End of the line for online passwords, says PayPal (BBC)

So the industry is looking to ditch passwords, and is turning to a variety of solutions, such as voice recognition, key stroke analysis and finger print identification.

Payments firm PayPal is one of those leading the changes, and president David Marcus says the aim is to make the whole process seamless.

“Like magic, you’ll be authenticated, and the payment will go through,” he tells BBC World Service’s Business Daily.

“We want to move away from passwords, and get to embedded fingerprint scanners on mobile phones

USA Today Editorial duels Op-Ed on biometric exit monitoring system

Border security not just about walls: Our viewUSA Today Editorial Board

A full biometric system plus immigration agents plus court personnel would cost tens of billions that the government doesn’t have. But if this year’s immigration reform is to prove more effective and durable than those of the past, this would be a good time to face up to the costs.

We can identify those who overstay on visasDavid Heyman, assistant secretary for policy at the Homeland Security Department

Ultimately, biometric exit is not the only exit system that exists. Rather than wait for a time when there is enough funding or capability, we have built and are improving a system that is effective today.

Which technology will revolutionize hotel room keys?

Hotels are already equipping their doors for the future — Examining technologies that can bring “non-stop check-in” to hotels at Hospitality Net.

The contenders:

  1. Smartphone with app 
  2. Traditional mobile telephone 
  3. Universally programmable key (includes certain advanced house, office or car keys) 
  4. PIN code 
  5. 2-D barcode 
  6. Fingers, hands or eyes (guests tend not to leave these items at home)

Author Keith Gruen breaks down the pros and cons.

Raconteur special report on biometrics

I’ve been waiting for this since I first became aware that Raconteur’s special report on biometrics was in the works. It doesn’t disappoint.

Click here for the report’s home page. Or here for the pdf version.

The report includes a useful infographic: Biometrics by the Numbers

Articles in the report:

Oldest ‘new’ technology is science of the future

Make way for knobbly kneed ID… or who’s this ear?

The workplace just got smarter as business wakes up

Using your body as a security shield to safeguard data

Blame bad policy not the technology

Striving to do the right thing

Future of biometrics is in hand

“Oldest ‘new’ technology…” and “Blame bad policy…” are particularly good.

Who would handle the verification end of a US biometric ID system?

Bruce Kennedy at MSN Money does a good job documenting some challenges associated with a national biometric ID in the United States in Should the US have a national biometric ID card?

Appropriately, cost, culture and the mechanics of a possible future system are addressed.
But because biometric enrollment without biometric verification is a half-measure, the thing that really caught my eye was the part about how the verification end of a theoretical future biometric ID system might work.

Should a biometric ID card become a reality, Haag envisions a new micro-market emerging, of companies creating portable employee-verificatio​n systems that would offer their services to other businesses. “Something along the lines of…these trucks driving around now that do all the shredding that guarantee all of your sensitive documents will be 100% shredded,” he says. “I think it would be cost-prohibitive for small business to acquire and maintain the hardware and the software necessary to do it themselves.”

Haag’s vision of mobile verification is interesting. We’ve touched on two other possibilities, neither of which depends strictly upon a national system, in the past in:

The Post Office, Identity Assurance & Biometrics
ID Entrepreneurs: Criminal Background Checks

If you only have time for one of the two, the Post Office one is the way to go.

Philippines makes it official: biometric voter registration required for 2016 elections

Biometrics now in force to cleanse voters’ list (Manila Standard Today)

Voters who fail to submit for validation on or before the last day of filing of application for registration for purposes of the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated.

“It is the policy of the state to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters through the adoption of biometric technology,” the new law read.

Mandatory Biometric Voter Registration Introduced in Philippines (Future Gov Asia)

The new law prohibits the use of the database of voter information for “any purpose other than for electoral exercises”, and requires the Comelec to keep the database secure.

Of course, we’ll await news of any plans for biometric voter verification.

New Dell tablet appears to have a static fingerprint reader

Judging by one of the photos accompanying this item at GottaBeMobile.com, the new Dell Latitude 10 tablet incorporates a static fingerprint reader on the back.

