Ghana: Some public sector workers to be paid using biometrics

Gov’t to use biometric data to pay workers (Ghana Web)

Public sector workers will now be paid using their biometric data, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has said.

This follows the completion of the biometric payroll registration exercise in six regions and the expectation that a similar exercise in the remaining four regions will be completed in July this year

European Commission Approves Biometric Driving Licenses

Smart driving licences coming to UK (PR Web at Yahoo!)

The EC has given the go-ahead for new plastic licences to include biometric data on drivers, but no address, and these could come into effect as soon as 2015, by which time the UK Government has said it wants to end the need for the paper counterpart to the present licence.

The press release seems to have been put out by I didn’t find any additional information on the biometric license there, but I did find this, which is fun:

I say Rupert, slow down! Diamond Insurance has revealed the Top Ten men’s and women’s names associated with speeding offences.

Adding a “te” onto the end of Juliet’s name doesn’t slow her down much at all. Juliet is #1; Juliette is #6 on the list for women.

University of Southampton Showing Off World-Changing Research Including Biometrics

Join University of Southampton’s free 60th anniversary celebrations (Daily Echo)

The institution is holding a special open day tomorrow at its Highfield Campus, aimed at showing off some of the world-changing research that has been carried out there over the last 60 years.

Unique experiences on offer will range from the chance to watch exciting demonstrations in some of the university’s cutting-edge hi-tech laboratories, to poring over historical pictures and documents from through the centuries in its Special Collections Archive.

Visitors will be able to discover their own “signature” of the way they walk thanks to the world’s only electronics and computer science (ECS) Biometric Tunnel.

Sounds fun!

First-hand account of a “Vacation in Utopia”

A delightful vignette of a possible biometric future written by Dr. Ben Ajayi…

You are unique and wonderfully made (Nigerian Tribune)

The billboard was not done with me as it flashed another page for me to read, “Dr. Ben, you are unique and wonderfully made. Of all persons alive today and even those who have lived before you since the beginning of time not one is like you. Your voice is special; no other fingerprints are like yours; no-one looks like you; speaks exactly like you; laughs like you; walks like you with your exact weight, height and mannerism. We use all these facts in our data base to identify you. Do please feel free to enjoy our country.”

h/t @m2sys

Unlock Your Computer With Your Face

Free trial (30 uses) available at CNET’s

I haven’t tried it but it looks well thought out and has some cool features. I like the feature where it takes a picture of anyone snooping around machine.

KeyLemon logs you in to your computer by using your face. More than just a glorified Webcam tool, it regularly checks to make sure that it really is you using the computer. The latest version of the app also comes with a neat Firefox plug-in called LemonFox, for added protection when logging into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Does Apple’s Siri store users’ biometrics?

Wiping Away Your Siri “Fingerprint” (Technology Review)

Even in an age of vanishing privacy, people using Apple’s digital assistant Siri share a distinct concern. Recordings of their actual voices, asking questions that might be personal, travel over the Internet to a remote Apple server for processing. Then they remain stored there; Apple won’t say for how long.

That voice recording, unlike most of the data produced by smart phones and other computers, is an actual biometric identifier…

The article doesn’t insinuate that Apple is misbehaving or planning to misbehave with the data it records from Siri users, but it raises interesting questions about how the data is, or could be, used.

There are many very good reasons, related to improving performance, for Apple to maintain a huge database of actual recordings of Siri queries.

Accent, gender, region, nationality, age, grammar. There’s an amazing variety of ways people express themselves compared to the essence of what they actually mean.

How do different people ask the same question? “Where’s the nearest sub shop?” “Where’s the nearest hoagie shop?” Is it the same question?

But the article rightly points out that those recordings are, or at some point may be, biometric identifiers, so it’s wise to recognize them as such.

