Biometric Borders

If yesterday’s theme was Biometrics and Children, today’s seems to be Biometric Borders.

New procedures for Schengen visa (Zawya – UAE) – The new procedure will introduce the collection of biometric data such as fingerprint scan and digital photo in order to prevent false identifications, identity theft and fraud.
See also: Dubai, UAE: Fingerprints needed for Schengen visa (with some background on Schengen)

Ukraine: We hope to speed up visa facilitation with EU (Kyiv Post) – Biometric passports are a key step in the process.

United States: Immigrants hope to work legally (Times Free Press)

Within just a month 82,000 young immigrants nationwide applied to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. So far, close to 64,000 have scheduled appointments for fingerprinting and photographing — which ICE refers to as “biometrics” — and 29 applications had been approved as of Sept. 13.

You say you want a revolution?

Australia: Customs eyes tech future beyond SmartGate (IT News)

The service issued a request for information (RFI) seeking solutions that “do not rely [on] simply implementing more of the current technology and associated traveller processing infrastructure”

Broad options sought by the RFI cover solutions to automate traveller border processing, verify biometric identity, supply traveller information, reduce queues, perform behavioural assessments, and offer “non-intrusive traveller concealment detection”.

Argentina streamlines cross-border travel with biometrics

Argentina strengthens migratory control (InfoSurHoy)

When a passenger places his or her finger on the fingerprint reader at the airport, the system instantaneously sends a message to the National Registry of Persons (RENAPER), the agency responsible for protecting the individual identity rights of Argentine residents.

“If the person who placed their finger on the reader does not match the individual shown in the documents, the system blocks the process and alerts the inspector,” Duval said. “We’ve already had some cases like this.”

When processing foreigners, the system compares the data with a record of their previous entries and departures in Argentina.

Illinois: School cafeteria biometrics

Parent gives thumbs down to finger scans (The Telegraph – Alton, IL)

Essentially the same article has appeared perhaps thousands of times in local papers over the last few years.

What makes this one interesting is the process of adoption and communication was unusual and is more explicitly dealt with here than in other articles.

“We adopted the philosophy of ‘every child, every day,'” Moore said. “This means that every child in the district starts every day with something to eat.”

By serving breakfast to every student, the cafeterias must provide the equivalent number of meals served over nine lunch periods in a short span of time each day.

“In order to process that many students quickly, we needed to come up with a different system,” Moore said. “It also allows the students to get through lunch lines faster and have more time for recess.”

Read the whole thing. It’s short.

Biometric deployment winners and losers

This article describes a fingerprint system implementation that isn’t going too well.

Northtown is one of 20 child-care centers in central Mississippi taking part in a Mississippi Department of Human Services pilot program. DHS administers the state’s child-care assistance, or certificate, program for poor families and pays providers like Kay who accept the certificates. Starting Sept. 4, parents and guardians of children receiving a subsidy must scan their finger when dropping off or picking a child up from day care.

Kay and other child-care center operators say implementing the new system has been nothing short of nightmarish and that the problems are eating into revenues. Although DHS trained workers on how to use the machines, training parents is left up to the individual centers, meaning that a member of Kay’s staff must remain on standby at all times to help people work the machine. Also, because the system relies on unique finger scans, staff members cannot override the system or check the kids in and out when parents forget. When that happens, providers might not get paid.

No analysis of why state subsidized day care centers are being asked to prove that they are actually providing the service for which they are paid (using a parent fingerprint). No analysis of why it is a burden to have someone on standby to facilitate/control/monitor who picks up and drops off children. No explanation of how or why parents are allowed to forget to check their children in and out of the child care facility.

A system as lax as the one obliquely described in the article is, of course, likely to become a magnet for fraud. That’s bad. What is much worse is that a situation where no one is keeping track of who is taking children away from a child care facility is a tragedy waiting to happen.

If the subsidized day care system in Mississippi was ticking along flawlessly, it’s hard to imagine someone deciding that it would be a great idea to implement more rigorous identity management measures. That’s just not the way things work. Frequently, biometric systems are brought in to shore up flaws in a system.

The costs and benefits of shoring up flaws in a system, however, are unlikely to fall upon/accrue evenly throughout an organization. For example: The return on investment of a biometric time and attendance implementation is paid by those who benefited from a more lax system and accrues to the firm’s owners. The people who lose out in the transition aren’t necessarily right, but they aren’t necessarily without power, either.

