Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Biometric IDs to plug leaks in rural job scheme

The plan is to roll out a GPS-enabled system to address the issue of ghost workers and misuse of job cards.

Corruption can make it difficult to get help to the needy. Biometric identity management systems can help ensure that more of a government's social services spending reaches its intended recipients.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How safe are you in the 'identity ecosystem?'

Government Computer News (
The White House’s plan for an “identity ecosystem” seems to be built on good intentions – using trusted digital identities to allow secure online transactions without the need for passwords – but its designers will have to sell the details of the plan if they are to win over our readers.
From the Jerusalem Post
Knesset passes law regulating electronic signatures

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia dead at 92

From the Charleston Gazette (WV)
In 1989, he was elected president pro tempore of the Senate -- a largely ceremonial post -- and named chairman of the Appropriations Committee. It was there that he began funneling federal projects and money to West Virginia in earnest. The first big salvo came in 1991, when FBI officials announced they would build their new fingerprint identification center just outside Clarksburg.
Sen. Byrd has been instrumental in making the I-79 development corridor a hotbed of biometrics-based entrepreneurship. He will be missed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Voice – The Killer App

The value of voice is rarely assessed and certainly, from a telephony perspective, voice is as commoditized as tapwater. However, the ability to use voice as a biometric signature may be coming of age, particularly as we are on the cusp of a whole host of mobile transaction services where authentication of the end user will be paramount.
To date, voice biometric deployments aren't very common. There are, however, many types of transactions in the health care and financial sectors where voice is the only biometric available.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

India Census Update: Biometric process may need more time

Deccan Herald (Bangalore, India)
We've commented on the Indian Census here and here.

The process of collecting biometric data to provide national identity cards for residents of 183 coastal villages in the state took seven months. “Now we are talking about 30,000 villages, its a huge process”, Anil Kumar said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stillwater schools support plan to get data on kids to police in case of abductions

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Our own AmberVision child recovery system made the news this morning. AmberVision uses parent-supplied information, including a child's photo, in order to issue alerts over a wide area as soon as possible. Moreover, police in participating jurisdictions can use their blackberry or Windows CE enabled smart phone for facial recognition matches of missing persons.
"No matter what the circumstances are, every minute seems like hours. Every minute is critical," Stillwater police Chief John Gannaway said. "If you have that pertinent information at your fingertips, it's 100 percent beneficial."
Developed under grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, AmberVision was introduced nationally in August 2009. The AmberVision Foundation is a not-for-profit entity.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Local Hospital Uses Biometric Palm Scans to ID Patients

"PatientSecure is a nonintrusive and very precise method of identifying patients, ensuring they are matched to their own personal medical records and protecting them against medical fraud and identity theft," said Dan Gross, executive vice president of hospital operations for Sharp HealthCare.
The system described in the article seems to serve as an anti-fraud business solution rather than to increase patient safety as in this case, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Visa to drop signatures on credit card purchases by 2013

From Secure Computing (Australia)
Current technology is too "easy" to skim.
In the biometrics arena one often finds oneself in conversation with a biometrics skeptic. That biometrics skeptics exist is only natural and, of course, the burden of persuasion is and should be on those making arguments against the status quo.

Biometrics skeptics should have a proper grasp of the status quo in order to understand what they are defending.

Is signing a piece of paper every time you make a credit card purchase secure?

Is paying with a check secure? Checks display home addresses, signatures, bank account numbers, and frequently, even more information.

Is accessing your home with a funny-shaped piece of metal secure?

Are these things easier or harder to forge than biometrics?

These questions aren't necessarily technological questions and the answers are highly dependent on non-technical factors.

Visa seems to believe that signatures are not secure (see article) for credit card transactions.

You can write a check to a family member, put it in a greeting card and mail it with minimal risk (depending upon the family member).

Using checks for mail-order is probably a bad idea.

I hear stories of towns "where nobody locks their doors." For these folks, the funny-shaped piece of metal is more than adequate. Others might want something a little more robust.

So the question of whether or not such-and-such biometric identity management technology is "secure" makes little sense without the corresponding question: "Compared to what?"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chinese woman slipped through biometric identification checks

A Chinese woman arrested on suspicion of robbery has been found to have entered Japan unlawfully after changing her fingerprints to slip through airport biometric identification checks, investigative sources said Thursday.
Identity management is a lot like an arms race.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A unique ID for the masses

Following up on this post about the Indian census...

UID–GOI’s technology leap
The UIDAI project is expected to touch every adult citizen. A voluminous database and the sheer magnitude of this task requires robust security with no room for vulnerabilities writes Subhankar Kundu.
Indian moon shot indeed. This isn't just the world's largest biometric database, it is by far the world's largest biometric database.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Landlord's plan to use biometric security system raises concern

CBC News
Biometric deployments must be managed from a technological and human perspective. Biometric ID management systems are new and there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there.

Ultimately, these technologies will succeed because they make people's lives better and save them money, but they must be adopted in a manner consistent with established social norms.

The landlord in this case has obviously made some missteps.

The adoption of Biometrics is about where eCommerce was in 1999. To be honest, at that time I was one of the one's saying "Who would put their credit card number into a web site!?" Now I can't imagine going to a shoe store or buying music in a bricks-and-mortar store.

eCommerce grew as the early adopters rarely became victims of fraud and they shared their experiences with others. This is as it should be.

Anyone who attempts to force their customers into a system like this, especially as it relates to access to their homes, should be very careful.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Secure Communities in the news

ICE's Secure Communities program is getting a lot of attention.

SW Idaho to use fingerprints to ID illegal aliens - KHQ - Spokane, WA (6/4/2010)
Arizona immigration debate heats up in D.C. area - WTOP - Washington, DC (6/3/2010)
Secure Communities to Start in SF on Tues - SFGate - San Francisco, CA (6/1/2010)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secure Communities fact sheet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

North American Biometrics Market Witnesses Growth Spurt, Finds Frost & Sullivan
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, North American Biometrics Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $364.4 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $1,588.6 million in 2016.
This is an excellent article summarizing findings from an excellent source for information about the biometrics market: Frost & Sullivan.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mal-intent may be the future of security

The Sacramento Bee
This isn't related to identity management or biometrics but it is related to security.

Biometrics are used to establish a person's identity with a high degree of confidence so that the entity making the identification can accomplish further goals.

Identifying mal-intent does not seek to identify an individual but rather it seeks to predict undesired behavior through the detection of other behaviors.

Interestingly, both types of system represent attempts to predict the future.

One system -- the biometric one -- attempts to predict the future based on the identification of trusted or untrusted individuals. The assumption is that if I know who you are, I can make an educated prediction about what you will do.

The behavioral system, attempts to predict the future based upon what someone is doing now. If I know that people who do what you are doing tend to progress to other sorts of behavior, I can predict that you will also progress to that behavior. Or can I?

That's what the scientists are trying to figure out. Can you automate the judgments made by highly trained human observers of human behavior? Do people like Dr. Lightman from 'Lie to Me' exist? If so, can what they do be automated?