Friday, December 31, 2010

Nigerian police force discovers 20,000 ghost workers in its ranks

Bloated Police Wage Bill (
To think that all of 20,000 non-existent workers have been receiving salaries amounting to N6 billion in just three months is dumbfounding. But it shows the extent of financial hemorrhage that the country is subjected to by criminals operating clandestinely in various government ministries.
Six billion Nigerian Naira = US$39,530,000 in three months.
Multiply by four for an annual estimate of US$158,120,000.
Total U.S. government foreign aid to Nigeria in 2008 = US$200,000,000 (pdf

By tightening up identity management measures in a single government bureaucracy, Nigeria was able to save itself money equivalent to 79% of the sum that the U.S. delivered to Nigeria in aid in 2008.

Besides the financial windfall, there is an increase in citizen confidence in institutions. It's difficult to ascertain which is more valuable.

The great Indian journey to unique identity

Aadhar has the potential to change the life of every Indian (
After a person is allotted a UID number, his/her identity linked to biometrics would be established to uniquely identify the person. The UID number would authenticate the identity claim of a person and would have wide-ranging applications during the person's lifetime. And it would benefit everyone from students to farmers to corporate executives.

The UID will not just help the government track down individuals but will make life far easier for citizens as they will not have to submit so many documents each time they want to avail a new service – private or government.

Since India is a country where food distribution is a major concern, UID can be helpful in bringing transparency in public distribution system, too, and make sure the benefits of government schemes are reaching the people who deserve it.
If it is too difficult to do things the "right" way, rational people will do things a different way.

In many developing countries, this means taking electricity straight from the grid, neglecting to register a business and paying bribes rather than obtaining permits. These actions lead to a reduction in a society's ability to invest in the physical and social infrastructure that delivers first-world living standards.

According to the World Bank, among world economies, India ranks:
134th in "Ease of doing business"
165th in "Ease of starting a business"

Other measures at the link are equally distressing.

In order legitimately to start a business in India, one must negotiate 12 bureaucratic hurdles including the payment of 9 different fees. Many of these steps include the verification of the applicant's identity.

Better identity management techniques, are not by themselves sufficient to improve the daily lives of Indians at all levels of society, but they are necessary for legitimizing citizens and streamlining government.

Beyond the bureaucracy of starting a business, the UID project can bring efficiency and deliver real value to Indian society in the areas of Taxation, Banking, Voting, Welfare transfers, Education and Health care.

Not only does the UID project give government an increased ability to identify citizens, it gives citizens an increased ability to hold their government accountable. Implementation of biometric time and attendance systems within government bureaucracies can reduce or eliminate ghost workers and stem corruption.

These are the opportunities India seeks for itself.

There is much work to do and there will be resistance. Privacy advocates that don't know what it's like to wait in line for hours or be forced to pay a bribe for every mundane interaction with the government or public utility will take to the newspapers. Corrupt officials with armies of ghost workers that are diverting resources meant for the poor into offshore bank accounts will drag their feet. Welfare fraudsters collecting multiple payments under multiple identities will prove remarkably ingenious at milking the system. But India must, at least, try.

Many of the world's poor, not just in India, are depending upon them to get this right.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Secure Communities in the News

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has been implementing the Secure Communities strategy throughout the country for several years now.

The initiative seeks to prioritize the use of resources in order to place the highest priority on removing individuals who are both in the United States illegally and have committed violent crimes.

The system uses fingerprint biometric identity management technology to integrate local law enforcement officials with a central database of individuals who fit the criteria above. The search against the central database is only performed if the individual is arrested again.

As the system is being implemented across the U.S., local reaction varies dramatically as a survey of headlines shows.

UPDATE: These links are no longer useful
Bing News Searches:
"Secure Communities" Kansas

"Secure Communities" Maryland
"Secure Communities" Massachusetts

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Ten Threats to Your Privacy

Privacy Alert: 10 Biggest Threats of 2010 (
It won't surprise regular readers that biometric technologies are absent from the list.

Other familiar names aren't so fortunate.

