Also, a note about ID’s for the transgender Indians… Govt sets Aadhaar rolling; 19,000 transgenders get their cards
See also: India: Gender Minorities Need, Fear UID
Also, a note about ID’s for the transgender Indians… Govt sets Aadhaar rolling; 19,000 transgenders get their cards
See also: India: Gender Minorities Need, Fear UID
Analysts forecast the Global Biometrics Technology market for Financial Services to grow at a CAGR of 40 percent over the period 2011–2014.
Very Odd “Facial Recognition” Article at smartplanet.com
Two things jumped out at me while reading San Francisco bars: Buy a drink, become profiled by cameras by Charlie Osborne at smartplanet.com: the scare quotes around forms of the word ‘anonymous’ and a novel formulation of privacy.
The scare quotes are here…
Venturebeat reports that Chicago-based startup Scenetap has combined “anonymous” facial recognition technology in venues with mobile technology so socialites can choose where next to go on a Friday based on their preferences — all provided through cameras in different venues.
Scenetap promises the technology collects data “anonymously” and nothing is recorded or stored, and it is based on sophisticated profiling technology to approximate sex and age.
But why the scare quotes? By any definition, what Scenetap does is anonymous. It is specifically designed and marketed to clubs and their patrons as a means for gathering demographic information and that information cannot be traced back to a specific individual because it uses no individual identifier such as a person’s name (or cookie, but we’ll get to that later). To go further and collect personally identifying information would require a real facial recognition system which would be very expensive, require a large investment in training and labor and probably wouldn’t provide a sufficient return on investment (ROI) in a club/bar setting to make the effort worthwhile.
Then there’s the conception of privacy in this passage.
This type of technology is already prevalent online, where customer preferences and habits are tracked — in order to recommend products or pages you may be interested in. As we cannot see the data being collated, it seems less of a privacy issue than knowing that cameras above are observing you — even though the information collected about your online activity is far more vast.
There’s absolutely no equivalence between Scenetap and smartplanet.com. The image below shows that smartplanet.com places two cookies on a visitor’s computer and runs seven programs in the background of which most users would be completely unaware: three for tracking the user; three for connecting to social media; and one to monitor the site’s performance. One of the trackers, Crowd Science, even claims to be able to tell smartplanet.com about users’ interests, preferences, lifestyles, attitudes, opinions and incomes.
Real world demographic analysis tools like Scenetap do no such thing. It’s a dead certainty that smartplanet.com is collecting far more (and far more individualized) data, a fact that is acknowledged at the end of the quote.
Then there’s the part where transparency and privacy are inversely related because “As we cannot see the data being collated, it seems less of a privacy issue than knowing that cameras above are observing you.”
“Out of sight; out of mind” and “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” aren’t theories of privacy one sees many people advancing these days. By this logic, bricks-and-mortar demographics analysis can attain smartplanet.com’s level of respect for individual privacy by collecting vastly more information and using facial recognition technology to track individuals as long as they hide the cameras.
I don’t want this post to come across as grousing about what web sites do. The folks at smartplanet.com are working hard to put food on their family just like the rest of us and people should understand that if they aren’t paying, they aren’t the customer; they’re the product being sold. That’s just the way it is. This is completely uncontroversial to those who operate in the online economy; but let a bricks-and-mortar organization deploy a tool that collects far less information and there’s a tendency for those in the online world to come down with a collective case of the vapors. Physician, heal thyself.
Ben Ephson served the warning on Accra-based Radio Gold’s Power Drive morning show on Wednesday and according to him, voter verification would not be a panacea to vote rigging or electoral fraud in the December 7 polls.
He added that what will be useful is vigilance from all stakeholders to make the electoral process free and fair. Ben Ephson further added that the best the biometric voters register could do would be to prevent multiple voting. It would however not be able to stop people from altering figures generated from the polls.
“Panacea” has nothing to do with it. Without verification, the biometric enrollment exercise undertaken in Ghana can only tell you how many bad credentials (that can still become a vote) have been issued by legitimate authorities.
Without biometric verification, the whole enrollment exercise turns on the ID document. A document-dependent electoral system can be successful if three conditions are met: The process whereby legitimate documents are issued is very rigorous; The document is extremely difficult to counterfeit; And there is no significant corruption of the ballot-stuffing or ballot destroying variety.
