In the latest scuffle over biometric data collection in Illinois, Google Inc. this week was hit with a lawsuit over its face-recognition technology, making Google the latest tech giant to be accused of violating an unusual state privacy law that restricts the collection and storage of so-called faceprints. Illinois and Texas are the only two states that regulate how private companies may use biometric data, and Illinois is the only state that authorizes statutory damages for violations.
Market outlook of the biometrics market in the hospitality sector (Research and Markets)
The market research analyst predicts the global biometrics market in the hospitality sector to grow at a CAGR of around 27% during the forecast period. With the increase in cases of time theft, data theft, and other criminal activities in the hospitality sector, the demand for security technologies including a highly reliable and accessible personal authentication and identification systems has increased. Biometrics has emerged as a suitable security and monitoring solution to meet this need as it is based on the behavioral and physiological characteristics of an individual, which is difficult to replicate. Biometrics in the hospitality sector is seen as the most accurate and reliable system because it eliminates manual inputs, identity card exchange, and time theft.
Nigeria saves $11 million after removing 20,000 ‘ghost workers’ (Hindustan Times)
Nigeria’s government has removed more than 20,000 non-existent workers from its payroll following an audit, leading to savings of 2.29 billion naira ($11.53 million) from its monthly wage bill, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday.
The audit used biometric data and a bank verification number (BVN) to identify holders of bank accounts into which salaries were being paid.
Biometrics is not the uncharted Wild West or the strange cousin who lives next door, it is one of the fastest growing markets in the world because it works. It is also predicted to be worth around US$23.3 billion by 2019 with a CAGR of 20.8%. This is one market which is on a steady trajectory thanks to its potential and its ability to reduce fraud and data theft by significant amounts. The proof as they say, is not so much in the pudding as it is in the fingerprint…
Chinese government has arrested hackers it says breached OPM database (Washington Post)
Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the government played no role in the intrusions, which compromised sensitive personal, financial and biometric data of the employees, and data on their families.
The settlement is the latest in a series of payouts Target has made.
In August, Target settled with Visa for $67 million over the data hack. And in March, Target settled a federal class action lawsuit brought by customers for $10 million.
William Braithwaite — a health information privacy and security consultant and chair of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s identity management task force — noted that, no matter how long or complex passwords are, they’re still vulnerable to theft. “The real problem is that passwords are being stolen, not that they’re being broken,” he said.
The only company that acknowledged using the software was Walmart. According to a spokesperson, the retailer tested facial recognition software in stores across several states for several months, but then discontinued the practice earlier this year.
“We were looking for a concrete business rationale … It didn’t have the ROI,” or return on investment, the spokesperson says.
Retailers and biometrics companies have been working together for years trying to figure out how to apply face recognition to the problem of shoplifting. As expected in a retail business, it all comes down to Return on Investment (ROI).
First, here’s what modern shoplifting looks like. It isn’t just teenagers pocketing lip-sticks and candy bars.
HAZEL PARK, Mich. — Police say a 7,600-square-foot warehouse served as the business hub for a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar theft ring that stole items from southeastern Michigan retailers and resold them on the Internet.
Veteran investigators said the shoplifting ring, which swiped as much as $15,000 a day in over-the-counter drugs and other goods from area stores, is the largest they have ever seen.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard called the illegal business “amazing in size and scope” and one that likely operated for years before drug investigators spotted it last month.
The ring operators stored stolen items in the warehouse and sold them on the Internet through eBay, Amazon.com and other sites, investigators said.
Read the whole thing. Criminal organizations like these cause huge losses to retailers, higher prices to consumers, and increased production of dangerous street drugs. More and more, shoplifting is an organized crime problem, and everyone who isn’t in on the scam pays the price in one way or another.
Privacy issues associated with facial recognition in businesses open to the public get a lot of well-deserved attention. Clearly, facial recognition technology could be deployed in businesses open to the public in ways that are injurious to a reasonable person’s expectation of privacy. Brainstorming those ways, however, takes us pretty far away from the ROI calculation that is motivating retail outlets to seek out technologies that can help them reduce losses due to theft.
The privacy focus for facial recognition in retail spaces should be on what data is collected and what happens to it. In this case that means the photos and personal information that goes along with them. The easy part is that retail establishments have been collecting information on suspected shoplifters for a long time now and they already have policies about what they collect, when they collect it, and how long they retain it. The hard part is that new facial recognition technology makes sharing the information easier, securing it more difficult (and important!), and it requires new training for loss prevention staff about what, exactly, the technology is telling them.
That brings us back to the ROI. Obviously, using facial recognition to prevent a $15,000 organized crime heist helps the ROI calculation. Using facial recognition to interrupt a shopper based upon a “false positive” ID hurts the ROI calculation. So there’s at least a little bit of good news here for privacy: The ROI calculation that is so important to the business’s decision whether or not to use a facial recognition system does have a built-in way to account for at least some privacy concerns.
Banks drawn to vein pattern recognition biometrics (Electronics News)
Vein recognition technology is restricted to checking vein patterns of living body tissues and offers reliable reading. Moreover, vein patterns are nearly impossible to counterfeit. Many banks worldwide consequently have incorporated this technology into their ATMs to improve the user authentication procedure of these machines.
While the ease of duplicating fingerprints to hack biometric systems is regularly overstated, it is a possibility. I’ve never even heard of anyone trying to spoof a finger- or palm vein biometric system.
The trade-off for vascular biometrics is that the sensors are typically larger and more expensive than fingerprint readers and there are fewer vendors offering vein technology. Nevertheless, certain deployments recommend themselves well to vein biometrics.