Without significant insight, it’s easy for managers to get caught off guard by push-back from those whose interests are undermined by more efficient operation. This is where a good biometric system integrator can really do themselves and their customers a favor by understanding their customer’s business and helping the customer to anticipate and mitigate obstacles to a successful implementation. It’s not enough that a solution succeed on its technical merits as if deployed in a vacuum, though it must do that. It must also succeed operationally in support of the people who carry out the organization’s objectives. Successful integrators meet customers where they are and leave them better off than they found them.

Canada and the US to require better ID from border crossers

Border law will demand travel docs from Canadians: Documents (Embassy)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada plans to introduce new legal rules that would force Canadians and Americans to present authorized travel documents such as passports when entering Canada, according to departmental notes.

Government documents obtained by Embassy under access to information legislation show the move, part of the perimeter security plan between Canada and the United States, will bring Canadian and American law closer.

Under the US Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Canadians and others have had to pack official travel documents like passports since 2007 when they fly to the US, and since 2009 when driving or sailing there.

South Africa leading the way on government payments to individuals

Social Security And Welfare Payments Go Biometric (Fast Company)

In order to receive government aid, South Africans now have to get biometric finger and voice scans. It’s high tech, cuts down on fraud, saves the government money… and is coming to the United States sooner than you’d think.

MasterCard is playing a large role in the South African effort… Redux? AuthenTec to ditch non-Apple customers in 2013

AuthenTec to reportedly ditch non-Apple customers in 2013 (Apple Insider)

In an email to its customers, which includes Samsung, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Fujitsu, Apple acquisition AuthenTec reportedly said it will no longer be honoring orders come 2013, a source told Korean language website etnews.

The announcement may be an indication of what Apple plans to do with the company and its technology after purchasing the firm in July for $356 million. AuthenTec is well known for its work in fingerprint sensor tech and it was rumored that Apple might be looking to implement the biometric security asset into an upcoming iPhone.

It may be recalled that after Facebook bought,’s existing customers were left twisting.

This is always a tricky post merger call. Does Apple continue to sell a technology, at a hefty profit, to its competitors? How long would Apple’s competitors live with that deal?

Apple seems to have made the call.

Kenya: Government signs contract for Canadian BVR’s

Canadian firm to supply Kenya with voting kits (Xinhua)

The Kenyan government has finally signed a contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), for the supply of 15,000 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits to enable the East African nation hold credible polls in 2013.

A statement from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said on Tuesday the contract was inked on Monday evening in Nairobi by Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, CCC’s Director David Olsen and IEBC’s Chief Executive Officer James Oswago.

“The Canadian agency gave a written undertaking on the integrity and commercial standing of the firm,” IEBC said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Click here for the whole strange saga of the Kenya biometric voter register tender.

Ghana opts for biometric voter verification

EC orders 26,000 verification machines…For biometric verification (Ghanaian Chronicle)

“We have several samples of the verification machine in the office that we are going to use for piloting. The first piloting exercise will be done internally, I mean at the offices of the Electoral Commission in Accra. That exercise is slated for the first week of October. Following its success, we will then pilot it at some constituencies before the general elections,” noted Mr. Akumeah.

The biometric verification machine is a handheld machine used to ascertain that an individual ‘is who he says he is’ or ‘is who she says she is’. Biometric verification requires a biometric system or setup to operate in.

This makes a lot of sense because, by itself, biometric voter registration still allows for quite a few of the most common vote-rigging shenanigans.

SecurLinx & Qualiserve enter agreement in Brazil

SecurLinx Brasil and Qualiserve Technology Solutions enter into Exclusive Integration Partnership for Brazil (PRWeb Press Release

SecurLinx Brasil, a subsidiary of SecurLinx Holding Company (FRA: S8X) has completed a comprehensive integration agreement for its biometric identity management solutions in Brazil with Qualiserve Soluções Em Tecnologia. “This strong partnership with a recognized leader in the national marketplace demonstrates our commitment to gaining market share and rapidly increasing revenue in the next year. Together, we will ensure peak performance and the highest level of customer service for our Brazilian clients,” said Barry Hodge, CEO of SecurLinx Holding Company.