Biometrics and Development

Fingerprint Haiti Now: Biometrics in Haiti, One Year Later (Center for Global Development)
Cash transfer programs have become commonplace in post-disaster recovery for rebuilding and re-capitalizing households and firms. Such programs provide direct aid without the bureaucratic delays and transparency concerns of other methods. They also create demand to jump-start the economy and put the power of recovery in the hands of the people– giving them the resources to pull themselves out of poverty and towards reconstruction and recovery. Leakage is always a major concern; donors need to ensure individuals only collect once and that funds are distributed as intended. A secure identity system could be used to prevent multiple payments, “ghost” recipients, and other forms of leakage.
It is extremely heartening to see an organization as respected as the Center for Global Development recognize the contributions identity management technology can make toward building a more just, prosperous and equitable society.

Other posts dealing with biometrics, fraud and social safety nets can be read here.

Scotland: Angus education chief claims unanimous support for pupil fingerprint system

Angus Council's education convener has defended a biometric identity system used for school meals, claiming the local authority has never received a complaint about it (
"Angus is the only authority in Scotland which is increasing uptake of school meals and, while not all of it is down to the biometric system, we do know that there is a stigma attached to receiving free school meals. But the possibility of bullying is removed here because no one knows who receives free school meals apart from the office staff who credit their accounts.
Fingerprint systems that store only an algorithm-generated template rather than an image of a fingerprint pose little-or-no threat to a person's biometric privacy.

On the positive side: for the student, fingerprint biometrics offer increased privacy and safety; the school achieves higher data integrity and increased operational efficiency. These benefits are not simply confined to the schools themselves. All taxpayers have a stake in the efficient use of educational resources.

If recent press is taken as an accurate reflection of the concerns of so-called privacy advocates, they fixate on the security of students' biometric data while unconcerned with the security of the academic, behavioral and medical records kept by schools that present a much more acute privacy risk.

It is incumbent upon adults to be mindful of the privacy implications of all the decisions they make for children. Implementation of template-only fingerprint identification systems can indicate fulfillment, rather than neglect of that duty.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scotland: Use of fingerprint ID in schools triggers row

Scottish Politics, Biometrics & Schools (

"Public bodies have shown in the past that they are not always to be trusted with sensitive personal data. If the finger - or palm prints - of children as young as four years old got into the wrong hands, it could have significant consequences. Do we really want this sort of intrusive information taken from young children?"
"Of course, if we can use new technology to improve public services and reduce costs then we should be looking to do so. However, as with keeping any personal, information appropriate safeguards must be in place."
Other posts on biometrics and schools may be read here.

International Air Transport Association insists on updated security measures

Under an IATA plan, passengers would be categorised into one of three risk groups, and then screened accordingly. (

Friday, December 24, 2010

NYC payroll chief resigns after fraud probe

The Associated Press
NEW YORK - (AP) — The director of New York City's payroll department has resigned a week after prosecutors charged four consultants in a $80 million fraud scheme.
Earlier post on the topic here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nine Technologies That Will Change Your Future

What will be the tech breakthroughs of the next decade? (Kiplinger via Yahoo Finaince)
Banks are increasingly turning to biometric authentication for mobile and online clients. Fingerprint, voice and face recognition systems will soon become commonplace as banks seek to heighten security for the rising tide of on-the-go transactions.

Imagine a front desk without people

For hotels, it cuts costs (Chicago Tribune)
Consider this: You go to the front desk to check in, your image is captured on computer, you're given your room number but no key card. You get to your room and a facial-recognition reader opens the door for you. Or maybe you just check in at a lobby kiosk and bypass the front desk altogether. Or you use your credit card to enter your room.
Biometrics figure to be the linchpin in a host of revolutionary and cost saving technologies and processes.

The return on investment (ROI) is significant.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UK: ID Cards Scrapped by Coalition Government

ID cards consigned to history by Coalition Government's first Home Office Bill (
All ID cards will be cancelled within one month of Royal Assent and the National Identity Register, the database which contains the biographic information and biometric fingerprint data of card holders, will be physically destroyed within two months.
This isn't a surprise, we drew attention to the decision back in May.
The U.K.'s new coalition government plans to cancel the national ID card program, calling it part of a "substantial erosion of civil liberties" that took place under the former Labour government.
But what would a national ID system that didn't present a "substantial erosion of civil liberties" look like?

From this post of May 21:
Bryan Glick at understands that the rejection of a statist, top-down approach does not mean that identity management systems are unnecessary or that all proposed systems will be rejected by a free public.