So, the short answer to the title question is “yes.” But if users record a personalized voice mail message, the cellular provider stores the a user’s biometric in exactly the same sense. If a mobile device user takes a picture of herself and uses a cloud storage service, that service stores her (face) biometric. It’s wort keeping these things in mind but also in perspective.

See also: Voice Recognition ≠ Speech Recognition

India: State of Haryana tightens ID management surrounding orphanages and Child Care Institutions

Now, biometric system for orphanage inmates (Times of India)

In a bid to overhaul the monitoring mechanism in orphanages, the Haryana government is planning to introduce biometric system for inmates and child mapping in every district.

In Gurgaon, over a dozen orphanages and child homes are operating and many of these are yet to be registered as per the recent guidelines issued by the state government. After the shocking Apna Ghar incident, all the orphanages and Child Care Institutions (CCI) have been directed to get registered in the prescribed format before June 30.

The Apna Ghar shelter house incident was a shocking abuse of vulnerable people and I’d be curious to read more about how biometric technologies are to be applied to making sure similar abuses don’t occur.

Philippines Health Care company introducing Face Recognition for patient ID

Maxicare eyeing wider network in provinces (Manila Times)

…Maxicare will begin the circulation of the enhanced feature card for health care that can also use as a cash card. It is named “My Maxicare lite” and uses Facial Biometrics that will help health establishments view a Maxicare member’s profile and medical records through facial biometric technology. This is a first of its kind in the Philippines.

Maxicare is now partnered with 27,000 accredited doctors and specialists, 1,000 hospitals and clinics and an about 3,500 dental experts nationwide.

NSADAQ Poster Bullish on UID

India’s new biometric identity system will help alleviate poverty (NSADAQ)

Over the past few months, we’ve been rather critical of the inefficacy of Indian government policy towards the economy (and rightly so). However, it would be disingenuous to claim that endless bureaucracy has impeded every initiative the government has undertaken. Rather, in one instance, it’s been quite the opposite: the attempts by the Indian government to introduce a biometric identity system are a rare instance of dynamism in the behemoth Indian government.

A Hundred Pounds of Cocaine Seized Despite Several Security Breaches

Convicted drug smuggler breached security 7 times (Richmond Review)

Ironically, his unauthorized access to the customs hall was recorded by a new technology introduced the same year Von Holtum was caught, and designed to sound alarm bells.

Billed in January of 2007 by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority as “the world’s first dual biometric airport identification program for non-passengers acccessing restricted areas of the airport,” the RAIC (Restricted Area Identity Card) program was designed to detect and record the comings and goings of airport personnel, including whenever they enter restricted zones.

Security systems can be complex, especially in places like airports. For them to work, they have to bee well planned and someone has to be paying attention to them. In this case, it looks like there wasn’t a mechanism in place to bring several instances of odd behavior to the attention of officials.

Security technology, however awesome, can’t manage an organization. People have to do that.

On the other hand, security is usually redundant and provided in layers. The hundred-or-so pounds of cocaine, after all, was seized.

Swiss retain visa-free travel to the US


Swiss nationals will continue to benefit from visa-free entry to the United States for stays of up to 90 days after the two countries initialled an agreement on the issue on Wednesday.

The US had posed two conditions to countries wishing to remain in the visa-waiver programme. On the one hand, it wanted an exchange of finger prints and DNA data in order to prevent and combat serious crime (PCSC); on the other, it wanted an exchange of data on known or suspected terrorists.

UID Back on in Pune

UID phase II begins in rural parts of Pune (Times of India)

According to the district administration, an identity proof, residence and birth date proofs are required at the time of enrollment. After filling up the detailed form, the officials at the centres collect the biometric impressions of fingers and the iris scans of the applicants. After completion of formalities, a 12-digit UID is issued. A receipt is given to the applicant at the time of enrollment and the UID number card is sent by post to the applicant’s address.

It’s good to see UID back at work.