Rigor in the document creation would include such measures as a real-time biometric query against the database of registered voters before issuing a new registration card in order to prevent duplicate registrations. Making a document difficult to forge involves high tech printing techniques or embedded biometrics for later verification. The corruption part is a function of culture and institutional controls.
Are these three conditions satisfied in Ghana? No; No & I don’t know.
♦ No, there is no real-time check to prevent issuing multiple cards to the same individual
♦ No, the printer used to create the card is a very ordinary desk-top printer
♦ I don’t know much about Ghana’s cultural and institutional ability to resist corruption but judging by published editorials, at least some people are very worried about potential shenanigans.
Avoiding over-reliance on the physical ID document is perhaps the greatest benefit of using biometrics in elections. If there is no biometric voter verification, the only voting requirement is to have a more-or-less convincing registration card with a more-or-less convincing photo on it.
Biometric verification by making the finger rather than the paper the overriding criterion for receiving a blank ballot, confers two tremendous advantages. Multiple voting can be made extremely difficult even for people who have multiple government issued registration cards. Second, ballot stuffing can be curbed because an audit of the total number of votes recorded can be compared to the number of fingerprints verified on election day as legitimate voters.
By creating the a perception that the electoral apparatus is more effective than it really is, implementing a biometric voter enrollment system without biometric voter verification may even lead to more electoral uncertainty than the system being replaced.
A well-thought-out biometric voting system can reduce fraudulent voting to very low levels but it’s also possible to spend a lot of money on a leaky system that involves biometrics without accomplishing much in the way improving the integrity of the vote. There is reason to fear that the Ghanain system more closely resembles the latter than the former.
Ghana has since made statements indicating a desire to biometrically verify voters’ identities on election day.
Verification hardware to be tested
On the rising tide of insecurity, Moro disclosed that biometric machines had been ordered to enhance the collation of biometric data of anyone coming into the country and going out.
It’s hard to argue with commenter 9ja4Justice.
India: Voter ID may double up as Aadhaar card (Deccan Herald)
“We will have the unique identification numbers provided by the UID printed on the election IDs,” Quraishi said. The single ID would enable the holder to prove his elector credentials and also access the benefits of government services under Aadhaar.
Dubai Visitors trying to slip into the country using fake identity documents are increasingly being caught at Dubai International Airport thanks to new passport-reading and biometrics technology designed to root out fraud.
Using the human body as a unique link between gadgets will not lead to novel biometric modalities.
Recently, a couple of different groups have created prototypes that use the human body as a link between two gadgets, one mobile and the other, stationary. The first used an acoustic signal transmitted from a smartphone through the user’s body to a doorknob to unlock the door. The second used electrical signals to transmit an MP3 file through the users body to a speaker system. That’s pretty cool.
In their most basic use cases (using the body as a wire), these innovations accomplish little that couldn’t be accomplished with a USB cable. But if these technologies come to incorporate a biometrics and ID management element, they could kick start a revolution in mobile computing and ID management.
It’s not hard to see how future iterations of similar systems might use biometric modalities already in use — such as integrating a fingerprint reader with the conduction sensor for authenticating a data link — but both sets of innovators have something more profound in mind: using the electrical/acoustic properties of the body itself as an identifier.
The company is looking at different applications. Bhikshesvaran said the company was exploring the notion that it could end up being a new biometric footprint, since bodies all possess a unique energy signature. The company hasn’t quite figured that one out yet.
Amento and his colleagues think they can add another layer of security to the smartphone key, too — one that’s based on the unique properties of people’s skeletons. Because of differences in bone lengths and density, people’s skeletons should carry vibrations differently, they think.
My guess is that the fingerprint verification at one end of the link will be relatively straightforward, provide strong authentication and will work well enough to render the development of the new conduction/acoustic modalities impractical even over the very long term.
This is because in order to displace the well-understood modality of fingerprints and in order to make developing them worthwhile, the novel approaches will have to prove themselves to offer advantages far in excess of fingerprints (in order to justify the R&D outlay) and I don’t see this happening.
Q: Are the electronic and acoustic properties of individuals stable?
