Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Medical ID Theft and Biometrics

Hospital starts scanning vein patterns to bring up medical records (Yahoo News)
According to a study created by the Ponemon Institute in 2010, over 1.4 million adults were victims of identity theft in 2009. Medical identity theft typically includes gaining access to pharmaceuticals or getting fraudulent insurance payouts.
Seldom does a day go by that I don't learn about some social ill caused by hacking society's ID systems or the ways biometrics are being applied in order to make it harder.

Biometrics 2011 and Planet Biometrics Form Alliance

Press Release at the link.
Biometrics 2011

The Planet Biometrics folks do a great job providing links to news sources and bring insightful original content on biometrics.

One example is this piece by Emilio Mordini that touches on a lot of the topics we discuss here in a truly engaging style.

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario: It's possible to have both facial recognition and privacy

Not only is it possible to have facial recognition and privacy, it’s now a reality (The Globe and Mail)
Privacy is all about freedom of choice and personal control. We need to realize that the same technology that serves to threaten privacy may also be enlisted to its protection. This entails the use of Privacy by Design – embedding privacy directly into technologies and business practices, resulting in privacy and functionality.
It is very refreshing to see a Canadian Privacy Commissioner make a statement like this in such a public way.

That makes three links to Globe and Mail articles on biometrics in the last two days and there are other biometrics articles there that I haven't linked. If you like what they have to say on the subject you can find more here.

Facebook facial-recognition feature won't be available to Canadians

Canada: Facebook users face face rec fences (The Globe and Mail)

It just occurred to me that we are talking about facebook here.

Be sure to check out the comments for some insights into Canadians' opinions on the matter and famous sense of humor (or is it humour?).

Resource Guide for Indians re UID

A just-the-facts resource guide followed by some "man on the street" views on India's UID project:
Everything you want to know about your Aadhaar number (Mid Day)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Biometrics, object recognition and search

One of the limitations of the internet search we all know and love is that it is bound to text. If you have a picture of something, you can't find out what it is with a search engine. If you've recorded a bird's song, there's no way to get that into the search field to identify the species of bird that created it.

Google obviously recognizes this limitation of its technology and the obvious benefits of extending its capabilities.

Two main types of technology have been developed to help get real-world (non-text) inputs into a form that computers are good at using: Optical Character Recognition and Biometrics.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) involves taking an image of text and converting it to textual data. Banks use OCR to scan the numbers at the bottom of checks, document scanners use it to make better use of scanned documents, and more recently, it has been used with vehicle license plates in law enforcement. OCR was the logical first step along the path of using pictures as computer inputs because text is fairly easy to break into its constituent parts (characters) and there simply aren't that many different characters to identify. So the tech is pretty easy and the ROI (Return on Investment) of using computers to transcribe text instead of humans is very straightforward.

Biometrics are the second generation of automatic object recognition. Biometrics are far more complicated than OCR but far less complicated than a theoretical no-holds-barred image search engine. With biometrics the tech is more difficult but the ROI of using computers to help manage identity can be very substantial indeed.

Techniques developed for biometric identity management are also being applied to recognition tasks that do not deal with human identity management. Leafsnap is an app that uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. StripeSpotter is a free open-source system with an algorithm that can identify animals in the wild and build biometric databases using photos of the different animals. Here, the tech developed for high ROI applications is being applied to new, though lower value challenges.

Which brings us to Google's acquisition of PittPatt, a Pittsburgh pattern recognition company.

Google Buys PittPatt Facial Recognition Tech (
In late March, Google denied plans for a dedicated facial-recognition app, although the company has said it could do so as far back as the launch of Google Goggles, which used object recognition to identify real-world objects.
With this acquisition, I suspect Google doesn't so much have facial recognition for identity search as they have object recognition in mind. First, Google has been wary of face recognition in public search. Whether this is due to the technical challenges of an unbound face rec application or a respect for the privacy of their users, I'll leave it to the reader to judge. It is also a much different challenge to return the result "This is a human face" than it is to say "This is a human face and that face belongs to Guy Herbert." In most object search the first type of result will be the most desirable anyway. If you submit a photo of an insect to a search, you aren't asking about the insect's individual identity, you probably just want to know what type of insect it is.