Glick then draws attention to a 2008 report by Sir James Crosby, then at HM Treasury, entitled Challenges and Opportunities in Identity Assurance (.pdf). The 47-page report contains a breadth of information that makes it a great introduction for how to begin thinking about the challenges associated with large-scale biometric identity management deployments. It is very accessible and deserves to be read widely.

Biometric time clocks gaining popularity

Chattanooga Times Free Press
Biometric time clocks aren't always popular with workers, some employees say, but the devices are winning approval from Chattanooga-area companies, according to a business that sells the fingerprint-activated devices.

High-profile customers include Rock City, the Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga Convention Center and Creative Discovery Museum, which all have bought into International Equipment Co.'s biometric vision as the Chattanooga-based company marks its 50th anniversary.

Monday, December 20, 2010

High-tech move to stamp out food card fraud

Trinidad Express
In an effort to stamp out fraud and corruption in the delivery of social services grants, Government will be moving next year to implement biometric technology starting with the food card programme and disability grants.
People are willing to support higher social spending when they are confident that the money isn't being stolen.

Ingenico shares hit after Safran blocks foreign bid

French industry minister Eric Besson said the state was talking with Safran, adding Ingenico was a "strategic" business (Reuters)
Safran (SAF.PA), 30 percent owned by France and which holds 22.5 percent of Ingenico, likely blocked the 1.44 billion euro ($1.9 billion) offer as a result of government pressure to prevent the company passing into foreign hands, analysts said.
Ingenico makes some fingerprint enabled point of sale hardware.

Safran is in the process of finalizing its purchase of much of L-1.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big-Time fraud in NYC time-and-attendance initiative

CityTime Consultants Charged With Stealing $80 Million (Gothamist)
Four consultants hired to run quality assurance have been accused of taking $80 million in "an elaborate fraud and kickback scheme" that involved faked time sheets (ha!) and a series of shell companies. According to the suit the suspected ringleader even got his mom and his wife in on the scheme!
Fraud is fraud and it could occur with any government contract entrusted to corrupt individuals. As noted by the quoted section above, the fact that faked time sheets were used to steal from a biometric time and attendance system contract is at the least ironic.

NYC payroll chief resigns after fraud probe

Jobs at 3M threatened as UK passport contract switches to De La Rue

More than 100 production staff are facing redundancy (
All of the staff have been subject to TUPE negotiations as a result of the Identity and Passport Services’ decision to award the 10-year contract to print the next generation of biometric passports to De La Rue rather than incumbent 3M.
Countries often don't produce their own currency and passports -- they hire private firms to do it -- and for obvious reasons, countries don't like to talk about it.

The UK has decided to award its passport manufacturing contract to the home grown, though troubled, De La Rue rather than American firm 3M.

It's worth noting that the British passport is biometrically enabled (face recognition) and 3M recently completed its acquisition of biometrics firm Cogent, which had an application for face recognition for border control.

Facial recognition biometrics will come of age in 2011

Facial recognition technology promises easy access for employees and a fast return on investment for employers (
Facial imaging biometrics has refined the technology in recent years with 3D imaging and infra-red cameras overcoming early flaws such as strong sunlight or darkness making a comparison difficult. It is now possible to make a positive identification under any lighting conditions and while the subject is moving towards the camera.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

L-1 sale update

Stockholders to vote on merger on February 3, 2011 (
Under the terms of the agreement entered into on September 19, 2010, Safran has agreed to acquire L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc. following the sale of L-1's intelligence services businesses to BAE Systems Information Solutions Inc.
It looks like there are still three moving parts. The sale the intelligence services to BAE is expected in the next few days. The vote to sell the rest to Safran is scheduled for February.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What a mess: UK, EU, Children and Biometrics

UK gets thumbs down over school fingerprinting (Sydney Morning Herald - Australia)
BRUSSELS: The European Commission has demanded that Britain justify the widespread and routine fingerprinting of children in schools.

It said it had "significant concerns" that the policy breaks European Union privacy laws.
Here's an article that perfectly illustrates what happens when competing bureaucracies, biased or power-maximizing bureaucrats, identity management and (possibly) poor public communication collide. In fact, one seldom encounters such a archetypal example of what is an increasingly infrequent, though once common, treatment of biometrics in the news.

