Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Amazon files mobile face recognition patent for payments

Amazon will soon accept mobile payments using selfies instead of passwords (Silicon Republic)
Amazon has filed a patent application for technology that will allow users to authenticate a payment using a photo or video in a seamless way that doesn’t necessarily require passwords.

“The user is identified using image information which is processed utilising facial recognition. The device verifies that the image information corresponds to a living human using one or more human-verification processes,” the patent reads.

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Holy Bat-phone, Batman!"

NEC develops biometrics technology that uses sound to distinguish individually unique ear cavity shape (NEC)
The new technology instantaneously measures (within approximately one second) acoustic characteristics determined by the shape of the ear, which is unique for each person, using an earphone with a built-in microphone to collect earphone-generated sounds as they resonate within ear cavities. This unique method for extracting features is useful for distinguishing individuals based on acoustic characteristics and enables rapid and highly accurate recognition (greater than 99% accuracy).



Friday, March 4, 2016

Illinois: Google faces face-rec lawsuit

Google Gets Sued Over Face Recognition, Joining Facebook And Shutterfly In Battle Over Biometric Privacy In Illinois (IBTimes)
In the latest scuffle over biometric data collection in Illinois, Google Inc. this week was hit with a lawsuit over its face-recognition technology, making Google the latest tech giant to be accused of violating an unusual state privacy law that restricts the collection and storage of so-called faceprints. Illinois and Texas are the only two states that regulate how private companies may use biometric data, and Illinois is the only state that authorizes statutory damages for violations.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Forecast: Global Biometrics Market in Hospitality Sector 2016-2020

Market outlook of the biometrics market in the hospitality sector (Research and Markets)
The market research analyst predicts the global biometrics market in the hospitality sector to grow at a CAGR of around 27% during the forecast period. With the increase in cases of time theft, data theft, and other criminal activities in the hospitality sector, the demand for security technologies including a highly reliable and accessible personal authentication and identification systems has increased. Biometrics has emerged as a suitable security and monitoring solution to meet this need as it is based on the behavioral and physiological characteristics of an individual, which is difficult to replicate. Biometrics in the hospitality sector is seen as the most accurate and reliable system because it eliminates manual inputs, identity card exchange, and time theft.

Biometrics for better government finances

Nigeria saves $11 million after removing 20,000 ‘ghost workers’ (Hindustan Times)
Nigeria’s government has removed more than 20,000 non-existent workers from its payroll following an audit, leading to savings of 2.29 billion naira ($11.53 million) from its monthly wage bill, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday.
...
The audit used biometric data and a bank verification number (BVN) to identify holders of bank accounts into which salaries were being paid.
The proof is in the fingerprint: how biometrics are proving security doubters wrong (memeburn)
Biometrics is not the uncharted Wild West or the strange cousin who lives next door, it is one of the fastest growing markets in the world because it works. It is also predicted to be worth around US$23.3 billion by 2019 with a CAGR of 20.8%. This is one market which is on a steady trajectory thanks to its potential and its ability to reduce fraud and data theft by significant amounts. The proof as they say, is not so much in the pudding as it is in the fingerprint…

Thursday, December 3, 2015

China: Arrests in US OPM case

Chinese government has arrested hackers it says breached OPM database (Washington Post)
Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the government played no role in the intrusions, which compromised sensitive personal, financial and biometric data of the employees, and data on their families.

Costs continue to mount from Target 2013 breach

Target settles for $39 million over data breach (CNN)
The settlement is the latest in a series of payouts Target has made.

In August, Target settled with Visa for $67 million over the data hack. And in March, Target settled a federal class action lawsuit brought by customers for $10 million.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Healthcare: Getting serious about multifactor authentication

The Time Has Come for Two-Factor Authentication in Health Care (iHealthBeat)
William Braithwaite -- a health information privacy and security consultant and chair of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's identity management task force -- noted that, no matter how long or complex passwords are, they're still vulnerable to theft. "The real problem is that passwords are being stolen, not that they're being broken," he said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Face recognition in retail

Walmart’s Use of Sci-fi Tech To Spot Shoplifters Raises Privacy Questions (Fortune)
The only company that acknowledged using the software was Walmart. According to a spokesperson, the retailer tested facial recognition software in stores across several states for several months, but then discontinued the practice earlier this year.

“We were looking for a concrete business rationale … It didn’t have the ROI,” or return on investment, the spokesperson says.
Retailers and biometrics companies have been working together for years trying to figure out how to apply face recognition to the problem of shoplifting. As expected in a retail business, it all comes down to Return on Investment (ROI).

First, here's what modern shoplifting looks like. It isn't just teenagers pocketing lip-sticks and candy bars.

Police bust 'amazing' $15,000-a-day shoplifting ring (USA Today)
HAZEL PARK, Mich. — Police say a 7,600-square-foot warehouse served as the business hub for a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar theft ring that stole items from southeastern Michigan retailers and resold them on the Internet.

Veteran investigators said the shoplifting ring, which swiped as much as $15,000 a day in over-the-counter drugs and other goods from area stores, is the largest they have ever seen.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard called the illegal business "amazing in size and scope" and one that likely operated for years before drug investigators spotted it last month.

The ring operators stored stolen items in the warehouse and sold them on the Internet through eBay, Amazon.com and other sites, investigators said.
Read the whole thing. Criminal organizations like these cause huge losses to retailers, higher prices to consumers, and increased production of dangerous street drugs. More and more, shoplifting is an organized crime problem, and everyone who isn't in on the scam pays the price in one way or another.

Privacy issues associated with facial recognition in businesses open to the public get a lot of well-deserved attention. Clearly, facial recognition technology could be deployed in businesses open to the public in ways that are injurious to a reasonable person's expectation of privacy. Brainstorming those ways, however, takes us pretty far away from the ROI calculation that is motivating retail outlets to seek out technologies that can help them reduce losses due to theft.

The privacy focus for facial recognition in retail spaces should be on what data is collected and what happens to it. In this case that means the photos and personal information that goes along with them. The easy part is that retail establishments have been collecting information on suspected shoplifters for a long time now and they already have policies about what they collect, when they collect it, and how long they retain it. The hard part is that new facial recognition technology makes sharing the information easier, securing it more difficult (and important!), and it requires new training for loss prevention staff about what, exactly, the technology is telling them.

That brings us back to the ROI. Obviously, using facial recognition to prevent a $15,000 organized crime heist helps the ROI calculation. Using facial recognition to interrupt a shopper based upon a "false positive" ID hurts the ROI calculation. So there's at least a little bit of good news here for privacy: The ROI calculation that is so important to the business's decision whether or not to use a facial recognition system does have a built-in way to account for at least some privacy concerns.