Tanzania Seeks New Voting Gear (All Africa) — The Tanzanian government is seeking financial support to buy a new biometric system (BVR) for voter registration in preparation for the 2015 General Elections.
Delhi: First rickshaw pullers, now street vendors…
Street vendors concerned about Parliament disruptions holding up bill meant for their protection (Times of India)
“If the bill is passed, the police and municipal officials will not be able to throw us around,” said Champa Ben, a street vendor from Ahmedabad. She has been selling fruits and vegetables on the pavement for the last 28 years. “Yet I have to pay Rs 50 per day as protection money to policemen. Even then, they keep throwing away my wares and harass me,” she said.
NASVI president Manali Shah said the government should provide for recording of biometric measurements of street vendors so that only genuine ones are issued identity cards. “Often we have seen politicians manage licences for their people while genuine street vendors are denied,” she said.
Short and sweet version: The street vendors want it and biometrics can help.
Biometrics can help bring order out of chaos is the post on the biometric registration rickshaw pullers.
UPDATE: Event Video Added — Round-up of news on Nilekani’s Washington DC appearance
UPDATED & BUMPED:
The Center for Global Development has posted a video of the event
Original post follows:
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
India’s Biometric IDs Put Its Poorest on the Map (Bloomberg)
That’s because it was an audience of development specialists, and the benefits of universal ID in poor countries are potentially huge. In advanced economies, proposals to gather biometric data and associate them with universal ID numbers immediately raise civil-liberties concerns. Not long ago the U.K. abandoned plans for a national ID card, partly on grounds of cost and partly because the idea was unpopular. This contrast in attitudes is worth pondering.
In recent years many developing countries have embarked on biometric ID programs. The Center for Global Development’s Alan Gelb and Julia Clark have surveyed 160 such projects and written an indispensable guide: “Identification for Development: The Biometrics Revolution.” As they and Nilekani point out, India’s project is unusual for its scale and scope, and because its aim was to create a system of identification independent of the uses to which it might be put — a platform that can support many uses, rather than one specific application (such as checking eligibility for poverty relief).
Could a program tracking identities of 1.3 billion Indians be the secret to ending poverty? (Washington Post)
This is not, Nilekani insists, a scary example of government intrusion. Rather, he and others described the effort in near revolutionary terms during a lecture Monday at the Center for Global Development in Washington.
Suddenly, said Nilekani, tens of millions of people born without a birth certificate or any formal registration “exist” in the eyes of the government – and can demand services and benefits, get a mobile phone or open a bank account. Putting all the data on the cloud, he said, breaks the monopoly of civil servants over the distribution of such things as food and fuel subsidies.
Once you’re in the database, your identity can be verified at any government office, distributed from a bank, or transferred automatically to a bank account. It’s efficient. It cuts down on opportunities for corruption, such as bribes or what economists call “rent-seeking,” the skim off the top an official might demand for delivering a service.
600 million Aadhaar cards by 2014, says Nilekani (The Statesman)
“Today we have enrolled 380 million of the 1.2 billion people. Our daily processing is about a million people a day. Our goal is to reach 400 million this year and 600 million by 2014,” he said, adding there are between 25,000 to 30,000 enrolment centres in the country.
Noting that this unique identification number is now becoming “an internal passport and gateway” to various services for Indians, Mr Nilekani said by working with various regulators they have ensured that this ID is sufficient to get their services. It enables one to get services quickly and in a hassle free manner, he said.
The country, not the state
Georgia may start using biometric voters lists (Democracy & Freedom Watch)
It is still unknown when this process will start, but the group assumes that it cannot be done before the next presidential election in October 2013, but possibly for the next local election in 2014.
It’s all ID nowadays
If the one word for the 60’s was plastics and in the 80’s it was all ball bearings, the technology touchstone for the 2010’s figures to be identity.
The “i” in the next iPhone will stand for “identity.” (Cult of Mac)
When people hear rumors and read about Apple’s patents for NFC, they think: “Oh, good, the iPhone will be a digital wallet.” When they hear rumors about fingerprint scanning and remember that Apple bought the leading maker of such scanners, they think: “Oh, good, the iPhone will be more secure.”