-The competing bureaucracies: The European Union vs. UK Schools
-The biased or power-maximizing bureaucrat: Hank Roberts "A member of the executive of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers"
-Identity Management: Fingerprint biometrics in schools
-Potentially poor public communicator: UK Schools

First, some background.

As outlined here, there are many reasons schools would like to and in fact should be encouraged to tighten up their identity management functions and biometrics can help while increasing privacy and lowering costs.
Schools spend a lot of resources in their Identity Management function: calling roll, assigning grades, managing a medical services office (school nurse), collecting health information on student athletes (physical exams), etc.

We all have an interest in how efficiently an industry that is overwhelmingly funded by tax revenues manages its resources. Schools should therefore be encouraged to adopt more effective means to accomplish the demands society places upon them and they should be commended for innovation within their industry.
To the list above should be added the library's and school lunch functions.

Secondly, not all fingerprint identity management systems are the same.

Some implementations store an image of the fingerprint and some store only the template created by the biometric algorithm. All fingerprint access control systems use a template generated from a person's fingerprint. It is not possible to "reverse engineer" a template into a complete image of the fingerprint that created it. In this limited use case it cannot fairly be said that people are fingerprinted.

Other fingerprint access control systems do store an image of the fingerprint as well as the template generated from it. In this use case, it is accurate to say that fingerprints are on file.

Thankfully, most decision makers that examine the implementation of fingerprint ID management systems in their schools become informed of the difference and since they are, for the most part, normal human beings that care about the welfare of the children under their supervision, they opt for the type of system that does not store fingerprints.

Back to the linked article.

The tension between the EU bureaucracy and institutions confined within member states is obvious and has nothing to do with biometrics, per se.

Biased and uninformed bureaucrats are occasionally addressed here and Mr. Roberts confirms his bias and willingness to paint with an overly broad brush with the following quote:
"I believe the fingerprinting of children is a totally unnecessary infringement of civil liberties," he said. "The legal situation must be looked at. This is being done surreptitiously without parents being told."
Anyone who terms the implementation of a fingerprint biometric system that stores only the template created by the biometric algorithm "fingerprinting" is either confused or or lacks respect for their audience.

"Fingerprinting" conjures up images of prison movies, the "rolled ten" and the loss of personal freedom. The fingerprinting process in the usage above is not undertaken in order to further the interests of the person providing the fingerprints. It is typically undertaken to help protect society from the person behind the fingers and carries with it a social stigma. Biometric alarmists intentionally and wrongly bring all of "fingerprinting's" social baggage and dump it onto fingerprint identity management systems. This approach is wrong-headed and emotionally charged.

One of our mottoes is relevant here: Biometrics, it's about people. Most biometric identity management deployments don't founder on technical challenges, but on social challenges. Foremost among the social challenges is communication. Biometric identity management techniques can save money and enhance privacy in schools (by, for instance, obscuring who receives a need-based subsidized meal) but they can't build consensus among public service providers and stake holders. People have to do that. Adopters of biometric identity management solutions have gotten much better at educating themselves about the technology and explaining the reasons behind their decisions.

It is exceedingly rare that these systems are implemented "surreptitiously without parents being told."

The number of Mr. Roberts's in the world seems either to be declining or they are finding fewer reporters seeking their comment. Reasoned communication is winning the day. This is good for schools, students, taxpayers and the biometrics industry. I'll leave it to others to judge whether or not it's good for unelected bureaucrats or self-appointed advocates.

Library, Pornography, Law Enforcement & Identity Management

The Naperville Public Library: Privacy ( - Chicago)
Naperville Police Captain Ray McGury said he felt the law was intended to prevent authorities from spying on citizens [the practice of a police state], not to prevent library staff from assisting police fight crimes committed in libraries. “I asked them, ‘If a child is snatched from this library do I have to get a search warrant to get information on who was here?’ and they said, ‘Based on the state law, yes.’ God forbid that happens.”
This article, exhibiting excellent reporting by Sean O'Connor, presents a great case study of the interactions of citizens, and two types of public servant (police and librarians) within the context of identity management.

The main point of tension is between the library's policy and the police officer's duty. In this case, the identity management process is in some sense a witness to a crime.