The “static” part of static fingerprint reader refers to the finger as the user interacts with the hardware. With a static reader the finger is held stationary against the sensor. The swipe reader requires the user to drag a finger across the sensor. Though the software behind the swipe reader sensor has improved over time, I’ve found the swipe sensors more difficult to use than static sensors. Nevertheless, probably due to cost considerations and the availability of real estate available for situating the sensor hardware, the swipe fingerprint readers were preferred by the first generation of hardware manufacturers to incorporate fingerprint sensors into mobile devices like laptops and mobile phones.

So, it seems like some combination of the following statements must be true:
-The hardware cost of the static sensors, compared to swipe sensors, has come down*;
-The static reader hardware has gotten smaller;
-The market demand for fingerprint biometrics on mobile hardware has risen;
-And I’m not the only one who prefers using static readers.

Another observation:
It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but the fingerprint reader still looks awfully small — roughly the size of the cell phone camera also visible in the image.

Here’s a good static vs. swipe summary.

*To keep this apples to apples we’re going to leave optical scanners out of this discussion altogether.

Feb. 21, 2013: Biometric Chat on Biometrics & Development

UPDATE and bumped:

Today’s biometric chat was perhaps the best yet. Having two interviewees sitting across the internet table from John at M2SYS worked quite well. With the two participants, Alan Gelb and Julia Clark, multiple lines of conversation could develop while, thanks to John and the other participants, they remained relevant to each other and the larger topic of Biometrics and Development. The resulting conversation was faster-paced than usual and a lot of ground was covered. Many thanks to John, Alan and Julia and all who participated.

In case you missed it, or would like a chance to review it, John has posted the transcript at Storify.

If you’re interested in the subject pf biometrics (and if you’re here, you probably are) please consider joining in the next one either to ask questions, to answer them, or to give your opinion on topics of interest in biometrics and identity management.

Originally published on Feb. 12, 2013

February 21, 2013 – 11:00 am EST, 8:00 am PST, 16:00 pm BST, 17:00 pm (CEST), 23:00 pm (SGT), 0:00 (JST)

tweetchat.com/room/biometricchat (or Twitter hashtag #biometricchat)

Tweet chat on the use of biometric identification in developing countries to help bridge the identity gap with Alan Gelb (@AlanHGelb) and Julia Clark (@juliamgclark) from the Center for Global Development.

How biometric identification helps to promote development, risks and challenges of using biometrics, emerging trends and their implications, and more.

More at the M2SYS blog.

Earlier topics have included privacy, mobile biometrics, workforce management, biometrics in the cloud, law enforcement, privacy again and modalities such as iris and voice.

I always enjoy these. Many thanks to John at M2SYS for putting these together.

Social media critique with a bleg for some biometrics already

The recent Burger King and Jeep twitter account hacks inspired Charlie Wollborg’s Having your social media feed hacked is forgivable; being boring is not at Crain’s Detroit Business.

Of course there’s a biometrics tie-in but the article is a fun read for those who are interested in the social media as well.

The biometrics part:

Can we unleash a few of our most talented geeks on making biometric security apps to the smartphone? Every sci-fi and spy movie in the last 50 years has shown our heroes using fingerprint scanners, retinal scanners and voice print identification. Forget the flying car, just bring me a biometric security app!

We’re working on it!

And then there’s the social media critique.

So yes, Burger King and Jeep had to deal with being hacked, but look at the opportunity! All eyes were on their social media feeds! What did they respond with? More of the same boring, bland content. Reading the last 30 twitter updates for both brand will give Lunesta a run for it’s money. Overly promotional. Instantly forgettable. Yawn.

Being hacked is forgivable. Being boring is not. A status update should not be a to do item. Don’t just post to post…

Good advice follows. I’d like to think we…

Ukraine mulls biometric voter verification for Members of Parliament

UDAR suggests taking fingerprints of MPs (forUm) “A new voting system, which reads fingerprints of MPs must be introduced in the Parliament, deputy leader of the UDAR Party faction Vitali Kovalchuk said on the sidelines of the Verkhovna Rada, ForUm correspondent reports.”

