India: What happens with lost UID numbers?

UIDAI devises a method to retrieve lost Aadhaar numbers (Business Standard)

A government official said as a person can only enrol for Aadhaar once, there needed to be a mechanism to retrace the number in case the person has misplaced all possible links to it.

“Enrolling again is not an option, as the system automatically rejects biometric details that have been registered once,” said the official.

Under the new method, a person can put in the biometrics and the system will keep prompting for more demographic details till the back-end server zeros down to 10 possible matches.

During the entire process, none of the details of the Aadhaar holders will be shown to the person or the operator till the time an exact match has been found.

This has been done keeping in mind the design of the Aadhaar project, where the system doesn’t reveal any information about the resident and only tries to authenticate the identity replying with a yes or no.

Mississippi: Fingerprint verification for subsidized services, finally

Mississippi implements finger scan system for daycare (The Commercial Appeal – Memphis, TN)

Under the system being implemented by the state Department of Human Services, parents must use a finger scanner to sign their children in and out. Proponents say it will save money and cause parents to visit preschools more often, but opponents argue the system is intrusive and creates technical headaches.

About 18,000 children will be affected by the move.

You have to read between the lines, but this is at least partly a ghost-busting mission within government-subsidized child care.

We first commented on this deployment in September of last year in Biometric deployment winners and losers. Follow the links for great examples of arguments made in opposition to tightening up ID management.

More here.

Not only does a fingerprint biometric raise the burden of proof that subsidized services are actually being provided, it makes it harder for unauthorized individuals to remove a child from a child care facility.

Citizens want strong driver licenses

MorphTrust commissioned Zogby to survey 1,000 U.S. adults.

Survey: Majority in favor of facial recognition (SecureID News)

Overall, when it comes to better driver licenses, 83% support making sure the documents are secure to protect against terror attacks, underage drinking and identity theft. In addition, 83% are in favor of biometric background checks for transportation and warehouse workers who handle hazardous materials.

Czech Republic: ID hack, performance art, social commentary

How 12 Men Morphed Identities and Still Voted, Bought Guns, and Got Married (Motherboard)

Source: ZTOHOVEN

Basically, twelve members of the collective swapped identities, snagging themselves digitally-altered ID cards that featured blended images of their portrait and another person’s. Make Money Not Art explains further: “With the same haircut, twelve members of Ztohoven took a portrait pictures and using the Morphing software they merged every two faces into one. They applied for new IDs with these photos, but each of them used the name of his alter-ego.”

For six months, they then lived under each others’ identities, purchasing guns, voting, and even getting married. They documented the entire project, which, in a nod to Kafka’s identity-thieved Josef, they called Citizen K.

Sounds like an advertisement for facial recognition audits of ID card applications.

Official web page for “Citizen K.” (English)

Biometrics reveal improperly issued drivers licenses in New Jersey

Yesterday we concluded the “perfect is the enemy of good” post, with the observation that the merit of biometric ID systems is established when biometrics are used to audit what we termed “Industrial Age” systems.

Right on cue, The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) reports that:

A new, high tech software has helped authorities identify two city men who fraudulently obtained New Jersey Drivers Licenses, according to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (AOG).

Raymond Feeney, 51, and Kirk Bland, 50, have been indicted on charges of using personal information of another to obtain a driver’s license, tampering with public records and forgery. Feeney’s license was suspended on four driving while intoxicated convictions, Bland’s licenses were suspended on two unrelated DUIs.

Any guesses as to what kind of high tech software was used to audit the New Jersey drivers license database, or the scope of the fraud detected (error rate, if you will)?

Many critics of the adoption of biometric identity management technology try to argue that unless biometric techniques are infallible and perfect, then they shouldn’t be used. This line of reasoning ignores the fact that the systems they themselves depend upon for the identity documents that enable their full participation in the modern world are demonstrably fallible.

Is it any wonder, then, that developing countries that don’t already have universal access to DMV’s, birth certificates, social security cards, etc., are not only adopting biometric ID management techniques but that they are deploying them at the front end of their ID infrastructure rather than as a remedial measure?

UIDAI tightens enrollment requirements

It looks like about 94% of the UID numbers issued without biometrics have had to be cancelled.

UIDAI cancels 3.84 lakh bogus Aadhaar enrolments (CIOL)

The UIDAI has cancelled 3.84 lakh Aadhaar numbers which were reportedly prepared under the biometric clause.

According to biometric clause, the authorised enrolment agencies have been granted the permission to enrol people without taking biometrics like fingerprints and iris scan. But in any case, the enrolment agency must procure photograph and demographic information of the people. As of now, 4.10 lakh Aadhaar numbers have been generated under the biometric exception clause, out of which the UIDAI has directed to scrap 3.84 lakh Aadhaar numbers.

This isn’t too surprising. Last July, the story of UID numbers being issued to plants got quite a bit of attention and it was clear then that changes were coming to the process by which the UIDAI dealt with the private entities that underpin the enrollment function.

With today’s news and the accompanying hard numbers, it seems that there was an audit designed to put some specificity to what everyone knew was a flaw in a system where unscrupulous enrollment agencies could create large volumes of fake enrollments for which they would then be paid.

Now the numbers are in and the scale of the ID fraud possible in the absence of a biometric identifier is known.