A: Compared to fingerprints, I doubt it. Changing the chemistry or mass of a body will lead to minute changes in its electric or acoustic properties. Drinking a sports drink will change electrolyte levels and cause a tiny change in electric properties. Visiting a buffet, wearing a heavy backpack or changing shoes will change the acoustic properties of a person at least a little.
Q: Are the electronic and acoustic properties of individuals unique?
A: Compared to fingerprints, I doubt it. Fingerprints can be as funky as they want to be without killing anyone; not so with the chemistry behind conductivity or the skeletal structure of a person.
Q: How easy is it to measure the properties involved?
A: Conductive and acoustic properties may be unique enough for a team of doctors with infinite resources and lots of time to make a positive ID but not unique enough to enable a very fast, cheap and confident identification.
But the biggest reason these novel approaches are extremely unlikely to be adopted in the competitive marketplace is the very nature of the technology (skin on hardware) lends itself perfectly to the cheap, well-understood and reliable fingerprint tech. No other modality actual or theoretical stands to recommend itself more highly than finger/hand based biometrics and no profit seeking organization will likely devote the resources necessary to establish the reliability conduction/acoustic biometrics that will at best only ever be equal to fingerprints.
The more novel approaches will probably only ever be used as a method of weak authentication such as liveness testing so as to thwart the old rubber finger trick.
Lately, most any mention of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in the media will have focused on the crisis in UK border management. To day a small item on the UKBA gives us cause to contemplate not three hour waits to clear customs, but the Caribbean paradise of Antigua & Barbuda.
|Antigua & Barbuda. Source: CIA World Factbook|
UKBA to offer one-time mobile biometric clinic in Antigua & Barbuda (WorkPermit.com)
The UK Border Agency will provide visa applicants from Antigua & Barbuda with a local Mobile Biometric Clinic on 18 May 2012. The one-time mobile biometric clinic will be located in St John’s, Antigua.
Recently the UK expanded the biometric system to require all applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) applying to stay in the UK for more than 6 months to register their fingerprints and digital facial image.
Govt banks to install 60,000 more ATMs (Business Standard)
Customised ATMs for rural areas are also being tested. “The machines used in metros may not be relevant in rural areas,” said Jaivinder Gill, managing director, NCR Corporation. He said the company had developed machines that could interact with the user in 23 languages and use biometric authorisation as a safety feature if the user was not comfortable with PIN identification.
New number plates: Senate slashes cost to N8,400 (Punch)
Among a host of other fee reductions associated with the regulation of motor vehicles, the Nigerian Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs has recommended that the Police cease implementation of the Biometric Central Motor Registry, saying that doing so would save vehicle owners N3,500 and avoid duplication and additional burdens on Nigerians.
For background, see: Police flagoff biometric registration of automobiles
EC To Undertake Continuous Voter’s Registration Next Year (Ghana Soccernet)
The Electoral Commission (EC) would undertake continuous voter?s registration exercise at the District Electoral Offices of the Commission next year, for those who had attained 18 years and those who could not register during this year?s biometric voter?s registration exercise.
Good thinking. Eventually, organizations have to switch from a “system start-up” mode to a “system maintenance” mode.
This is not the most convenient time for Britain to be undergoing a complete rethink about how it manages its border — the best time is always before a crisis — but the UK may no longer have the luxury of choosing the timing of a significant revamp.
UK Border watchdog attacks airport gridlock (Financial TImes – Reg. Req.)
Bad management of diminishing numbers of staff and failure to make the most of electronic scanning gates are behind the immigration gridlock at airports, says a report by the border watchdog.
John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, hit at the lack of any “cohesive” management plan at Heathrow, at a time when the Home Office faces mounting pressure to end long queues at the UK’s largest airport as well as Stansted and the Eurostar before this summer’s Olympic Games.
UK Border Scandal Update: Independent Inspector’s Report Published
UK: Airlines Warn Government of Potential Gridlock this Weekend
Does £9m Really Buy 60 Immigration Agents?
UK Struggling with Both Halves of International Traveler ID
The dedicated home for the Unisys Security Index is a gold mine of information about how security issues are perceived by the public in Mexico, Colombia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Germany, New Zealand, US, Belgium, Spain, Australia, UK, Netherlands and globally.