I'll bet Google's more interested in the object recognition capabilities of PittPatt than they are in facial recognition.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Malaysia Considers Biometrics in Elections

Commission to get funds for biometric system (The Star)
EC introduces biometric system to overcome phantom voters issue (The Star)

It is a common misconception that biometric voting is the same as or is necessarily combined with electronic voting. This is not the case and there are many good reasons to favor a computer-based identity management structure with a paper-based voting mechanism.

Facial Recognition in the News

Discounting the author's obvious biases, there is some good information in the article.

Facial-recognition technology needs limits, privacy advocates warn
(Globe and Mail - Canada)
Facial-recognition technology has long been the domain of security agencies, which have used it to verify official documents, help secure borders and assist in policing duties. And while this field is only growing, the explosion of ever-faster computers, ever-cheaper cameras and growing network capacity has seen the technology making inroads into the consumer world as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rigorous ID management is necessary in controlling ghost workers

Nigeria: Eliminating 'Ghosts' From the Civil Service (
While Nigeria is caught in a seemingly endless battle against unemployment, several Nigerian youths possessing distinctive skills and potentials, which could make positive difference in the public service, are wasting away without jobs. This becomes more disheartening as 43,000 fake names, commonly referred to as ghost workers, who have been on the government's payroll for many years were discovered in the federal civil service ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs) and parastatals.
Read the whole thing to get a flavor of the social corrosion caused by the institutional corruption of poor identity management regimes.

Ordinary Nigerians are looking to biometrics for ways to curtail the abuses that cause so much human misery around the world.

Earlier post on this topic: Biometrics reveal a staggering level of fraud in Nigeria.

Large Pizza Hut Franchisee goes in for biometrics

First Popeye's now Pizza Hut.

Fingerprint readers improve accountability for Pizza Hut franchisee (
Rage, Inc. with 118 Pizza Hut locations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia is deploying fingerprint biometrics to improve employee accountability, reduce unauthorized discounts and decreased payroll fraud.

DigitalPersona, supplier of both systems, seems to be making quite a lot of headway with fingerprint biometrics in the franchised restaurant industry.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Report: Face Rec Fastest-growing Biometric Modality

Global Facial Recognition Market to Witness Double Digit Growth (RNCOS Industry Research Solutions Press Release)
...Facial Recognition Technology has emerged as the fastest growing technology among the biometric technologies accepted worldwide and will continue to follow the same trend in future also by growing at a CAGR of around 31% during 2011-2013.

In other face-rec news:
New facial scanners at Heathrow to check the identity of millions (London Evening Standard)


RNCOS projects growth of biometric market at a CAGR of around 21% during 2012-2014.

Readers who have reached this post through CV Dazzle may also find our post on Hyping Facial Recognition interesting. It describes the steps involved and the technical challenges associated with facial recognition surveillance deployments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time-and-Attendance, ROI: The value of seconds

It Takes a Few Seconds to Lose Billions – the Numbers Tell the Story (M2SYS)
Breaking down the numbers can provide a closer look at how much a few seconds or a few minutes can add up over the long term, as reported in our White paper:

“Employees taking lunch breaks just 15 minutes past their allotted time can equate to about an extra day of vacation per month, every month.”

“If every employee in a 100 employee organization took a 15 minute extended lunch each day, that would equal 1,200 free vacation days per year.”
Read the whole thing.
Carl from Allevate, a UK biometrics company takes a contrary view in a thoughtful comment to the M2SYS post.

There is incredible diversity in both the types of organizations in the global economy and the range of functions performed within those organizations. There are certainly times and places where each attitude is most appropriate to the efficient operation of the organization.