Biometrics were never adopted in the Naperville libraries but a healthy debate seems to have taken place surrounding their proposed use.

Those interested in topics such as Society and the Individual, Privacy vs. Anonymity, and Identity Management should find the linked article highly worth reading in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Miami Herald: Worst performing gadget of the year is Biometric Wallet

The year’s most memorable gadgets (Miami Herald)
The TungstenW biometric wallet. Made of carbon fiber, this hard case wallet only opens with the owner’s fingerprint scan ... unless you drop it, in which case it easily pops right open and breaks. For $600, this theft-prevention wallet is a dud. All the thief needs to do is give it a whack against a table or floor.
I think they're talking about this one. (Tiger Direct)

Mozambique: Biometric Personal Record Card Now in Use

Over thirty Mozambicans now possess a Biometric Personal Record Card (
Maputo — Over thirty Mozambicans now possess a Biometric Personal Record Card, issued at birth with an identification number that they will keep for their entire lives.

The authorities regard this as an important step in implementing the "electronic government" strategy.
As we said yesterday, it's dificult to help citizens in developing countries if no one knows who they are.

Monday, December 13, 2010

UID effects: India sees a surge in bank accounts

Some 80% of people enrolling for biometric IDs want bank accounts (Economic Times, India)
“If we are able to provide every such person with a bank account, financial access will explode in India,” Mr Nilekani said. Considering the pace of enrolments for Aadhaar, there was a very real possibility that the number of bank accounts issued in the next four years will exceed the number of accounts banks have issued since India's independence, he felt.
It's been a while since we checked in with India's UID project. Providing the world's poor with a verifiable identity is key to helping them through both government and market based initiatives.

Prison Using Eye Scanning On Inmates

Technology Given To R.I. Jail At No Cost (WCVB TV Boston)
The Department of Corrections said plans were under way last summer for the technology. The process was sped up after an inmate escaped by posing as another inmate who was up for parole. He was later captured in New York.
This really happens.

Iris biometrics are highly suited to this particular application because even though each transaction is slower, they are more difficult to fake than fingerprint biometrics.

The trade-off in speed isn't really a deal-breaker in a prison environment.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Canada-U. S. security perimeter has been years in the making

The two countries reportedly will establish a Beyond the Border Working Group (Vancouver Sun)
Reports have estimated the extra security has added costs for Canadian manufacturers equivalent to two to three per cent of total trade. It also resulted in an eight-per-cent negative impact on the export of services and an almost 13-per-cent negative impact on the import of travel services.
This seems to be getting a lot more attention in Canada than in the U.S.

Facial Recognition: A Valuable Tool For Law Enforcement

Facial recognition can be a valuable identification tool when fingerprint identification is unavailable or impracticable (
Just like automated fingerprint identification, facial recognition can provide law enforcement agencies with a valuable tool for multiple public safety applications. Whie fingerprints assure higher rates of accuracy than face recognition can, facial recognition provides benefits when fingerprint data does not exist, is not easily shared between agencies, or when multiple independent verification methods are desired. Additional applications include identity verification in the field and intelligence gathering, as well as crime prevention and investigation.
The linked article, written by Eric Hess of MorphoTrak, provides an overview of facial recognition for a law enforcement audience.

New Face-Rec audit for New York Driver's Licenses

Transit Sam (Downtown Express, NYC)
Dear Transit Sam,
My daughter’s driver’s license is coming up for renewal soon. I understand that a new face photo recognition system is now in place. My concern, in addition to privacy and identity theft issues, is where is this information going to be sent or stored or how will the information be used? Do you have any idea who is doing this for DMV?
Contained in the answer to the reader's question is a description of a really cool auditing and verification process that should be adopted everywhere.

Please, read the whole thing; it's short but sweet.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oasis Systems sold, taps Colatosti (Viisage) for top roles

Oasis Systems sold, taps Colatosti for top roles (
Colatosti is currently founder, president and CEO of biometric and physical security management firm American Security Ventures, he is perhaps best known as the former president and CEO of Viisage Technology Inc.

3M Completes Acquisition of Cogent Inc.

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec 01, 2010 (
3M announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Cogent Inc., pursuant to a merger agreement that was approved and adopted by Cogent's stockholders at a special meeting held on Dec. 1, 2010. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Cogent's stockholders are entitled to receive $10.50 per share in cash.
I must have missed this while traveling. Those searching for a stock quote for COGT won't find one.