But nobody is thinking different about this combination. Everybody is thinking way too small. I believe Apple sees the NFC chip and fingerprint scanner as part of a Grand Strategy: To use the iPhone as the solution to the digital identity problem.
NFC plus biometric security plus bullet-proof encryption deployed at iPhone-scale adds up to the death of passwords, credit cards, security badges, identity theft and waiting in line.
Apple loves to solve huge, hitherto unsolved problems. And there is no problem bigger from a lost-opportunity perspective than digital identity.
The Boston Consulting Group estimates that the total value created through real digital identity is $1 trillion by 2020 in Europe alone.
Read the whole thing. Stripped of the Apple-worship, it’s an astute post.
The link inside the quote above is in the original and the pdf it links to is highly worth a look, as well. From the executive summary…
Increasingly, we are living double lives. There is our physical, everyday existence – and there is our digital identity. Most of us are likely more familiar with that first life than with the second, but as the bits of data about us grow and combine in the digital world – data on who we are, our history, our interests – a surprisingly complete picture of us emerges. What might also be surprising for most consumers is just how accurate and traceable that picture is.
Views on digital identity tend to take one of two extremes: Let organisations do what they need to in order to realise the economic potential of “Big Data,“ or create powerful safeguards to keep private information private. But digital identity can‘t be cast in such black-and-white terms. While consumers voice concern about the use of their data, their behaviours – and their responses to a survey conducted specifically for this report – demonstrate that they are willing, even eager, to share information when they get an appropriate benefit in return. Indeed, as European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding remarked, “Personal data is in today‘s world the currency of the digital market. And like any currency it has to be stable and it has to be trustworthy.“ 1 This is a crucial point. Consumers will “spend“ their personal data when the deals – and the conditions – are right. The biggest challenge for all stakeholders is how to establish a trusted flow of this data.
A new type of ID is needed to bind our physical and online selves, payments and hardware. If the tech giants are going to finish off the post office and assume the role of credit card companies, they’re going to have to solve the ID problem. If they solve the ID problem, there’s really no telling how many other business models they can disrupt.
South Africa: Social grants spokesperson deems biometric technology “a worthy investment”
Analysis: State of the art technology behind SA’s social grants (The New Age)
The latest biometric technology used by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to disburse social grants to about 16 million beneficiaries on a monthly basis is proving to be a worthy investment in making life easier for beneficiaries of social grants.
The number of beneficiaries of social grants in South Africa grew from 2 million in 1994 to about 16 million in February 2013. Of these an estimated 11 million are Child Support Grant beneficiaries.
Since March 2012, Sassa has been engaged in the process of mass enrolment of all beneficiaries using the latest biometric technology. This followed a major announcement by Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini on behalf of the government. The technology includes finger and palm verification as well as voice recognition to ensure that the grant money is paid to the relevant beneficiary at all times.
I didn’t realize that the number of people Sassa has to keep up with had expanded eight-fold in less than twenty years. It’s probably a god idea to automate fraud detection in a disbursements organization that is growing as rapidly as that. Otherwise, it’s hard to see how a fraud detection system that depended upon old-school detective types could keep up. Creating the human capital and cultural climate for their success is a long and expensive process.
A look at biometrics and health care fraud
Iris Scans Seen Shrinking $7 Billion Medical Data Breach (Bloomberg)
Iris scanners aren’t just for airport border-control agents and spy movies anymore.
Clinics and hospitals around the world are acquiring technology that identifies people based on physical traits to improve patient safety and stamp out fraud. HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA) hospitals in London, as well as health-care providers across the U.S., are buying so-called biometric technologies.
There’s not an identity management problem hospitals don’t have.
It worked for the credit card companies…
…Adding financial-management tools and rewarding consumers could increase use of mobile phones as payment devices
Accenture survey on attitudes toward using more services via mobile platforms
More than half of respondents who currently use their smartphones to make payments said they were highly likely to pay by phone more often if they could use their phone to track receipts (cited by 60 percent of respondents), manage their personal finances (56 percent), or show proof of insurance (56 percent) or of a valid driver’s license (54 percent).