L-1 Identity Solutions and Safran Receive CIFUS Approval for Merger

Notification paves the way for merger finalization (findBIOMETRICS)
L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc., a supplier of identity solutions and services, and Safran today announced that in connection with the pending acquisition of L-1 by Safran, the parties have reached a final agreement on the terms of a definitive mitigation agreement with the United States government. L-1 and Safran were notified by CFIUS on July 19, 2011 that the investigation of the merger transaction is complete and that there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the transaction. With CFIUS approval for the merger, and having satisfied all other conditions required prior to closing, the parties intend to complete the merger transaction within the next five business days.

FBI Next-Generation Identification initiative and Interoperability

Upgraded FBI biometric database to identify dangerous undocumented immigrants (
A July 6 FBI internal fact sheet [.pdf] that an immigrants rights coalition obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says, "IDENT/IAFIS interoperability under Secure Communities is part of a larger FBI/[Criminal Justice Information Services] Next-Generation Identification initiative," adding that "[Secure Communities] is the first opportunity for [law enforcement agencies] to fully and accurately identify suspects in their custody and gives them a head start on NGI."
Interoperability happens (or doesn't happen) at both the technical and the organizational level. The project described in the article requires high degree of interoperability from a whole lot of technical and organizational units.

The .pdf linked within the quote contains an internal FBI presentation to assist agents in fostering organizational interoperability between the FBI and local law enforcement organizations.

The technology is improving and the country's premiere law enforcement agency is adapting and applying the tech to the challenges it is charged with meeting.

The people side is the hard part.

Refugees in U.S. rechecked for terrorism links

Insurgents and potential terrorists may have entered the country (LA Times)
The individuals may have only tenuous links to known or suspected terrorists. The names were identified when authorities rechecked phone numbers, email addresses, fingerprints, iris scans and other data in immigration files of Iraqis given asylum since the war began in 2003.

They checked the data against military, law enforcement and intelligence databases that were not available or were not utilized during the initial screening process, or were not searched using sufficient Arabic spelling and name variations.

It addition to the Iraqis, authorities have rescreened a smaller number of refugees from Yemen, Somalia and other countries where terrorist groups are active.
There are a few interesting angles to this story from an ID management point of view but I want to draw specific attention to the benefits to be gained by integrating ID management systems. Avoidable mistakes were made because the decision maker didn't have access to data the organization possessed that was critical to an adequate decision-making process. All bad decisions aren't permanent, though.

It is possible to correct (some) mistakes and gain efficiency through the integration of existing biometric systems. That's what we do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Malaysia Foreign Worker Registration Gains Steam

7,000 workers registered in first three days (The Star)
Response from foreign workers to the biometric registration exercise has picked up with more than 7,000 legal foreign workers nationwide registered since the programme was launched three days ago.
Earlier posts here.

World Bank urges India to maximize Return on Investment

Smart cards to address social protection initiatives mooted (Deccan Herald)
Observing that smart card system could facilitate individual identification and remote transaction processing/storage, the global lender says, these could be redeemable also at approved private traders and/or fair price shops.

Stating that despite recent economic progress, India is not getting the “bang for the rupee” that expenditure warrants, with needs of population groups partially addressed, it said, while India spends significant resources on its safety net programmes, these safety nets have remained primarily “nets” rathar than “ropes” or “ladders” promoting sustained movement out of poverty.

Nigeria Uses Biometrics to Detect Dead Pensioners

The article doesn't come right out and say but this is all about clearing the pension system of non-living claimants.

CIPPO to Provide More Biometric Machines (

A pesky thing about ghost workers is that they can live forever.

Nigeria is trying to apply a proof of life test to its pensioner rolls requiring each person to verify their continued existence via biometrics on a quarterly basis.

Press Release: SecuGen Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Suprema

SecuGen Corporation Files Lawsuit Against Suprema for Patent Infringement (News Blaze)
The complaint is related to U.S. Patent No. 6,324,020 issued in 2001 and owned by SecuGen, which covers invaluable technology for acquiring high quality fingerprint images that are crucial to the performance and accuracy of optical fingerprint sensors in biometric security applications.

