UC Davis develops mobile ultrasound fingerprint reader

Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor may take smartphone security to new level (Science Daily)

The basic concepts behind the researchers’ technology are akin to those of medical ultrasound imaging. They created a tiny ultrasound imager, designed to observe only a shallow layer of tissue near the finger’s surface. “Ultrasound images are collected in the same way that medical ultrasound is conducted,” said Horsley. “Transducers on the chip’s surface emit a pulse of ultrasound, and these same transducers receive echoes returning from the ridges and valleys of your fingerprint’s surface.”

Malaysia: UN Commision recommends biometrics for Burmese refugees

Introduce Biometric ICs To Regulate Refugee Situation In Malaysia, Suggests UNHCR (Malaysian Digest)

In the face of the recent influx of ethnic Rohingyas fleeing from persecution in Myanmar, Malaysia finds itself caught between encountering a humanitarian crisis and having to deal with the security and social problems that are bound to arise when asylum-seekers are allowed to swarm into the nation.

UNHCR is the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

There’s a lot of information on this tragic situation at the link.

Philippines: Electoral commission deletes some quantity of valid biometric voter registrations

Biometric data of early registrants lost – Comelec (InterAksyon)

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez did not say how much data had been lost, only acknowledging it was “not a very large number.”

He said they have written and otherwise informed affected voters “to come in and provide biometrics again.”

Biometric registration is mandatory for participation in the general election next year.

Find Biometrics conclues monthlong focus on healthcare

Healthcare Month: The Remote Care Revolution (Find Biometrics)

Biometric technology, as we outlined in this month’s primer, can be used not only for security in healthcare and patient identification but also as a way of taking the hospital home. While the former two of these technology paradigms is focused on authentication and the latter on monitoring and data analytics, they both serve to address the same larger issue in hospitals and clinics: resource efficiency.

There is a wealth of great information at FindBiometrics.com

Useful perspective on face recognition technology

Is facial recognition tech really a threat to privacy? (BBC)

Facebook has decided not to offer its photo-sharing app Moments in Europe because of regulator concerns over its facial recognition technology.

And earlier this week, talks between US tech firms and privacy campaigners broke down over fears about how the industry is planning to use the tech.

So why is there so much concern over facial recognition tech, and is it justified? We unpick some of the issues.

ID and the internet of things

The Internet of Everything: Is your company ready for machine intelligence? (VentureBeat)

While most of us are familiar with biometric authentication, machine learning may make authentication effortless. “It’s about convenience,” says Zaki. “Our vision is that authentication should be happening in the background continuously.”

If you’re typing on your phone, your fingerprint can be immediately detected; if you’re looking at your screen, your iris can be scanned. Multifactor authentication can include a number of things…

It’s going to be a programmatic challenge, but creating a “smart environment” that takes in bits of information from all available sources in order to identify individuals for logical and physical access control is becoming a possibility.

US: Making progress on visa issuance problems

US begins to fix visa problems, big backlog to clear (India Today)

“The database responsible for handling biometric clearances has been rebuilt and is being tested,” Kirby said, adding that 33 U.S. embassies and consulates, representing 66 percent of normal capacity, are now online and issuing visas.

The exact nature of the problems that caused the US visa system to ground to a halt hasn’t been made clear to the public. In articles informing this post and the previous one, “hardware” and “database” have been the only technical specifics mentioned. It’s hard to say what went wrong without knowing exactly how the State Department’s system was built, but it looks like things are returning to normal.

More progress will help clear the backlog of visa applications.

US: Visa systems issues related to hardware failure

Hardware glitch in Washington freezes US visa issuance worldwide (Times of India)

The State Department said the June 9 failure was preventing it from processing and transmitting the mandatory security-related biometric data checks routinely carried out at embassies and consulates worldwide, and it could take up to a week to fix it.

This Wednesday release from the State Department doesn’t contain much detail that isn’t included in the Times of India article linked above.

US: Face recognition ID check trial concluded at Dulles Airport

First phase of facial recognition trial at Virginia airport ends (Planet Biometrics)

The system captures live facial images of travelers entering the U.S., and compares those images against those stored electronically in travelers’ passports.

The most interesting thing is that this hasn’t been standard operating procedure for years already, as it’s hard to conceive of a simpler facial recognition application. The hardest part would seem to be retrieving the image from the chip embedded in most modern passports.

US: Face recognition code of conduct confab loses privacy advocates

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has convened a privacy multistakeholder process regarding the commercial use of facial recognition technology. On December 3, 2013, the NTIA announced that the goal of the second multistakeholder process is to develop a voluntary, enforceable code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to facial recognition technology in the commercial context.