Under the terms of this agreement, Qualiserve will be the exclusive installer and IT system manager for SecurLinx Brasil, offering helpdesk and field maintenance services as needed. In cases where a client purchases a biometric identity management solution from SecurLinx Brasil and that client has an existing contract with a third party IT service provider, Qualiserve will act as a technical consultant and project manager on behalf of SecurLinx.

According to Davis Hodge, President of SecurLinx Brasil, “Qualiserve, with its impressive track record of tackling complicated large scale IT infrastructure deployments coupled with its market leading IT management services provided to some of the largest multinational and local corporations, is a perfect fit for SecurLinx.” Kleber Rodrigues, Founder and President of Qualiserve added, “We have spent considerable time evaluating both new and established biometric solutions providers on behalf of our customers and have determined that SecurLinx offers the most complete and robust products available in the market.”

About Qualiserve:
For over 10 years, Qualiserve has offered comprehensive IT infrastructure and systems management to some of the largest multinationals and local companies in Brazil. Additional services include web hosting, ERM, VoIP telephony, and cloud computing. The Company is headquartered in São Bernardo / São Paulo and has offices across Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Santa Catarina.

Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court rules against fingerprint biometrics for Time-and-Attendance

Poland: May An Employee Request Biometric Data? (Mondaq)

Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) has recently ruled that an employer is not entitled to collect employees’ biometric data in the form of fingerprints in order to record employees’ entrance and exits times, even if the employees consent.

There’s that word again: consent.

But if the article is accurate, Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court actually seems to be saying that, technically, worker’s can’t consent to fingerprint time-and-attendance in much the same way that children can’t legally consent to certain acts.

I wonder what they would say if a firm wanted to raise wages with the money they saved by implementing a biometric time-and-attendance system.

Industry Report: Biometrics market in 2012 worth $7.59bn

‘Biometrics market worth $7.59bn in 2012’ Says Visiongain Report (Press Release via PRNewswire)

Visiongain’s analysis indicates that the Biometrics market is set to be worth $7.59bn in 2012, as demand continues for advanced personal identification and verification systems for a range of military, governmental and civilian applications.

The Visiongain author of the Biometrics report comments that: ‘Biometric technologies are an increasing viable prospect for both military and civilian purposes. With progressively increasing technological advances and codification of doctrinal usage, biometric technologies are set to fulfil a range of security demands. Despite defence cutbacks, the global biometrics market is to be both sustained and enhanced by the commercialisation of the technology, which is increasingly finding applications within the civilian marketplace, providing security from criminal enterprises and identity theft.’

Facebook consents to delete face recognition data of EU users

Facebook Agrees to Delete EU Facial-Recogniation Data (Bloomberg)

The owner of the biggest social-networking site has faced several European reviews over concerns a facial-recognition program that automatically suggests people’s names to tag in pictures breaches privacy rights.

Facebook Ireland “agreed to delete collected templates for EU users by Oct. 15” and to seek regulator consent “if it chooses to provide the feature to EU users again,” the Irish Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said in the conclusions to a review today.

Data-protection regulators from the 27-nation EU have been looking into Facebook’s facial-recognition feature.

The theme of the article is consent.

The legal status of non-scientists processing DNA

Legal hurdles threaten to slow FBI’s ‘Rapid DNA’ revolution ()PC Advisor)

What’s more, the DNA Identification Act of 1994 passed by Congress gave the FBI the authority to establish its DNA index system, but didn’t envision that DNA information would be uploaded to the FBI database from a police station using Internet-connected Rapid DNA equipment. The law covers only accredited DNA labs in use today, not the mobile Rapid DNA equipment that can be operated by non-technical personnel anywhere, according to Clark Jaw, an auditor at the FBI Laboratory for the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). It appears there needs to be a change to the DNA Identification Act to accommodate use of the new technology, he says.

See also: “Rapid” DNA: Not super rapid. Still really cool. More steak than sizzle.

Biometrics scares people, makes them happy.

Biometrics scares people* (Network World)
Perception of biometrics tends to be rather negative because it’s personal and physical, says Lockheed Martin’s biometrics division director.

How to find happiness in a world of password madness (PC World)
The beauty of biometrics is that you don’t have to remember anything at all, much less a complex password.

*Since I was a tad critical of Ellen Messmer‘s take on rapid DNA in the previous post it’s only fair that I single her out for praise for this highly enjoyable and thorough article.