In addition, more than half of those who currently make mobile payments also said they were highly likely to pay by phone more often if they were offered: instant coupons from retailers when buying by phone (cited by 60 percent of respondents); reward points stored on their phone for future purchases at the store (51 percent); coupons that could be automatically stored on their phone (50 percent); or preferential treatment, such as priority customer service (50 percent).
The changing face of security and access control
Gary Hills, Head of capital development at the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) had some interesting things to say at the recent FMP London event. [ed. I’m pretty sure FMP stands for Facility Management Professional, but I was shocked to see how popular the acronym is.]
The BBC is considering using biometric access controls at its buildings. (FM World)
Hills said the first phase of the BBC’s review had seen 15 control rooms consolidated into one.
He added: “Access ID is used – not biometrics yet, but [we are] looking at it for the second phase. [We] think it will be more acceptable now as they have it in schools and colleges.
“Security is now more a building management role and the information that comes through the control room can be used more widely for building management.”
Adam Vrankulj at Biometric Update ties the story back to recent industry forecasts for the access control market.
I predict some real upheaval in the market for security systems and access control. So far, large security providers have been able to keep their market walled off from competition from the providers of other types of networked information technology. If increasing numbers of facilities management professionals see the world as Gary Hills does, those days are numbered.
Managing the implementation of public sector biometric time-and-attendance
SOUTH AFRICA: Education still pondering biometrics (IT Web)
KUWAIT: ‘Finger’ Attendance To Stay For Firemen (Arab Times)
INDIA: Teachers blocking biometric attendance, DU faces contempt notice (Indian Express)
These three pieces reminded me of: What Human Resource Managers Can Learn from the President of Guinea’s Move to Eliminate Ghost Workers, still worth reading in its entirety.
In order to achieve top to bottom buy-in, a manager should consider distributing the benefits associated with better identity management techniques among shareholders/stakeholders, managers and workers.
A bonus for on-time attendance (for example) might raise the morale of workers who were always on time, while offering some consolation to those who saw their ability to milk the system reduced.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Brainstorming UID with Srikanth Nadhamuni
300,000,000,000,000 biometric queries a day
“…[T]he Aadhaar system was deliberately built as an identity platform as opposed to an end user application, so that government departments and private companies/startups could build their own apps leveraging the platform.”
Technology startups have a huge opportunity to leverage the Aadhaar system (VC Circle)
“This is an ecosystem play.”
Sometimes we get bogged down in the scale of the enrollment challenges associated with UID. It’s good to get back to the amazing scale of possible apps that can be spun out of the ecosystem.
Ghostbusting: Communication is key
SIERRA LEONE: Total Misinformation About Rumoured Deletion Of 7, 000 Teachers From Pay Vouchers (Cocorioko)
The Minister of Education, Dr. Minkailu Bah, was the first to challenge those figures, stating that they were too alarming and therefore subject to further verification by his ministry. The Minister therefore suggested that a Task Force, comprising the staff of the firm that carried out the registration; his ministry’s staff and representative from the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union (SLTU) should conduct a follow up re-verification exercise that should last for 90 days. He asked that Heads of Schools and Proprietors be sufficiently notified so that they too could notify all Teachers on their lists.
During this second phase of verification, Teachers who refuse or do not make themselves available to be properly verified would eventually be deleted from the government pay vouchers, the Minister cautioned.
The SLTU Representative was given a soft copy of this report. Somehow, these representatives from the SLTU decided to send a message to all Teachers around the country, particularly those whose names are on the list for re-verification (7,761), notifying them that they have been maintained as “Ghost Teachers” and therefore their names are going to be deleted from the government pay voucher.
Misinformation shenanigans can’t be ruled out but when people’s jobs are on the line, emotions can run hot. Good communication about the process can help a lot.
What one tweet from a hacked account can do…
Hackers compromise AP Twitter account
AP Twitter feed hacked — no attack at White House (USA Today)
Social media and the stock market went wild, briefly, on Tuesday when this (hacked) Associated Press tweet appeared around 1 p.m.
I’m off to change the @SecurLinx password now.