Privacy Advocates Walk Out in Protest Over U.S. Facial-Recognition Code of Conduct (The Intercept)

“At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they’ve never heard of are tracking their every movement — and identifying them by name – using facial recognition technology,” the privacy advocates wrote in a joint statement.

The quoted article is full of links to NTIA online resources.

An “open letter” of resignation on the part of the named privacy advocates lists their concerns here.
Concluding paragraph:

We hope that our withdrawal signals the need to reevaluate the effectiveness of multistakeholder processes in developing effective rules of the road that protect consumer privacy – and that companies will support and implement.

Ultimately, of course, these are political questions rather than technological ones, but the focus on one type of technology (facial recognition) is a little difficult to understand. If it’s wrong for a private corporation to track an unsuspecting individual’s every movement, identifying them by name, why single out facial recognition (the means) rather than the tracking (the end)?

The privacy advocates, however, have a point in their favor. The effectiveness of confabs of privacy advocates, sub-cabinet-level administrators, and corporate executives in defining a society’s scope for privacy in public should be questioned.

Also mentioned in the article is the fact that the states of Texas and Illinois have passed laws limiting the use of facial recognition technology to identify individuals in public without their affirmative consent.

Amazon envisions another way to unlock a phone: Ear photos

Forget Fingerprint Scanners, Amazon is Interested in Using Your Ears to Unlock the Phone — Here’s Why it’s Better (Technology Personalized)

The world’s largest e-commerce company was granted a patent last week that reveals company’s intention to ease up the unlocking mechanism in a phone when a user receives a call without any security tradeoff.

No need to forget fingerprint scanners just yet, though.

UK: Leicestershire police trial face recognition at music festival

Download Festival: Facial recognition technology used at event could be coming to festivals nationwide (The Independent)

Around 90,000 people attending the five-day rock event in Derby will have their faces scanned by “strategically placed” cameras, which are then compared with a database of custody images across Europe.

The force has trialled the system since April 2014 in “controlled environments”, but this is the first time the portable NeoFace surveillance technology, made by NEC Corporation, is being used outdoors in the UK on this scale.

Leicestershire police said it hoped the system would enable them to find organised criminals who prey on festivalgoers who are often victims of theft.

This sounds a lot like the ‘Snooper Bowl’ deployment we had a role in back in 2001.

Facial recognition surveillance in an uncontrolled environment with non-participating individuals still presents significant technical challenges. Among them are lighting, pose angle, and perhaps most significantly, training users on how to evaluate the information the facial recognition system generates.

See also: Leicestershire Police defend facial recognition scans (BBC)

Peru: Prepaid mobile sales will require fingerprint verification against national ID database

…with an assist from Microsoft Translator

From now prepaid mobile lines will be sold with fingerprint identification of users (Osiptel)

The operators will be required to verify the identity of users wishing to hire mobile public services in their offices, in the form of prepaid. This identification will be held from today through biometric fingerprint verification systems, which will be connected with the RENIEC database.

Full implementation is to be accomplished by January 1, 2017.

Biometrics industry overview

Breaking Down Biometric Security (TechZone360)

Biometric security isn’t a new phenomenon, but until recently its real life applications and benefits have been underutilized by companies in most industries. However, recent buzz worthy announcements like Apple using Touch ID for enhanced security as part of Apple Pay and Miami International Airport integrating biometric fingerprint data into their passport control kiosks, are proving that biometric security is finally poised to become the norm.

Read the whole thing. The piece does a really good job of tying together various issues in the overall biometrics landscape.

Changing of the Guard at Secure Identity & Biometrics Association

SIBA Names Troy Potter of L-3 National Security Solutions as Chairman; SIBA Selects Commercial Identity Expert to Lead Growing Member Association (SIBA)

SIBA is a non-profit association that was established in February 2014 to steadfastly promote responsible policy, education and implementation of solutions that protect and secure identity across private and public platforms.

Potter was chosen because of his vast experience in both the government and industry. He served as the Identity Services Branch (ISB) Deputy Assistant Director at the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program and was US-VISIT’s Biometrics

Systems Program Manager for a number of years, responsible for the management and oversight of one of the largest biometrics systems in the world. Today Potter is the vice president of L-3 NSS’ Global Solutions Sector and leads all L-3 NSS Border Security and Biometrics programs.

Canada announces biometric requirement for visa holders

Biometric data collection evolves and expands in Canada (CBC)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada told CBC News that digital photos and fingerprints are “the only biometrics data applicants will have to provide” under the government’s plan for expanded collection of data. Visitors will have to pay $85 to cover the cost of data collection.

Travelers who don’t need a visa to travel to Canada are, apparently, unaffected.