In general Unisys has found that individuals have shifted their attention from national security issues to individual security issues and (except Brazil & Mexico) are more focused on information security than physical security.
The video below shows that people are extremely receptive to biometric ID management solutions for better security.
Mobile Security & the Bi-annual Unisys Security Index Survey (Help Net Security)
Unisys also surveyed U.S. respondents on their preferences for securing their mobile work devices when used outside of the workplace. Fifty-five percent of U.S. respondents said they prefer using complex passwords (combinations of uppercase and lower case letters, symbols and numbers) for mobile security.
Biometrics such as fingerprints, voice or facial images were the second most preferred method, with 37 percent of respondents showing preference for one or more of those methods for protecting mobile devices outside the workplace.
Nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents said they prefer simple passwords for securing their mobile devices outside the workplace.
“This is a worrisome finding for executives and enterprise IT managers,” Vinsik added. “Passwords alone simply do not provide a sufficient level of security to protect sensitive data against today’s sophisticated cyber criminals. Organizations need to leverage the use of facial and voice biometrics that most smart phones are capable of supporting today.”
Central Ohio schools’ use of new technology has prompted safety concerns for some parents, 10TV’s Tanisha Mallett reported Tuesday.
Biometric scanners store information that can be accessed when a finger touches a scanner.
Tina, a mother of a middle school student, said that she was concerned about privacy rights.
“To me, this is a total civil rights violation for myself and for my child,” said Tina, who did not want to use her last name.
Stories like this are a lot rarer than they used to be, still…
If schools are unable to keep data secure, biometric template information is the last thing that should concern parents.
Schools also keep academic records, behavioral records, medical records, socio-economic assessments for administering school lunch programs, home address information, counseling notes and a ton of other information that is much more sensitive than a fingerprint template consisting of a string text characters that cannot be used to learn anything about a student.
Other posts on biometrics and schools.
Now, pension disbursal through smart cards (The Hindu)
US relaxes visa norms for renewals (The Hindu)
Nancy Acieng stands outside the door of Pride Microfinance Limited, a bank in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. A fairly educated woman, she works hard to earn money selling fresh food and fruit from a roadside stall.
She says her hard work used to go to waste because her husband routinely stole her ATM card and withdrew the contents of her account. But thanks to the bank’s new security measure that requires customers’ fingerprints to withdraw money, she now has full control over her finances.
“He still beats me sometimes,” Acieng says. “But he cannot steal my money anyhow, anymore. Using the fingerprint technology changed and improved my security – both physical and financial.”
EC analyzes voter registration today (Modern Ghana)
The exercise, which began on March 25, 2012, officially ended on May 5, 2012, and though the EC is yet to come out with the official figures, it is believed that about 12 million Ghanaians have registered to vote in the December 2012 elections…
More on suspected multiple registrations at the link.
Here’s the AP’s take:
Controversial immigration program goes ahead despite Gov. Patrick’s objections
The program appears to be popular with elected law enforcement officials (county sheriffs) but less so among other elected leaders (the governor and some city councils).
|Click here for DHS ICE coverage PDF.|
The comprehensive PFD at the ICE site has detail for each state. The only participating county in Massachusetts led to the detection of roughly the same number of re-arrested criminal aliens as in entire state of Missouri.
See post below for a national perspective on Secure Communities.
The highest priority of any law enforcement agency is to protect the communities it serves. When it comes to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses its limited resources on those who have been arrested for breaking criminal laws.
ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators. Secure Communities is a simple and common sense way to carry out ICE’s priorities. It uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership between ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that helps to identify criminal aliens without imposing new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a full update of every county participating in the Secure Communities initiative and when they came onboard. Click here for the full PDF.
Here’s what the map looked like in November 2011.
In other news, it appears that by the time the next report comes out, Massachusetts may be colored green…
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson welcomed the news that the program, designed to determine suspects’ immigration status, will go into effect statewide May 15. “It’s a big victory for the law enforcement community,” said Hodgson, who had fought to bring the program to the state. “It’s a big victory for the citizens of Massachusetts.” When a suspect is brought to a Bristol County jail, his or her biometric fingerprint information will be shared not only with the Federal Bureau of Investigation — as is currently the case — but also with immigration officials, he said.