Suprema's products accused of infringing SecuGen's patent cover a vast range of optical fingerprint biometric Access Control, Time Attendance, Embedded Module, and PC Solution products, which include but are not limited to: BioEntry Plus, BioLite Net, BioLite Solo, BioMini, BioMini Plus, BioStation, BioStation T2, D-Station, SFM 2020-OP, SFM3020-OP, SFM3030-OD, SFM3040-OC, SFM3520-OP, SFM3530-OD, SFM4020-OP, SFU300, and SFU500.

One Card to Rule Them All

Philippines: Ambitious project to combine ID, Pensions and banking in one card.
SSS to start issuing electronic IDs to members by end of July (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
The ID is multipurpose because, according to De Quiros, it will eventually serve the purpose of an ATM card that members may use to withdraw benefits from automated teller machines. The card will be embedded with a chip and magnetic stripe.

Moreover, the card may also be used as identification in making transactions with the Government Service Insurance System, Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-IBIG), and Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A real attempt to supplant passwords as a human ID technology

As far as its use as a tool for humans to identify themselves to networks, the password is a technology that no longer serves its original purpose.

Mozilla is trying to do something about it.

Mozilla Proposes to Sign-in Only with the Email Address, No User ID or Password Required (InfoQ)
Mozilla wants to simplify the authentication process when connecting to websites by using just an email address without the need to enter an ID or a password. The new authentication solution is called BrowserID. An email address is verified only once in the beginning by the email provider or an authentication authority through the mechanism of their choice – hardware, biometric, encrypted keys, or, for example, by sending an email to the user’s inbox, the user clicks on a link, and the user is thus authenticated as the owner of the respective email address.
If you're of a technical bent, read the whole thing because there's more to it than just the quote above would indicate.

If, however, Mozilla doesn't also offer an email service that does not rely on a password for user authentication, there's still a problem as the proposed solution simply makes the email account password (or the not-so-awesome password reset question and answer regime) the magic key to everything. This may or may not be an improvement on the status quo. I guess it's up to the individual to say.

The need would still exist for a new kind of product, an "identity bank" to provide the half of the equation Mozilla envisions email services supplying. In the system Mozilla envisions, some enterprising sort should offer a paid email service that harnesses biometrics and human customer support in user verification. Combined with Mozilla's proposal, that might actually work.

Humans and Passwords to divorce, site Irreconcilable Differences
It's still too early to write that headline but perhaps Mozilla has brought that inevitable day a little closer.

Usefulness of Biometrics in Law Enforcement: Who is the Customer?

Ease of use to advance biometrics adoption (ZDNet Asia)
Speaking Friday at the inaugural Singapore meeting organized by the Biometrics Institute, David Chadwick, Unisys' director for law enforcement and public safety in the Asia-Pacific region, noted that police forces around the world were the first to adopt biometrics such as finger-printing but many are lagging in new technology adoption.
The culture of law enforcement organizations varies widely around the world and even within individual countries. Some organizations are tech-savvy early adopters; some aren't. That's the "people" side.

On the tech side, I don't think "the absence of an 'open Web system'" is what is preventing faster law enforcement adoption of biometric ID management solutions. In my experience, law enforcement organizations are extremely wary of open web systems and for very good reasons.

While I disagree with Mr. Chadwick on that minor point, I think he's on to something with his poor usability critique.

The reason that the usability is poor is because the providers of the systems currently used in law enforcement don't really see the street cop as the customer. They go in at a much higher level and sell what are essentially information-gathering systems most useful to a centralized, specialized intelligence bureau.

Think old-school fingerprints. Street cops never did do fingerprint analysis, a bunch of highly-specialized green eye-shade types in West Virginia did that and sent reports back to the cop. Biometric systems currently deployed in law enforcement are a lot like a faster, more state-level version of the old (paper) national fingerprint system.

The companies that have been successful at selling these types of systems to law enforcement haven't had the reason or inclination to begin to view the street cop as a customer and to actually address their problems.