The remedies are pretty clear.

Issuing a UID number without biometrics should only be done under very particular circumstances and with a very high degree of oversight.

Firms participating in the enrollment process should face incentives and sanctions based upon their performance. That could mean bonuses for firms with very good performance, penalties for bad data practices, and worse for those actively committing fraud.

The good news is that database technology makes the technical part of figuring out who’s doing what fairly straightforward. The hard part, as always, will be agreeing on the nature of the carrots and sticks to be deployed.

At least the kids can’t vote twice – Ghana edition

Minors Captured In Biometric Voter Register A Big Challenge For EC – Dr Afari-Gyan (Ghana.gov)

He said the biometric verification machine cannot determine who is a minor or a foreigner and that examination of images of those captured during the biometric registration shows that minors were registered all over the country.

This brings up several ID issues.

Since there is no precise physiological indication of age, it is important to register children when they are born.

Some non-trivial proportion of the world’s individuals don’t actually know how old they are.

What policies were in place during the voter registration process?

It’s almost impossible to conceive that the enrollment software didn’t in some way note the electoral worker responsible for each enrollment. Is there any correlation between the registrants that seem obviously to be around twelve years old and the worker responsible for the registration?

On the positive side, with a well-functioning biometric voter system at least the kids can’t vote twice.

See:
At Least the Kids Can’t Vote Twice in ARMM, Philippines
Biometrics “Fix” Identity

 

Technology to thwart fingerprint fakers

Clarkson professor develops fake fingerprint finding technology (Watertown Daily Times – New York)

“People can take materials and make a fake finger and pretend to be someone else,” she said. “We have a piece of software that determines whether the fingerprint is fake or not.”

There’s also some good stuff about convenience, security and trade-offs at the link.

This post from February highlights an application that detects altered fingerprints: App Helps ID Altered Fingerprints

The security and ID management race continues.

Biometrics Uncover 825,000 ID Inconsistencies in DHS Database

Fingerprint Records Reveal 825,000 Immigrants With Multiple Names (Mashable)

Many of the situations involved women who legally altered their names. “We found that nearly 400,000 records for women have different last names for the same first name, date of birth and [fingerprint identification number],” he wrote. “These instances are likely women who changed their names after a marriage.”

During the study, auditors examined records covering 1998 through 2011.

Most of the time, US-VISIT personnel try to resolve cases in which people who appear to be one and the same have different information listed in records, the auditors found. The researchers are not specifically targeting scams, Deffer explained. Accidental typos, the fact that various immigration-related agencies use incompatible data formats and other keying mistakes are factors they look for when probing mismatches. During the course of typical procedures, US-VISIT has picked up on only two instances of fraud, agency officials reported to the IG.

The enormity of the conflicting data, however, may obscure actual fraud. “These inconsistencies can make it difficult to distinguish between data entry errors and individuals potentially committing identity fraud,” he wrote.

As they grow and age databases can get really junked-up. Biometrics, in this case fingerprint biometrics, can be extremely helpful in maintaining their integrity. The database involved here is the on maintained by the US Department of Homeland Security US-VISIT program. It contains (wait for it) information, including a fingerprint, on all visitors to the US. The fingerprint has been the linchpin of the audit that discovered 825,000 database errors because it is the only  piece of truly unique and durable, personal information stored.

Before automated fingerprint ID systems (AFIS), combinations of data were used to reduce ID error rates to some reasonable approximation of zero. While names, birth dates, and other descriptors aren’t unique, multiplying them together works pretty well for a while. Working against this system are legal name changes and human typographical errors in data entry which have the database effect of creating a whole new person,  which runs counter to the reasons for keeping such a database in the first place.

See Biometric “Fix” Identity which takes on this issue from the angle of intentional fraud.

Ghana accidentally saves $93,000 per month with biometric system

900 ex-students still draw allowances (Ghana Web)

About 900 students of the School of Hygiene in Tamale, who completed their studies seven years ago, are still withdrawing allowances as students from the government’s payroll.

This is notwithstanding the fact that some of them have been employed.

Each student is said to be withdrawing GH¢200 a month and this has cost the nation GH¢15,120,004.

The deal was exposed during the biometric registration of employees on the payroll system, in Tamale.

900 x 200 = 180,000

                    180,000.00 GHS
= 93,047.34 USD
Ghanaian Cedi US Dollar
1 GHS = 0.516930 USD 1 USD = 1.93450 GHS

Where Eight Out of Every Seven People are on Welfare…

In TN, ration card holders exceed population (Deccan Herald)

The number of persons with ration cards in Tamil Nadu, as enumerated under the Public Distribution System (PDS), far exceeds the state’s population.

However, the secretary to the state government has informed that the bogus ration cards will be eliminated over the next two to three years after biometric smart cards are issued. Pointing out discrepancies in the verification process, the CAG report said in Chennai district alone (barring one zone), 5.97 lakh “suspected bogus family cards” were identified during a door-to-door verification between October 2009 and August 2010 and stop supply was issued subsequently.

Tamil Nadu
Source Wikipedia

As far as Indian states go, Tamil Nadu seems to do pretty well in many socio-economic categories. Bringing more rigor to welfare programs can only help. Biometrics can be a cheap and effective means to that end.

Translate »