More companies are turning to voice biometrics for security purposes (Digital Trends)
Technology known as voice biometrics seems to be the next big thing in keeping your accounts safe and sound, especially with the alarming rise in call-in center fraud. In this latest version of trickery, criminals take advantage of human error and human emotions when they dial into a customer service line, describe some fictional situation that garners the representative’s sympathy, and subsequently gain access to sensitive data and, of course, money. $10 billion worth last year, in fact.
The purpose of identity management technology is to force fraudsters into social engineering. Identity management technologies can still help with that, too.
Keeping your passwords safely in the palm of your hand (electropages)
…[C]ontactless palm vein recognition technology is nothing new and was first demonstrated back in 2002 and is widely used. It works by extracting feature data from biometric data. With previous technologies, confidential data was encrypted with this feature data, but when decrypting, the feature data extracted from biometric data would usually be matched with the encrypted data. This does not present a problem when used in a personal device, such as a laptop or smartphone, but when used via an open network such as in the cloud, a more secure decryption technology is necessary to prevent leaks of biometric data.
The article discusses encryption within biometric templates using Fujitsu’s palm vein technology, but the idea would seem to be applicable across biometric modalities.
Ministry sources said the application of fingerprint attendance system uncovered many employees who continued to receive their monthly salaries although they were absent from duty for several years, in addition to those who traveled abroad without permission and others held behind bars on legal issues.
The same sources affirmed that the authorities next month will start deducting salaries and hold absentees accountable for their actions, along with those who skip the fingerprint attendance system on a regular basis.
They noted the implementation of the system has uncovered the reality of all problems and complications the ministry endured throughout the years, and last week, about 3,000 of the estimated 7,500 employees were compelled to apply for leave, and “the mass leave application” was to avoid their inclusion in the fingerprint attendance system, as they fall in the category of ‘absentees and evaders’ of the fingerprint attendance system.
With Hello enabled, logging in to the machine is as simple as sitting down in front of it. The lock screen shows the Windows Hello “eye” looking around, and the detection is near-instantaneous. It takes longer for Windows to dismiss the lock screen and show the desktop than it does for it to recognize you in the first place. In fact, it’s so quick that a kind of delay had to be built in. If there were no delay, locking your PC with Windows+L (or the Start menu option) would be nigh impossible.
Customers using one of the new Irving ATMs download a mobile app and set up the transactions they wish to make when they reach the ATM on their mobile phone. They can then chose to have a QR code scanned by the ATM, tap their NFC phone against the ATM or have their iris scanned to authenticate themselves in order to complete the transaction they previously logged inside the mobile app.
This “grab bag” ID regime is interesting. Throw in Bluetooth, fingerprints, RFID and chip-on-card technology and the number of permutations of possible ID deployments goes up even higher. This is good news both for consumers and for business with ID management challenges.
Financial inclusion and women empowerment (Economic Times)
In 2014, the Bhamashah initiative was refurbished with a broader coverage of gender empowerment, financial inclusion and family-based benefits. It now provides end-to-end delivery system for individuals and various family-based benefits of the government’s social welfare schemes — like the PDS, pension funds, health insurance, MNREGA and scholarships — through a centralised e-government platform by leveraging the enhanced electronic infrastructure of the state.
These transfers are made to the bank account of the woman of the house through the Bhamashah smart card, which also provides biometric identification of family members. The card is also a co-branded debit card with the participation of several banks.
The merits of financial inclusion are deeply rooted in citizen empowerment. Access to credit is a critical link between economic opportunities and outcomes. By empowering individuals and families to cultivate economic opportunities, financial inclusion can be a powerful agent for strong and inclusive growth. With women constituting half the population, their equal participation in society is imperative for sustainable development.
One of the important assertions Amartya Sen makes in “Development as Freedom” is that empowering women in developing countries through education and financial inclusion is a tried-and-true way toward economic development for a country as a whole.
He won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics.
Biometric technologies can help make inclusion programs more efficient and more affordable.
European leaders try to slow migrants as thousands enter (Toronto Star)
The leaders decided that reception capacities should be boosted in Greece and along the Balkans migration route to shelter 100,000 more people as winter looms.
They also agreed to expand border operations and make full use of biometric data like fingerprints as they register and screen migrants, before deciding whether to grant them asylum or send them home.
USAA tops 1 million biometric users (Houston Chronicle) — San Antonio-based USAA reported Thursday that more than 1 million of its members have signed up to use its biometric technology on its mobile app.
Global Biometric Market 2015 at $7.0 Billion, Rising to $44.2 Billion by 2021 (University Chronicle)
Biometric modalities include hybrid fingerprint / palm print, facial recognition, iris image, and voice recognition. The global biometrics market is $7.0 billion in 2014, rising to $44.2 billion by 2021. Biometrics revenue and device shipment forecasts are segmented by modality and market segment. There are four market segments, law enforcement, border control which includes government ID systems, workplace access, and consumer ID.
According to Susan Eustis, leader of the team that prepared the study, “Biometrics represent a multi-billion dollar industry because the devices provide personal identity protection. Biometrics is used by civil authorities to permit the organization of people into units of government that are a cohesive group of people, not intruded upon by outsiders. Biometrics provides a cornerstone of law enforcement agencies with fingerprint ID.”
Implemented by Save the Children, the exercise uses easy-to-use and inexpensive equipment to read students’ fingerprints to record daily attendance.
The biometric information is then used to identify those students who meet the conditional threshold of 80 percent school attendance and, therefore, qualify for a cash transfer twice a term.
The cash transfer goes to their household head, whose biometric details have also been captured and linked to a bank account to facilitate electronic household cash transfers.
Many families in the developing world face difficult decisions about whether to invest in a child’s education (even if it’s “free”) or to maximize the family’s current earnings by putting children to work. Programs like the one described above have made a difference in the lives of millions in Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia and backing up the cash transfers with a biometric audit trail should help insure that available funds are used efficiently.