Nilekani: UID to cover 600,000,000 by 2014
600 million Aadhaar cards by 2014, says UIDAI chairman (CNBC: Money Control)
“Today we have enrolled 380 million of the 1.2 billion people. Our daily processing is about a million people a day. Our goal is to reach 400 million this year and 600 million by 2014,” he said, adding there are between 25,000 to 30,000 enrolment centers in the country.
Noting that this unique identification number is now becoming “an internal passport and gateway” to various services for Indians, Nilekani said by working with various regulators they have ensured that this ID is sufficient to get their services. It enables one to get services quick and hassle free, he said.
You got biometrics in my NFC!
SmartMetrics incorporates NFC into biometric chip card
“This will enable institutions to offer a safer NFC solution than that which is currently available since the NFC Biometric Card will only be turned on allowing NFC communication to be inactive until the user touches the cards fingerprint sensor,” Chaya Hendrick, SmartMetric President and CEO said. “All other NFC technologies are inherently unsafe in that the device is always on providing hackers the ability to capture the NFC information even while the NFC product is not being used. Smartphones are a good example of ‘unsafe’ NFC systems.”
That’s not good: 300,000 UID enrollments lost in hard drive crash
Maharashtra loses data of 3 lakh UID cards (Times of India)
The Maharashtra government has admitted the loss of personal data of about 3 lakh applicants for Aadhaar card, an error that has forced the inconvenience of reapplication on unwitting victims and sparked concerns over possible misuse of the data.
Containing PAN and biometric information, the data was being uploaded by the state information technology department from Mumbai to the central Bangalore server of the Unique Identification Number Authority of India when it got “lost”. “The information is encrypted when uploaded. While the transmission was in progress, the hard disk with the data crashed. When the data was downloaded in Bangalore, it could not be decrypted,” said an official from the state IT department, which is overseeing the enrolment of citizens for Unique Identification number (UID) or Aadhaar card. The data mostly belonged to applicants from Mumbai.
3 lakh = 300,000
That data loss represents a lot of people’s time and effort. It will be inconvenient, to say the least, to redo 300,000 enrollments and the data loss has caused some to worry about UID data security.
If the Times of India reporting is accurate though, the data isn’t “lost” so much as it is unreadable… by anyone.
India & UID: Connecting the ID and financial infrastructure
FinMin to study progress of financial inclusion, direct benefit transfer schemes (The Hindu)
The Finance Ministry has convened a meeting of the heads of state-owned banks on February 6 to take stock of their financial inclusion drive and readiness to roll out direct benefit transfer across the country.
In the run-up to the general elections, which is only a year away, the UPA Government apparently wants the financial inclusion and direct benefit transfer (DBT) initiatives to reach the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.
Industry forecast: $2B in biometrics revenues by 2018 in India
India Biometrics Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2018 (Press Release via TMC: Call center Info)
According to “India Biometrics Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2018”, the biometrics market in India is expected to cross USD 2 Billion revenues by 2018. The main factors which are driving the growth of biometrics market are lack of data protection, improper border security, terrorist threat, population growth and continual technological changes. The challenges which are being faced by the biometric industries are rough hands and cataract problems, lack of innovation, implementation of biometrics at a grassroots level and cost of production.
Survey: Banking customers willing to share more personal information for more personalized service
Internet of Things and Other Tech Consumers Want from Banks: Survey (American Banker)
A global survey Cisco released Monday offers clues to the types of technology consumers want to use to interact with their banks. One finding was that 69% of U.S. consumers would provide more private information in exchange for more personalized service, higher security against identity theft, and greater simplicity in managing their finances. These enhanced services could harness “the internet of things” in which everyday objects transmit information to a network.
More specifically, 83% of consumers said they would be willing to provide details about their financial habits and have their banks be more active advisors in exchange for greater protection from identity theft. “There’s an awareness that identity theft is a very ugly thing to have happen and that banks are naturally going to be targets,” says Al Slamecka, marketing manager, Financial Services, for Cisco. Many U.S. consumers (53%) would be willing to offer up biometric identification like a fingerprint in return for better protection against ID theft.
More interesting findings at the link.