Australian Visa applications to include biometric data

Australia will attempt to stamp out fraudulent visa applications through the use of biometric data for onshore application (
"Around the world identity fraud and fraudulent visa applications are on the rise," he said yesterday. "We need to make sure that Australia's toolbox is world's best practice for dealing with this."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Physical access control more popular than logical access control

Majority of organisations using biometrics are leaving logical IT access protection at the door (
According to new research from Siemens IT Solutions and Services, only 18% of organisations with biometric measures currently in place are using them for logical access control – vital to securing IT equipment and data files.

Despite acknowledging the need for greater IT security in a climate of cyber crime and terrorism, biometrics professionals are opting for physical access control to safeguard rooms or buildings. This presents IT security threats to sensitive data within organisations and potential mobile IT security weaknesses.
The huge uptick in the popularity of time-and-attendance access control systems, with their clean and easy calculations of ROI (return on investment) may account for some of this discrepancy.

Biometric ID management techniques do yield significant ROI for logical access control -- passwords don't reset themselves and the people you call get paid -- but it's more difficult to compute and is likely to make itself apparent over the longer term.

Nevada DMV looks at ears, eyes, mouths as well as faces

It's no easy feat to identify a specific Bimbo amid the bevy of bimbos in Las Vegas (Las Vegas Review Journal)
Actually, authorities are unsure whether they have in custody Frank Anthony Bimbo, the name listed on the expired identification card, or whether his documents were fraudulent and he actually is one of 10 other people he claimed to be during DMV visits over the past 13 years.

"Sometimes we can't tell which are the real records, and that's the case this time," DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs said. "At this point, he's muddied the waters with so many IDs, we don't know who he is."
This article combines insight into the nuts and bolts of the identity management challenges of local law enforcement, a discussion of new biometric ID management modalities and a fair dose of humor deriving from the subject's real or assumed name.

You won't regret checking this one out.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Process for Mexicans applying for US Visas to become easier

Because the collection of biometric information will take place at the ASC, applicants who are required to visit both the ASC and the consular section should spend less time at the consular section than they have had to in the past.
It is my understanding that the biometric enrollment part of the application process was simply bolted onto the older process and required a separate fee.

Many on both sides of the border hope the attempt to streamline the process is successful.

Worldwide biometric revenue expected to treble to $14bn by 2015

Governments and institutions alike are increasingly turning to technology ( [UAE])
"The growth in the biometric security market is remarkable," said Ahmed Pauwels, Chief Executive Officer of Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH, organisers of the Middle East's premier safety and security trade fair and conference, Intersec. "Industry figures estimate that worldwide revenues from the biometric market will treble to $14bn (Dhs51.4bn) by 2015," he added.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Biometrics hits the workplace

Access control at enterprise level has changed dramatically (
Coetzee also points out that for most companies, payroll is the single largest expense, so this is where the greatest protection is required against threats of fraud, corruption and theft.
As far as biometrics are concerned, 2010 has been the year of access control for time-and-attendance. This thoughtful article provides a glimpse into how enterprising firms can harness the tools at hand to capture information about their business that can provide a bottom-line competitive advantage.

This article also recalls some of the issues discussed in this post.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kiosks let travelers skip long passport control lines

Program allows skipping long passport control lines (Houston Chronicle)
Approved members can bypass long immigration and customs lines, scan their own passports at airport kiosks and continue on their way in less than a minute.
We did an unscientific test of this system yesterday.

Returning from a foreign country using the Atlanta airport, Barry, having previously enrolled in the Global Entry system used the kiosk while I used the standard human based passport check.

Lines for both systems were very short.

As it was his first live interaction with the system, it took Barry more than a minute to get through the process. Even with very short lines (perhaps 5 people in front of me), it took me several minutes longer to present my passport and gain entry into the United States.

There were perhaps ten humans checking U.S. passports. There were approximately 5 machines serving Global Entry members.

Lines for the human passport check are usually much longer. There were a limited number of kiosks.

Scaling up the number of kiosks is easier than scaling up the number of human agents in terms of both implementation time (training vs. installation) and infrastructure adjustments (constructing a cubicle vs. installing an ATM-like machine).