SecurLinx and some others are doing just that, though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Drones + Biometrics: Weapons That Conquer Globalization's Frontiers

Conquering Globalization's Frontiers (
Trust me, along with drones, these frontier-settling technologies will most definitely infiltrate our society in coming years, just like the military's Internet and GPS did before.
Thomas P. M. Barnett offers a kindred point of view on the role biometrics are playing in the continuing march of globalization and global development.

He also touches upon the privacy vs. anonymity topic we discussed here.

The linked piece is short, densely packed with useful insights, and well worth the time of a thorough read.

System Never Forgets a Face

Article by Thom Shanker, - Florida

Here's another great biometrics article that shares all the traits of the article posted today: historical context, utility, broader applicability, and an honest assessment of the issues surrounding the technology and the role of the democratic political process. There are also some good quotes from the high-ranking military brass that have the most experience with large-scale biometric deployments.

One thing made it easier. Just a month before the April jailbreak, Afghan officials, using technology provided by the United States, recorded eye scans, fingerprints and facial images of each militant and criminal detainee in the giant Sarposa Prison.

Within days of the breakout, about 35 escapees were recaptured at internal checkpoints and border crossings; they were returned to prison after their identities were confirmed by biometric files.

One escapee was seized during a routine traffic stop less than two miles from his home village. Another was recaptured at a local recruiting station where he was trying to infiltrate Afghan security forces.

Read the whole thing.

More details on Malaysian foreign worker Amnesty

The registration will first cover legal foreign workers (The Star)
The Immigration Department will be in charge of registering the legal workers while the Home Ministry has appointed 334 agents throughout the peninsula to register illegal workers from Aug 1-31.

Malaysia biometric system enables new citizenship policies

More on visas and international identity management

Visas reviewed to find those who overstayed (Washington Times)
Mr. Beers said his department remains focused on trying to develop common international standards for biometric data such as fingerprints. He also said the department is working closely with a number of foreign countries.

The GAO report specifically states that while the United States offered several anti-corruption programs to foreign countries, no such programs addressed the problem of passport fraud.

Janice Jacobs, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, said in testimony that the State Department and elements of the Department of Homeland Security work with foreign partners on training them to detect passport fraud.

See also: Poor ID management abroad increases US terror risk

Ubiquitious facial-recognition software is coming

Smile, You're On Everyone's Camera (
Slate has a great article on facial recognition technology today.

It takes the baton from yesterday's WSJ article on BI2's MORIS law enforcement technology and provides historical context including our famous FaceTrac project at the 'Snooper Bowl' in 2001.

What I like most about this article is that it acknowledges the dislocations that ubiquitous biometrics (like all new technologies) will cause but recognizes that on net, ordinary people are demanding these technologies and that people will adjust.

Good on author Farhad Manjoo and

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Malaysia Worker Amnesty Update

Updated post dealing with Malaysia's planned worker normalization project:
Malaysia biometric system enables new citizenship policies

Poor ID management abroad increases US terror risk

GAO report shows that holes in ID management abroad create terror risk for US (News Track India)
Passport security is described as weak with many countries using no security features, such as biometrics, to prevent fraud.

"Some countries do not have their own database systems with terrorist screening information or access to other countries' terrorist screening information to keep track of biographical and biometric information about individuals who are known or suspected terrorists," Fox News quoted the report, as saying.
Many developing countries, while still lacking rigorous ID management infrastructures, are making great progress. They do this for their own reasons but one of the benefits is that it gives them a way to partner with international law enforcement organizations to their mutual benefit.

Mobile Biometrics for Law Enforcement

BI2 in the WSJ (Wall Street Journal)
The MORIS device is manufactured by BI2 Technologies, an 11-person company based in the quintessential New England town of Plymouth, Mass. The company was founded in 2006 by Mullin, who coordinated criminal justice programs for the state, and Peter Flynn, a former sheriff. The two saw an opportunity to use biometric data to address issues in the criminal justice system—such as the accidental release of the wrong inmates from jails and prisons.
It's good to see an innovative small business getting some deserved attention for all the hard work they've put in.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An ATM for the illiterate uses your fingerprint as your PIN

An ATM for the illiterate uses your fingerprint as your PIN (
Using an ATM is pretty straightforward for most of us. But what about people who are semi-literate or illiterate? That makes things a lot harder. A new ATM is looking to change that.
Article with photo at the link.

