Tiny little computers and sensors are in development all across the globe. And while their development is primarily geared toward a better understanding of our health, there’s another emerging application for their use — biometric security, where your voice and skin and eyeballs are more secure than any password could ever be.
On the one hand, this can sound crazy and too fictitious to be true, especially since it’s been a staple for just about every single sci-fi movie and TV show ever. On the other, we’ve basically already accepted the use of our bodies as sources of information and security.
EFF Sues FBI For Access to Facial-Recognition Records (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
As the FBI is rushing to build a “bigger, faster and better” biometrics database, it’s also dragging its feet in releasing information related to the program’s impact on the American public. In response, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today filed a lawsuit to compel the FBI to produce records to satisfy three outstanding Freedom of Information Act requests that EFF submitted one year ago to shine light on the program and its face-recognition components.
Since early 2011, EFF has been closely following the FBI’s work to build out its Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometrics database, which would replace and expand upon the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). The new program will include multiple biometric identifiers, such as iris scans, palm prints, face-recognition-ready photos, and voice data, and that information will be shared with other agencies at the local, state, federal and international levels. The face recognition component is set to launch in 2014.
The text of the actual suit is also available at the EFF site [pdf] here.
Adam Vrankulj, covering the topic at Biometric Update, recalls that “The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a FOIA lawsuit against the FBI in April to obtain documents related to the NGI.”
That’s a good catch, and it offers the opportunity to revisit the EPIC suit, assessed at the time here, in: EPIC sues FBI over biometrics FOIA request, where we noted EPIC’s tendency to overshoot the mark where technology is concerned.
The EFF requests are, to summarize, for:
1. Records related to the FBI’s proposed relationship with states to “build out its facial recognition database”
2. The FBI’s plans to combine civil and criminal data
3. Records related to the reliability of facial recognition capabilities
When compared to those of EPIC, the EFF FOIA activities certainly reflect a more moderate approach that would appear to have a higher likelihood of bearing fruit. The EFF seems carefully to avoid asking for information that the FBI can’t provide, and it would appear to be an easier request to comply with than EPIC’s.
The EFF’s FOIA request/lawsuit has borne fruit.
FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database by Next Year (EFF) Read te whole thing.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said yesterday they have sent the list of identified informal settlers residing in eight identified priority waterways in Metro Manila who are scheduled to be relocated by next December.
Once shanties have been removed, the government can start with the flood-preventing projects which are hampered by the presence of illegal structures along the waterways.
The move is part of the flood control master plan in a bid to solve the perennial flood problems in the Metro Manila.
Biometric Authentication Provides Better Mobile Device Security (Press Release via Marketwatch)
“Today’s phones already enable contactless payments, mobile wallets and mobile banking, and these changes signal the need for secure services that can be performed wirelessly or with a smartphone,” says Denise Culver, research analyst with Heavy Reading Insider and author of the report. “And as smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices continue to proliferate and provide users with powerful, mobile, networked multimedia computing options, the need to secure them will become even greater.”
The drive behind biometric authentication on smartphones will occur from both the consumer and enterprise, Culver says
(No)where (Now)here: Two Gaze-activated Dresses by Ying Gao (Dezeen Magazine)
Fashion designer Ying Gao has fabricated a pair of dresses that writhe around and light up when someone stares at them (+ movie).
The gaze-activated dresses are embedded with eye-tracking technology that responds to an observer’s gaze by activating tiny motors to move parts of the dresses in mesmerising patterns.
The Nigerian Immigration Service has set up a biometric database for all arrested illegal immigrants across the country.
The agency said the initiative had become necessary because of security challenges in the country.
…and Nigeria has serious security challenges.
Israel’s pilot biometric database will begin operations in two weeks, Deputy Interior Minister Fania Kirshenbaum announced Monday.
The database was supposed to have started working in November 2011, but its commencement was delayed due to longer-than-expected legislative proceedings, an appeal to the High Court of Justice by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (which was turned down) and a labor dispute between the Population and Immigration Authority and the Finance Ministry. This dispute was resolved two weeks ago, removing the last obstacle for implementation of the project.
Disoriented, Man With ID Is Still a Puzzle (NY Times)
Facial recognition can be useful for identifying people who can not identify themselves, but this case is complicated by an international border and migration patterns. It also helps if someone is looking for the person in question.
The market for Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and other fingerprint biometric technologies account for the largest share of the global biometrics market and is expected to retain its dominance in the market in the coming future. This sector is valued at USD 2.8 billion in 2010 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 19.6% to reach nearly USD 6.6 billion by 2015.
The facial structure, the iris, veins, and voice recognition together constitute the second largest segment. This sector is worth an estimated $1.4 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach $3.5 billion in 2015, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9%.