But doesn’t requiring an identity proof, residence and birth date proof before issuing a UID number make it harder to give an ID to those who haven’t been able to get one in the past? I seem to remember that there was some mechanism in the UID system whereby neighbors and relatives could vouch for the identity of undocumented persons to get them an Aadhaar number.

Fingerprint at a Distance

New fingerprint reader captures prints from 6 meters away (

IDair makes a machine that Burcham says can photographically capture a fingerprint from as far away as six meters in enough detail to match against a database. Add facial and iris-recognition technology, Burcham said, and you have the basis for a good biometrics system that can control access to any building or room within a building.

Who needs this level of security? “Sooner, rather than later, we’re all going to need it,” Burcham said in a recent interview at his office at Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

Artificial Intelligence & Multimodal Biometrics

Neural network mimics the brain for improved decision-making in biometric security systems (EurekAlert!)

“Our goal is to improve accuracy and as a result improve the recognition process,” says Gavrilova, a professor in the Faculty of Science. “We looked at it not just as a mathematical algorithm, but as an intelligent decision making process and the way a person will make a decision.”

The algorithm can learn new biometric patterns and associate data from different data sets, allowing system to combine information, such as fingerprint, voice, gait or facial features, instead of relying on a single set of measurements.

A system like this is a very long way from seeing the light of day in an actual real-world deployment, but the concept strikes me as having huge potential for extremely complex high value deployments of the future such as airport ID.

More on TWIC Expiration for Truckers

TSA offers three-year TWIC card renewal plan for certain cardholders (Land Line)

Beginning in August, TSA will allow current TWIC cardholders whose TWIC cards expire on or before Dec. 31, 2014, to pay $60 and make one trip to an enrollment center. Cardholders will call the TWIC help desk at 1-866-DHS-TWIC (347-8942). Once their card is ready, they can pick the card up at an enrollment center.

See also:
TWIC: Licensed Hazmat Truckers Can Skip a Background Check, Save Money
Why is the TWIC So Expensive?

Biometrics ID Child Abuser Entering the US for the Fourth Time

Border Patrol Agents arrest convicted sex offender (Deming Headlight)

The subject’s biographical and biometric information was submitted into the “Integrated Automated Identification System,” or IAFIS. The system positively identified the subject and revealed that Ramos-Ruiz had a prior conviction from Iowa for sexual assault with intent to commit sexual abuse with-a-child in August 1987. The information also stated that he had been imprisoned for a period of two years.

Delays threaten Uganda National ID and Voter Registration System

Uganda: Govt to Delay National ID Project Again (All Africa)

“We are all concerned about the IDs. We have written to the ministry of finance pleading. We have put pressure for additional funds but maybe the resource envelope is small. We shall try to work within what was given and try a phased approach,” Onek resignedly said.

In 2010 government signed a 64m Euros (sh205b) agreement with Muehlbauer High Tech International for the supply of equipment and provision of training services. The goal was to set up a biometric register upon which the issuance of ID cards and numbers will be based under the National Security Information System (NSIS) Project. The government has paid Muehlbauer 51m (163b) Euros and owes them 13m Euros (sh42b).

The Electoral Commission has also expressed concerns about the effect of delay of implementation of the Project on the commission’s continuous by-elections and general elections of 2016.

Nepal struggles with Citizenship, ID infrastructure

Getting Nepali citizenship is a tough call (BBC)

Sharad Bheswakar, top cricketer and sporting icon in Nepal, is not actually a Nepali. At least officially, he is not a citizen of the country he calls home.

He was born and raised in Nepal and plays for the national team. He has an Indian father and a Nepali mother, so getting citizenship should not be a problem according to the law of the land.

But his efforts to acquire Nepali citizenship so far have been futile.

“It’s been almost eight to nine years that I’ve been trying to get my citizenship. I’m still facing problems. It’s really frustrating at times,” he says.

A few years ago, he was given a travel document as a special concession so he could play in matches abroad.

Biometric solutions could help in the implementation of what comes out of a political process but they can’t substitute for the process.