It's great to see technology applied to helping people overcome disadvantages resulting from an impoverished childhood.

CyberExtruder launches Aureus 3D software to significantly improve facial recognition

CyberExtruder releases Aureus 3D™ facial reconstruction software (PRWeb)
evidence from tests for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security demonstrates how Aureus 3D’s ability to generate a 3D representation from 2D images advances the available technology for suspect and victim identification. “Unique solutions like this become an essential resource for the intelligence, security and law enforcement communities,” said Jack Ives, co-founder and chief operating officer for CyberExtruder. “Aureus 3D is expected to be a valuable new tool for those engaged in mission critical facial recognition."
It really does what it says and is a truly amazing piece of software.

We've worked extensively with CyberExtruder, and have found their technical ability and the quality of their management to be superb.

Our CEO, Barry Hodge, is quoted in the press release about some of the ways we've used Aureus 3D in our applications.

Nigeria: Biometrics Project to Help Boost State Revenue

Following yesterday's news about how Nigeria is using biometrics to stem loss and abuse on the spending side of the government's finances, comes this article addressing efforts using biometrics on the revenue side.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has explained how the Unique Taxpayer Identification Number (U-TIN) could shore up states' revenue (
This would plug leakages, curb tax evasion and substantially contain tax shopping, which is in vogue in Nigeria today.

The FIRS boss further explained that under the U-TIN project, which had been approved by the National Economic Council (NEC), (consisting of all state governors), over 215 Joint Tax Board staff had been trained and 370 desktops installed.

Other steps towards the realisation of the project include procurement of 185 static biometric registration equipment and 108 (3 per senatorial zone per state) mobile registration equipment as well as 37 Midrange Servers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Luzerne County, Pa. adopts biometric time-and-attendance system

Luzerne County plans to have a new time-clock and payroll system in place by November (
County commissioners in December agreed to buy the time-clock system from Minnesota-based ACS Enterprise Solutions Inc. and Massachusetts-based Kronos Inc. for $462,395 plus maintenance fees. The purchase is being funded with money previously borrowed through bonds for capital projects.
County commissioners have claimed the new system could save $1.8 million annually by eliminating absenteeism, unnecessary overtime costs and errors from manual payroll processing. Officials also claim the new system will prevent employees from getting paid when they don't show up at work.
If the numbers are right, that's a 289% ROI before maintenance fees in the first year and the numbers would have to be very wrong indeed for the ROI to go to zero.

Biometrics reveal a staggering level of fraud in Nigeria

MDAs had 43,000 ghost workers (Vanguard - Nigeria)
He said as a result of the biometric audit of 36 MDAs, the Federal Ministry of Finance fished out the names of former employees of the Federal Government who were either retired or dead but were still receiving salaries, thus adding to the cost of governance in the country.
It turns out that 38% of the employees at the 36 MDAs didn't exist.

Corruption on this scale is devastating. First, it represents radical over-taxation of a population that cannot be considered rich. Second, the beneficiaries of these schemes come to see the maintenance of the fraud rather than fulfilling the stated goals of the bureaucracy as their real job.

The ROI of these biometric fraud-cutting efforts isn't just measured in money, either. Though they save a lot of money, you can't put a price on decent governance.

Kudos to Nigeria for taking on one of the most intractable causes of human misery.

Friday, July 8, 2011

UAE ID card, visa services to be unified

Gulf News (via Zawya)
Abu Dhabi By the end of this year, registration procedures for Emirates ID cards will be linked with residence visa issuing and renewal formalities across the UAE, a top official confirmed in the capital yesterday.
Much is to be gained in this approach. If you already have a national ID, why not let the foreign visitor database talk to the citizen database?