Next Generation Biometric Technologies Market – Global Forecast & Analysis (2012 – 2017) (Research and Markets) — The global biometric technology, types, and applications market is expected to reach $13.89 billion by 2017 at an estimated CAGR of 18.7%. North America is a market leader in biometric technology market.
Lithuania’s Neurotechnology releases SentiSight 3.2 for object recognition (Baltic Course) — Provider of biometric identification technologies releases SentiSight 3.2 for object recognition.
…otherwise there wouldn’t be so many.
“We’ve spent billions and we have nothing to show for it,” said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) at a June 19 hearing addressing lagging implementation of fingerprint and iris recognition technology. Mica, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations, noted various examples of flawed federal biometric ID efforts, including the Transportation Workers Identification Credential, or TWIC card, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s new pilot’s license — which does not include a photo of the licensee.
“It’s mind boggling that we have nothing close to meeting with the intent of the 2004 law,” said Mica. “Is there any sense of urgency here?” asked Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the subcommittee’s ranking minority member.
Witnesses included managers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, FAA, Customs and Border Protection and the State Department.
It’s stunning that pilots licenses still don’t have photographs on them. Lots of good information awaits those who click the link.
Biometrics Offer Promise for More Secure Smartphones (Interactive Intelligence)
As mobile devices, smartphones and tablets become more prolific, the need to secure them grows exponentially, and biometric authentication offers that security, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Insider, a subscription research service from Heavy Reading.
Much more at the link.
Officials Confident In TWIC Readers As Comment Period Closes (Homeland Security Today)
As the comment period for identification card readers for US ports draws to a close Thursday, officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) remain confident that the overall personal identity verification program for port workers is on track.
Tweet Chat on Biometric Technology Resumes in July (M2SYS blog)
In the mean time, some of the earlier chats might tide you over.
Biometrics in the cloud
Biometrics for global development
The global biometrics industry
Aadhaar opens up new revenue streams for domestic IT firms (Economic Times) — Don’t forget. UID aims to be an information age infrastructure that can underpin economic growth both through direct transfers to poor people and as a platform for delivering private sector services.
Google’s Patent on Facial Passwords Published; Analysts Not Impressed (Mobile Bloom) — “Fool proof biometrics are yet to be designed and according to experts, this technology won’t come close to achieving it either.”
Nothing is fool proof. If easy-to-use facial recognition leads to more people protecting their mobile handset with some sort of access control technology, that’s probably a good thing. The process described at the link is actually pretty sophisticated and would probably suffice for 99.99% of mobile device users.
No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.
Substitute “technology” for “art” and it’s still true.
In the Sunday edition yesterday, the Washington Post ran a long piece above the fold on facial recognition, photo databases, and law enforcement.
State photo-ID databases become troves for police (Washington Post)
It looks like the issues we have been discussing are finally going mainstream.
For fashion tips on how to beat facial recognition, check out CV Dazzle.
It’s too bad ghost workers don’t earn ghost money.
Nigeria: Taming the Ghost Workers (Indepth Africa)
The ghost workers were detected through the biometric initiative undertaken by the Federal Government. Okonjo-Iweala declared that it was shocking that the Federal Government had survived it this far considering the level of graft on the public payroll. During the last exercise, FG uncovers 46,821 ghost workers!
Accordingly, the minister said the biometric exercise would be pursued vigorously in the coming days with a view to plugging loopholes and to save funds for the government to deploy in critical areas of need.
N118.9billion was saved.
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If that’s not some serious RoI, somebody has a lot of explaining to do.
Identifying Solutions to Patient ID (HealthLeaders)
Patient identification is a fundamental building block of the emerging accountable care organization trend, according to Bill Spooner, CIO of Sharp HealthCare, which operates four acute care and three specialty care hospitals with an approximate total of 2,000 licensed beds in the San Diego region.
“The important thing is to be able to get accurately identified patients into your database and to be able to link them out to your transaction systems so everybody knows who they are so you can effectively engage in care management,” Spooner says.
The United States in particular faces a hurdle that other developed countries do not: By law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is prohibited from establishing a national patient identifier.
Providers are coping in several ways. Technology exists to flag suspected duplicate identities with varying degrees of certainty. Some are turning to technology offered by suppliers of their electronic health records.
Other providers are relying upon technology that has been employed by payers for years. And for those systems that can make the technological jump, patients are now being positively identified during every visit using smart cards with photo IDs attached, or even by biometric means, such as fingerprint, palm, or retinal scans. [ed. The revolution will not be retinal scans; bold emphasis mine]
“If you can’t uniquely identify your patients within whatever data you’re analyzing, you’re going to misread and therefore make executive decisions that are not spot-on,[a]nd you make some big strategic mistakes because of that.”
The lengthy piece is very much worth a longer look.