Piecing this together from a couple of places at http://en.for-ua.com. The main story linked above is very short. There is also a photo gallery of the event where the press was invited to witness “the working of the voting system ‘Rada-4′”.

I took the above photo from that gallery. Is that an optical fingerprint reader illuminating the hand in the photo?

If so, and I realize I’m piling speculation atop a mere suggestion, it would mark an interesting development in the administration of legislative bodies.
The São Paulo City Council instituted a biometric time and attendance system, but I’m not aware of a biometric system used in a legislative body to ensure that the person casting a vote is a member and that the member in question isn’t going around to all the empty desks and voting in the place of his absent colleagues.

US visa overstays: An ID problem or a management problem?

Everyone except the Department of Homeland Security (the US Congress apparently mandated a biometric exit logging system over a decade ago) seems to agree that a biometric check in/check out system is the way to go, but according to:

U.S. Struggles to Nab Visitors Who Overstay (Yahoo)

The department is no longer focused on implementing a biometric system, one relying on fingerprints or other unique personal markers, to make sure someone leaving the country is the same person who entered on a particular visa. Instead, the department has begun comparing lists of people with expired visas with lists of foreigners who depart through airports and seaports.

In order to be appropriately bewildered, one really must read the article in its entirety. For example: Among the reasons cited by the Secretary on behalf of the famously frugal DHS is that a biometric system would be “extraordinarily expensive.”

Grenada tightens up ID, votes tomorrow

Grenadians elect a new government tomorrow (Caribbean 360)

Grenada (CIA World Factbook)

The elections will be monitored by observer teams from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Commonwealth and the Organization of American States (OAS).

The OAS has also been providing technical support to validate and verify the integrity of the new voter registration system.

At the end of a two week mission the OAS submitted a Report which concluded that “the introduction of biometric identification cards and an electronic voter database constitute significant improvements in voter security, relative to the processes that were previously in place.”

Biometrics as engines of cultural change

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Sierra Leone is adopting a new biometric system to reduce impersonation among test takers and also to help eliminate bureaucratic errors.

We’ve covered the return on investment (ROI) of biometric ID systems quite extensively and the decision makers at the WEAC obviously saw the ROI potential of adding a biometric check to the testing process. Something else we have talked about (and it’s one aspect of biometrics that is intensely interesting to development types) is the accountability biometric systems can help bring to organizations and the cultural changes better ID management allows for.

Sheriff Sapateh, Head of the WEAC National Office gets this part, too:

WAEC launches Biometric Registration system (Awoko h/t @Argus_Global)

The Head further noted that examination malpractice unlike HIV/AIDS has a cure, adding that in order to win the war against examination malpractice there must be a holistic effort by all stakeholders in the education sub-sector.

He said that to avert a total collapse of our education system, there is a need for an entrenchment of a culture of examination ethics which is the respect for the rules, regulations, expectations, codes of conduct and moral principles governing the conduct of assessment and evaluation system, not only in educational institutions but in all sectors of the economy.

Using better ID management techniques can help to develop and encourage a more ethical culture — one less hospitable to corruption. Managers who understand this and want to do something about it have an ally in biometric ID management systems.

Philippines moves closer to biometric national ID

National ID system hurdles 2nd reading (ABS-CBN News)

The proposed “Filipino Identification System Act” aims to reduce red tape in government, Bichara said.

“The bill will reduce costs and lessen the financial burden on both the government and the public brought about by the use of multiple ID cards and maintenance of redundant databases containing the same or related information,” he added.

Nomadic Norwegian ghost children!

ID scams may lead to DNA testing (Views and News from Norway)

Calls were being made this week for mandatory DNA-testing of children born at home in Norway, following several welfare fraud cases involving women who claimed benefits for children they never had. More than 70 children have been deleted from the state’s public register (Folkeregister) because they didn’t exist.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that state welfare agency NAV had uncovered the scam carried out by Roma women in Norway. NAV revealed that the children had never been born and that their “parents” had received more than NOK 30 million (USD 5.5 m) in welfare benefits. Some of the children had existed on paper since 1995.