Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nigeria: Biometrics used to detect unqualified teachers

Plateau sacks 1,400 teachers with fake certificates (Vanguard)
Mang said the biometric exercise embarked upon by SUBEB was to sanitise the sector and ensure that only qualified teachers were allowed to teach. “The exercise, conducted in batches, is part of efforts by the Plateau State Government to improve standard of education in the state,” she said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Of course they do

Australians support biometrics at airports (Computerworld)

Nine in ten Australians are willing to hand over biometric details including fingerprints when travelling across international borders, according to an Accenture survey.

Biometrics can't do everything

Biometric registration can't solve election problems - EC (Ghana News Agency)
Dr Afari-Gyan said from the experience in Ghana, the introduction of the biometric machine in the voting process of elections was not the absolute answer to all election problems.

“The machines are not always the full answers to our problem, because they cannot distinguish between fingerprints of a minor and an adult, or a foreigner and an indigene,” Dr Afari-Gyan said.

Rather,he called for supervision and monitoring of the entire election process as well as training of people who operated the biometric machines to ensure that all eligible voters were identified and allowed to vote accordingly.
It's true. A technological system designed to account for people can never free itself entirely from the "human element."

...and I don't think you'd want it to.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Utopia or dystopia? Probably neither.

UK: Facial recognition for law enforcement (Extreme Tech) — Face recognition surveillance, like most technology, is getting better.

Biometric verifications are becoming more popular

Biometrics emerge as pass code alternative (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Biometrics detect more Nigerian ghosts

Delta Bio-metric Payroll System Uncovers Scam (Spy Ghana)
The Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) of the Delta State Biometric Payroll System has uncovered 17 staff from the Women Development Committee (WDC) and Youth Development Committee scheme (YDC) who were collecting salaries from both agencies.

No. Iris? Perhaps.

Does Samsung Have a Retina Scanning Smartphone Coming? (TechnoBuffalo)

The iris (left), which gives people "eye color," controls how much light enters the eyeball. The retina (right) is the structure laying along the inside, back surface of the eyeball that translates light into nervous impulses for the optic nerve to send to the brain.

In a camera analogy, the iris would be, well, the iris, since cameras have them, too. The retina would be the film, or in an even better digital analogy, the charge-coupled device (CCD) that translates light into ones and zeros for computer chips.

Mobile iris technology is much more straightforward than mobile retina technology and is far more likely to be coming soon to a smartphone near you.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Waiting for the kitchen sink

Biometric Smart ID Cards: Dumb Idea — Every anti-biometrics argument in one convenient resource, including NO2ID, and the horribly mischaracterized Israel "biometrics" data breach.
The Extinction of Passwords (Business 2 Community)
Currently, passwords are total chaos. In fact, most people have terrible passwords that are easy for hackers to guess. Even worse, many people use the same password for all their accounts, and they haven’t changed their password for years. So all a hacker has to do is guess the password once and they’ll have access to the user’s entire life. And while we were all advised to change our passwords after the recent Heartbleed attack, very few of us actually did.

Since we’re not really managing our passwords appropriately, it’s time to get rid of the hassle of passwords and use something with more data points and that is unique to each individual.

India funds UID through 2015

INDIA: Government to continue Aadhaar, provides ₹20 billion in 2014-15. The amount provided for the project for this fiscal is higher than Rs 1,550 crore provided in the previous year. 20 billion rupees is approximately 332.5 million US dollars.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NFC + Mobile + Biometrics = The Future of Payments

British Banking Association reports on UK’s banking ‘revolution’ (NFC World)
“The revolution in the way we spend, move and manage our money is not over,” the report says. “Banks are looking at a range of new technologies to make banking even easier and more flexible. Biometric data could make accounts safer and security features more straight forward for legitimate transactions.

“Near field technology could end the need for taking your card out of your wallet or purse to make a purchase. Banks will strive to innovate because they know it’s a way to win new customers.”
The combination of mobile handheld device hardware (i.e. the perfect token), biometric ID verification, and NFC provides the tools for building extremely powerful ID management regimes.

Banks appear to be realizing that systems like these could make for happier customers and pose a real threat to the credit card/debit card/clearing house/merchant bank model of card-based payments provided by organizations such as Visa and Mastercard.

It's possible that banks that successfully negotiate this opportunity could begin to take back some of the 3% of credit card transaction value (a massive amount of money) collected by credit card companies, but in order to do that banks will have to figure out how to make an extremely secure mobile app that that lives on a device that has a massive attack surface.

Elsewhere in the news, Norwegian start-up Zwipe is trying to solve this riddle with dedicated hardware. As compared to networked mobile devices such as smartphones, the Zwipe device has a tiny attack surface in that users can't download viruses to it via cellular signals, wifi or SMS. But in the name of security, the Zwipe device lacks some of the connectivity attributes that make smart devices so attractive for true e-commerce transactions rather than "point-of-sale only" transactions.

No matter how all this shakes out, this is a trillion dollar riddle and biometrics are a near certainty to factor in the solution.