Healthcare biometrics foster better delivery and outcomes

Biometrics entering a new era in healthcare (Healthcare IT News)

“The future portends a new era of biometrics. Advances to the technologies will make them more attractive to healthcare organizations. Decreasing costs will make biometrics a more palatable move. Other technologies like artificial intelligence will, in turn, also give biometrics a boost.

But mainstreaming biometrics faces a variety of challenges. These include privacy, people, cost and interoperability.”

As they say, read the whole thing. It’s a really informative piece.

Nice introduction to biometrics

Biometrics: New IDs that are uniquely you (Student Science)

Rapidly and accurately identifying people is useful. The police sometimes use biometric technology to ID criminals, disaster victims and missing children. Bank tellers may use biometrics to verify the identity of anyone attempting to withdraw money from an account. Because of the usefulness of biometric technology, governments are starting to include fingerprint and other biometric data in driver’s licenses, ID cards and passports.

Research on biometrics is advancing rapidly. Here we meet researchers behind three teams developing new ways to ID people.

July tweet chat: Steria and their recent survey of European opinions on biometrics

July 25, 2013 11:00 am EDT, 8:00 am PDT, 16:00 pm BST, 17:00 pm (CEST), 23:00 pm (SGT), 0:00 (JST)

Where: (or Twitter hashtag #biometricchat)

John at M2SYS

Steria Group (Twitter: @Steria) will be discussing the results of a recent European survey on biometric technology they conducted which revealed that although many support the use of biometrics for criminal identification and for use in passports and identity cards, less than half of those surveyed were amenable to using the technology to replace personal identification numbers (PINs) in banking.


  • Results of recent European biometric public acceptance survey
  • Convenience vs. security
  • USA vs. European view of how biometrics impacts privacy and civil liberties
  • “Passive” biometrics
  • How vendors can advance public education of biometrics
  • Viability of new biometric modalities

UPDATE and bump:
John has posted the questions for tomorrow’s discussion:

  1. How do you explain the dichotomy between public acceptance of biometrics for identity cards or passports and the use of biometrics to replace personal identification numbers (PINs)?
  2. While we see “civil liberties” and “privacy” as one of the obstacles to wider use of biometrics in the US, is that the same thing you are seeing in your European survey?
  3. One of the dynamics that appears to be evident is that while people want to guard their biometric data, if they can get to the head of the line (e.g. Clear Me airport security program) they are willing to give up their biometrics.  Can you comment on how convenience and faster transactions might impact the more pervasive use of biometrics?
  4. Some country’s public sector organizations that have collected biometrics for a specific purpose are making them available for use by the private sector to prevent fraud, assure a person’s identity, etc.  Do you believe this is a trend we will see more of?
  5. How will “passive” biometrics like facial recognition, voice recognition and iris at a distance be accepted since it doesn’t require any specific actions by a person for it to be used?
  6. What strategies can biometric vendors deploy to help advance the public’s understanding of biometric identification that may help it to be more acceptable as a replacement for personal identification (PIN) numbers?
  7. What new or forthcoming biometric modalities (e.g. – heartbeat, thermal imaging, gait, DNA, etc.) do you predict has the best chance to become sustainable in the industry? Are there any specific modalities that you feel the public accepts more readily than others?

What is the BiometricChat:
Janet Fouts, at her blog, describes the format:

Twitter chats, sometimes known as a Twitter party or a tweet chat, happen when a group of people all tweet about the same topic using a specific tag (#) called a hashtag that allows it to be followed on Twitter. The chats are at a specific time and often repeat weekly or bi-weekly or are only at announced times.

There’s more really good information at the link for those who might be wondering what this whole tweet chat thing is all about.

This one, the #biometricchat, is a discussion about a different topic of interest in the biometrics landscape each month. It’s like an interview you can participate in.

More at the M2SYS blog.

Earlier topics have included:
Mobile biometrics
Workforce management
Biometrics in the cloud
Law enforcement
Privacy again
Biometrics for global development
Large-scale deployments
The global biometrics industry
Biometrics markets

Modalities such as iris and voice have also come in for individual attention.

I always enjoy these. Many thanks to John at M2SYS for putting these together.

Playing it down the middle

Biometric ID advance ignites debate over rights (Trib Live)

Long envisioned as an alternative to remembering scores of computer passwords or lugging around keys to cars, homes and businesses, technology that identifies people by their faces or other physical features finally is gaining traction, to the dismay of privacy advocates.

A balanced article on the tension between biometric technology and privacy.

Of course, Biometrics are not evil.

Mike Elgan’s recent article, Are biometric ID tools evil?, is really, really dumb (I almost said evil). It’s either that or bordering on libelous so, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, even though the piece doesn’t extend the same courtesy to those of us working on biometric identity management technologies.

But maybe he didn’t mean it. The title, after all, is a question, right? We’ll read on.

It doesn’t take much longer for the author to remove all doubt, as he rapidly moves from the rhetorical title to the “How often do you beat your wife?” formulation of the question:

How evil is biometric ID?

Followed by…

So we find ourselves in a strange position in which some religious conservatives and some secular liberal privacy advocates both agree that biometric identification is evil.

On the other, you have a large number of people who consider biometrics an unparalleled evil, and they will refuse to participate.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Is biometric technology the answer to our security problems? Or is it just plain evil? [all emphasis mine]

Evil? Really? Not “a bad idea”, “misguided”, or “dangerous” — evil? 

Last I checked evil means “profoundly immoral and malevolent” and because most people gave up imputing moral qualities to inanimate objects sometime around the Bronze Age, the whole piece is either a really bad joke lacking a punchline or a shot at people — the people at every level of biometric development, from academia to enterprise — working to apply a new technology to the human challenges of identity management.

And why the fixation on “evil”?

Maybe “creepy” seemed too Jan Brady (and way played-out) and moral hyperbole is the new new thing.

Maybe it’s a reference to what is perhaps the least ambitious corporate motto of all time: “Don’t be evil.”

One thing, however, is certain: someone really needs a thesaurus.

You keep using that word.

Gartner Hype Cycle 2012

Gartner’s 2012 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Identifies “Tipping Point” Technologies That Will Unlock Long-Awaited Technology Scenarios (Gartner)

Biometrics feature prominently is several of the technology groups Grtner presents. Whether you’re an old hand or hearing of the Hype Cycle for the first time, you’ll want to click through and check it out.

Source: Gartner

The Peak of Inflated Expectations was frustrating. The Trough of Disillusionment was a grind. Now is the fun part.