manageability. (2) the identity fraud perspective exposes the second barrier: our traditional approach to identity verification. We focus on identity documents, neglecting the person and the situation involved. Moreover, western legal cultures have made identity verification procedures known, transparent, uniform and predictable. Thus, we have developed a blind spot to identity fraud. Biometrics provides good potential to better checking persons, but will probably be used to enhance identity documents. Biometrics will only pay off if it confronts the identity fraudster with less predictable verification processes and more risks of his identity fraud being spotted. Standardised large scale applications of biometrics
for general compulsory use without countervailing measures will probably produce the reverse. This contribution tentatively presents a few headlines for an overall biometrics strategy that could better resist identity fraud.