Putting the mosaic together in Boston
The post’s title refers to the mosaic of information that can be arranged into a picture of the events leading up to the savage acts. The other mosaic, the way things were for so many unique individuals, can never be put back together.
How This Photo of the Boston Marathon Gives the FBI a Bounty of Data (Wired)
The photo — click to enlarge — shows a lot of people, what they’re wearing and where they’re positioned within the crush of Marathon fans. It’s important to law enforcement, as it “can be of use in putting the mosaic together,” says Robert McFadden, a former Navy terrorism investigator. Crabbe’s wide-angle panoramic photo “could be one of the many critical pieces of the map of the investigation.”
The panorama photo was one of seven shots Crabbe snapped with her phone during a leisurely stroll and later handed over to investigators.
The Wired article starts with a single data point (data set, really), a photo, and follows it part-way through the process the FBI has used during its investigation of the recent bombings in Boston.
…putting the mosaic together. It’s a good metaphor for how the people charged with figuring out what happened and who did it go about their work. Read the whole thing.
What’s Going on Behind the Scenes of Bombing Investigation? Forensic Scientist, Former DHS Official Shed Light on Tech and Tactics (The Blaze)
“Facial recognition technology will play a very small part,” Schiro told TheBlaze in a phone interview.
“A lot depends on the quality of the images you have to work with,” Schiro continued noting that lighting, angle and other factors could really limit the use of facial recognition in the case. Not only that but there would need to be some sort of match for it to recognize.
Here’s another good article about facial recognition and crime solving. I selected the two paragraphs below because they highlight both the organizational issue of interoperability and the technology issues around matching. There are other interesting insights in the rest of the piece.
Facial Recognition Tech: New Key to Crime Solving (The Fiscal Times)
However, it’s likely the FBI was unsuccessful in identifying the suspects using FR because either they didn’t have a quality image of the wanted persons, or the suspects were not in any of the databases the FBI has access too, Albers said.
While facial recognition technology has high-accuracy when used to match a clear image of a person with another passport-style photo, it is not as effective when used with low-quality images like the ones the FBI released on Thursday. The standard for facial recognition to be accurate requires 90 pixels of resolution between the two eyes of the pictured person. The pictures the FBI released of the suspects were about 12 pixels between the two eyes, said Jim Wayman, the director of the National Biometric Center.
Facial-recognition technology to help track down criminals – Humans are still better at it (Kuwait Times)
Search for Boston bombers likely relied on eyes, not software (Reuters)
These last two reminded me of the (Facial Recognition vs Human) & (Facial Recognition + Human) post from November 2011.
In the Boston case, it looks like there were two barriers to effective use of facial recognition technology in identifying the suspects. On the “evidence” (probe) side, the image quality was poor. On the enrollment (database) side the only “correct” match was likely to be in a very large database such as the Massachusetts DMV database.
If only one of these conditions were true — for example a bad probe against a small database, or good probe against a large database — facial recognition technology might have been of more help.
Crowd-sourcing the ID challenge to a large number of human beings that operate with a lot more intelligence and information than facial recognition algorithms is another option. It’s been used with photographs since at least 1865 and without photographs since at least 1696.
One crowd-sourcing fact that law enforcement officials must consider, however, is that the suspect is almost certainly in the sourced crowd. If the suspect already knows he’s a suspect, that’s not a problem. If he doesn’t already know he’s suspected, that information is the price of getting the public’s help which means facial recognition technology will retain its place in the criminal ID toolkit.
Boston police chief: facial recognition tech didn’t help find bombing suspects (Ars Technica)
“The technology came up empty even though both Tsarnaevs’ images exist in official databases: Dzhokhar had a Massachusetts driver’s license; the brothers had legally immigrated; and Tamerlan had been the subject of some FBI investigation,” the Post reported on Saturday.
Facial recognition systems can have limited utility when a grainy, low-resolution image captured at a distance from a cellphone camera or surveillance video is compared with a known, high-quality image. Meanwhile, the FBI is expected to release a large-scale facial recognition apparatus “next year for members of the Western Identification Network, a consortium of police agencies in California and eight other Western states,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.