Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Biometric Voter Registration Underway In Tanzania (Anadolu Agency)

Florida: Biometrics as a differentiator for luxury condos

Muse condo tower preps for groundbreaking, 60 percent sold (The Real Deal)
The developer plans to include robotic parking, facial recognition software in the elevators, biometric safes and a 75-inch in-wall television for every unit.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Security and Service

Concerns raised over mandatory fingerprinting for India visas (Travel Weekly)
The High Commission of India states on its website that, after outsourcing the process to a company called VFS, all applicants will need to be physically present at India Visa and Consular Services centres to submit an application and biometric data.

It says: “Biometric data collection, including fingerprint data and facial imagery will be a mandatory requirement for all visa applicants soon. As a result, all visa applicants will need to first apply online and, thereafter, be physically present (mandatorily) at India Visa and Consular Services centres, by appointment, for submission of visa application and biometric data enrolment.”
All security applications must strike a balance between the effectiveness of the security measures and the needs of the entity seeking enhanced security. As anyone who has ever seen a waste basket propping open an office door could tell you, better security usually requires sacrifices to efficiency. More security with more convenience is a tall order.

The article linked above highlights a case where the enhanced security of biometric visas for travelers to India from the UK has made the visa application process more complex and time consuming. In one sense, it's bound to. Collecting more information takes more time. In the India visa case, however, it is taking a whole lot more time. So much more that people involved in Indian tourism are growing worried.

The unfortunate irony is that their ability to increase security and convenience at the same time is one of the things that make biometrics such a disruptive technology.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Biometrics for the financial "last mile"

Kenya: Biometric technology eases banking in rural areas (KBC) — Kenyans in rural areas can now open and get access to their bank accounts with ease following the roll out of a biometric technology...

Somalis panic as cash flow dries up after US remittance lifeline cut
Somalia's remittance crisis has been intensifying for years. Britain's Barclays Bank closed its accounts with Dahabshiil, the largest Somali money transfer company, in 2014.

In Australia, Westpac, the only bank partnering with Somali remittance companies, is due to close their accounts at the end of March, the report said.

"We are just lurching from crisis to crisis", said Ed Pomfret, Oxfam's Somalia campaign manager. "These governments need to take action."

Britain has been working with the World Bank on a "Safer Corridor" initiative to tighten the scrutiny of Somali money transfers through measures such as biometric identity cards for recipients in Somalia.
The "last mile" problem is usually reserved for describing the challenges of connecting retail customers with physical infrastructures such as plumbing, electricity or wired communications.

It's also a real challenge in connecting recipients of aid and remittances to the global financial system. In the Somali case above, the global financial system appears to end at Somali money transfer companies. The Kenya efforts (linked above) and others, such as India's UID project, are two examples of how people are using biometrics to extend the benefits of the global financial system to people who desperately need them.
7 things you never knew about biometrics (Gadget)

UK: Banks accommodating mobile fingerprint biometrics

Is the UK banking sector ready to sideline passwords? (Information Age)
RBS and NatWest have been the first banks to announce that they are soon to allow customers to access accounts on their smartphones using fingerprint recognition technology.

The move is a seminal one for UK financial institutions, and an indication that the era of passwords may be finally drawing to a close.
Also:
Fingerprint authentication protects youngsters from themselves (Computer Weekly)
Both the Royal Bank of Scotland and MasterCard have recently made announcements regarding fingerprint authentication services and, if research from Visa Europe is anything to go by, the technology could be the best way to help users keep their bank details secure.

The research revealed those aged between 16 and 24-years-old are very liberal with personal details.

For example, 34% of this age group have shared their debit or credit card pin numbers with someone, compared with 23% for all age groups. Some 32% have shared their smartphone password and 20% have shared internet banking passwords.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

US: Government open to Apple Pay

Apple Pay secures key US govt contract (Planet Biometrics)
Apple’s biometric payment system is set to be used by the US Federal Government for payment cards and social security and veteran’s payments, following an announcement by US President Barack Obama.

Windows 10 and biometrics

Microsoft Announces FIDO Support For Windows 10 (The Verge)
Soon, you may be able to log in to Outlook with a fingerprint or an eyescan. At the Stanford Cybersecurity Summit on Friday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would support the next version of the Fast Identification Online (FIDO) spec, allowing devices to work with a wealth of third-party biometric readers and providing an easy framework for any hardware makers that want to build extra security into a laptop or phone.

The amazing durability of password technology

You Might Want To Take Another Pass At Your Passwords (GPB News)
Cormac Herley is in the 95 percent who don't. He's principal researcher with Microsoft Research, an arm of the software giant.

"Passwords are the worst system in the world, except for all the other systems," he says.

Herley recommends assigning different tiers to passwords. Using your best, most complex ones for work and banking, but devoting less effort to those that don't matter as much. But even that can be a lot to ask, even for him.

"I write the passwords down and have a photocopy at home and a photocopy in the office and a couple copies here and there."

But, could all that be compromising security?

"Well, I mean, um, yes," he says.
I also love Harley's repurposing of the democracy quote often attributed to Winston Churchill.

Forecast: Health care biometrics worth US $5B by 2020

Special Report: Biometrics in Healthcare (Biometric Update)
This report examines how biometric technology is applied to the health care industry, mainly in the United States. This report notes that “health care biometrics” is utilized for access control, identification, workforce management or patient record storage. Biometrics in health care often takes two forms: providing access control to resources and patient identification solutions. The growing demand for biometrics solutions is mainly driven by the need to combat fraud, along with the imperative to improve patient privacy along with health care safety. Biometrics are also increasing being used for medical monitoring and mobile health care.
- Rawlson O`Neil King Lead Researcher, Biometrics Research Group, Inc.


Also, and unlike with most of these market analyses, Biometrics Research Group has made the entire report available for free via download at the link above.

Monday, February 16, 2015

"Get me some biometrics, stat!"

How biometrics could improve health security (Fortune)
For the last two years, the health industry suffered the highest number of hackings of any sector. Last year, it accounted for 43% of all data breaches, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. To help prevent these costly issues, medical companies have begun adopting an array of biometrics security systems that use data from a patient’s fingerprint, iris, veins, or face.
There really isn't an identity management challenge that health care doesn't have.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

India: What happens with lost UID numbers?

UIDAI devises a method to retrieve lost Aadhaar numbers (Business Standard)
A government official said as a person can only enrol for Aadhaar once, there needed to be a mechanism to retrace the number in case the person has misplaced all possible links to it.

“Enrolling again is not an option, as the system automatically rejects biometric details that have been registered once,” said the official.

Under the new method, a person can put in the biometrics and the system will keep prompting for more demographic details till the back-end server zeros down to 10 possible matches.

During the entire process, none of the details of the Aadhaar holders will be shown to the person or the operator till the time an exact match has been found.

This has been done keeping in mind the design of the Aadhaar project, where the system doesn’t reveal any information about the resident and only tries to authenticate the identity replying with a yes or no.