Biometrics help minorities claim full legal rights in Pakistan

NADRA registers 5,852 Sikh citizens (Khaleej Times)
National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has registered a total of 5,852 Sikhs so far including 3,105 men and 2,747 women ensuring their rights as genuine citizens of Pakistan.
A legitimate identity is a basic right.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Home(land) Security: Who's Cashing In?
The $22 billion security industry is a little less, well, secure, these days -- as the drop in the number of homes with working burglar alarms (down 6 percent since 2007) attests. But that hasn't stopped some entrepreneurs from developing new ways to keep thieves away.
It's a short article with a plug for biometrics at the end.

Biometrics, Military Intelligence and International terror groups

Intelligence: Pakistan Gets It (Strategy Page)
...[T]hree years ago the U.S. revealed that many terrorists it arrests, or kills, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, already had arrest records in the United States and other nations. They knew this because early on in the war on terror, the Department of Defense adopted many practices that major police departments have long taken for granted, and that Pakistan is just now coming to appreciate.

One of the more useful techniques used by the American military to build its database is biometrics.
International Affairs, military style, with an "it's about people" thread.

India: University of Pune teacher biometric attendance system

Hullabaloo over UoP biometric attendance system (Mid Day)

Employees say system introduced this month just another example of university authorities becoming control freaks of late... "It is just another way of having greater control on us. We just hope that a few minutes' delay doesn't get counted against us after this system becomes fully functional," said a staffer from the exam department.

Organisations ... say that it works wonders in improving the productivity of employees. Principal Shrikant Gupta of Abasaheb Garware College said that the system was operational since March in the institution. "I can say that the system has definitely improved the productivity and the teachers are more regular. They are punctual and more sincere, as it's compulsory for them to stay in for a minimum of five hours," said Gupta.

Biometric Identity Management, an Information Age Revolution

Biometrics are playing midwife to one of the most significant bouts of modernization and institutional development of the Information Age.

Imagine living in a democracy and having no real idea of how many people reside in your country or what proportion of the people residing within the national borders should be considered citizens.

Only the most organized and powerful of ancient civilizations were capable of conducting a census.

The democracies that reached high levels of development during the industrial revolution adopted regular censuses and built expensive, labor-intensive bureaucracies in order to get a good idea of the demographics of the country.

In the United States, the Selective Service System identifying all military-aged males was developed in 1917; the Social Security Administration issued its first Social Security Number in 1936.

Biometrics offer many of the world's countries the opportunity to gather basic identity management data crucial to the function of a modern state at a lower cost than that paid by the powers of the Industrial Age.

This phenomenon is similar to the telecommunications revolution that allowed large portions of Africa to skip the expensive and labor intensive technology of the copper wire telephone network in favor of a cellular system.

Countries that are adopting biometric ID management systems are finding new choices about how to manage their affairs.

Malaysia is a providing an example lately. Having adopted border biometrics, they find themselves with more choices about how to deal with the underground labor market.

6P programme starts on July 11 (Since Delayed)
Amnesty after legal foreign workers in biometric system
No choice for illegals this time
Malaysia defers amnesty plan for illegal labour

The challenges are great. Biometrics place solutions within the grasp of many.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Microsoft says Windows Phone shows privacy principle

Principle of privacy by design (Computer Weekly)
"Privacy is important to Microsoft and an important element of design because we see it as being core to long-term business success," said Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer at Microsoft.
Kinect, for example, has been designed with privacy in mind, Brendon Lynch said, with all biometric data linked to facial recognition and body geometry tracking stored only locally in encrypted form.

Secure Communities program ‘very successful’

A local perspective (Gadsden Times - Alabama)
“Someone who is here illegally, but has never been in trouble before, will not show up in this system,” Hassell said. “It is aimed at the persons who keep coming to the U.S. illegally and committing crimes on our streets. It just does it in a more practical way.”

Since the program has been operational, it has been “very successful,” Hassell said.

“It doesn’t look at the color of your skin or the accent of your voice,” he said. “It looks at clear, objective data.”