Facial Recognition System Helps Trace 3,000 Missing Children In 4 Days

The identities of the missing children have been established and efforts are on to help them reunite with their families. (NDTV – India)

“New Delhi: Nearly 3,000 missing children have been traced in four days, thanks to the facial recognition system (FRS) software that the Delhi Police is using on a trial basis to track down such children.

The identities of the missing children have been established and efforts are on to help them reunite with their families.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), in an affidavit to the high court, said that the Delhi Police, on a trial basis, used the FRS on 45,000 children living in different children’s homes. Of them, 2,930 children could be recognised between April 6 and April 10.”

A heartwarming story with a dose of local politics.

India: Using biometrics to protect vulnerable children

Aadhaar goes to orphanages, joins war on child trafficking (Bangalore Mirror)

Aadhaar’s comprehensive database that comprises iris (retina scan) and biometric (fingerprint) information is hoped to aid enforcement agencies find missing children, curb human trafficking and check illegal adoptions. Aadhaar enrolments have begun in Karnataka for children in child care institutes run by the state government’s Department of Women and Child Development. Nearly 4,000 kids and youngsters are in care of state homes and will get identity cards.

A couple of notes:

Aadhaar means “foundation.” An alternate name for the Aadhaar Project is the UID Project for Universal ID.

In the quoted passage above, “child care institutes” are orphanages rather than the child care centers some readers may be more familiar with.

Data privacy in schools is about much more than biometrics

As we’ve often said before, if schools can’t be trusted with private information, biometrics aren’t the problem. It’s nice to see that education professionals take a broad view of student privacy issues.

State Lawmakers Ramp Up Attention to Data Privacy (Education Week)

As the appetite for educational data on students has grown across the K-12 sector, so has the stated desire among many state lawmakers to try to protect the privacy and security of sensitive student information.

Spurred by concerns that the rise of education technology and the increasing prevalence of new assessments will place student data in unreliable hands or be put to nefarious uses, lawmakers in dozens of states have acted this year to clarify who has what access to student data and to specify the best practices for shielding that data.

Biometrics gets an undue amount of attention where child privacy issues are concerned and they are mentioned quite a few times in the article. The article, however, is written for the education insider so it is missing the “passion” one often finds in the techy press and political news stories.

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.

Biometrics for newborns in hospital maternity units?

Maha govt asks hospitals to ensure biometric ID of infants (IBN Live)

In order to prevent thefts of babies from hospitals, the Maharashtra government has asked state-run medical centres to ensure biometric identification of infants within two hours of birth.

As far as I know, it’s easier to apply biometric identity management techniques to the adults who have a right remove a baby from a hospital than it is to biometrically account for the identity of each infant. Face recognition doesn’t work very well on infants and newborns aren’t going to be able to help with the more participatory biometric modalities like iris and finger even if the algorithms are applicable to infant morphology (and I’m not sure that they are).

Footprints have been collected from newborns for a long time, but even though human experts can match properly executed paper and ink footprints, I’m not aware of any matching algorithms for the foot to automate that process.

So that leaves biometrics for the adults that are allowed in the maternity ward including parents/soon-to-be parents and a special category for individuals that are allowed to remove a newborn from hospital property: new parents exclusively.

Granted, that won’t prevent baby mix-ups, but it can go a long way to making baby theft much more difficult.

In a more passive approach, SecurLinx has experience providing facial recognition capabilities to monitor a watch list of individuals restrained from approaching a maternity wing.

If anyone out there has any information on biometric algorithms intended for use on newborns, please send it along.

Biometrics in school busses

Kidtrack biometric system keeps track of kids on school buses (gizmag)

A lot of parents worry when their kids first start taking the school bus by themselves. What if they’re snatched from the bus stop? What if they get off at the wrong stop? What if the bus is hijacked? Well, while the Kidtrack system can’t keep any of those things from happening, it can at least keep track of which children are on which buses, and where.

Keeping school lunch biometrics in perspective

Maryland: Bill from Carroll senator would ban collection of students’ biometric data (Baltimore Sun)

Earlier this school year, Carroll County Public Schools had biometric scanners in place in about 10 school cafeterias, where they were used to help expedite the process of paying for school meals. Officials said the scanners would be more efficient than processing cash transactions or using a PIN keypad system.

But officials fielded complaints from some parents who felt the scanners were an invasion of privacy.

If you think biometrics for school lunch payment are bad, you’re not going to like this:

Joy Pullmann: Data mining kids crosses line (Orange County Register)

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating how public schools can collect information on “non-cognitive” student attributes, after granting itself the power to share student data across agencies without parents’ knowledge.

The feds want to use schools to catalogue “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes and intrapersonal resources – independent of intellectual ability,” according to a February DOE report, all under the guise of education.

Read the whole thing.

Like we’ve said before, “If schools are unable to keep data secure, biometric template information is the last thing that should concern parents.” “Secure” doesn’t really apply in the situation described above but the observation that schools already possess very detailed information about students stands.

For the curious: This is an actual biometric template created using one finger, an off-the-shelf fingerprint reader and their freely-circulated software development kit (SDK). It consists of 800 hexadecimal characters.

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

Something similar could be used instead of a PIN number for lunch purchases in Maryland schools unless the state bans the technology.

Now which is more risky to student privacy, those 800 characters which I’ve freely put online and made public, or other types of records schools routinely and uncontroversially* keep?

*Ms. Pullmann seems to find the potential sharing of information without parental knowledge and the chipping away of existing privacy protections that prevented sharing of non-academic information (including biometric information) more problematic than the fact that schools know a lot of non-cognitive details about students.

On another note the mention of “a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists” caught my eye. Within the large and growing list of biometric modalities, I’ve never heard of wrist biometrics. I suspect that this is another example of confusion that arises when “biometrics” and “biostatistics” are needlessly lumped together, a subject we have covered in some detail.

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

 

Hop on the Bus, Gus. Drop off the Key, Lee.

Biometric Technology Gets on the School Bus (Press Release via Benzinga)When children board or exit the bus the BlinkSpot iris scanning technology recognizes the child and sends real time reports to the school along with an individual email to each parent verifying the time and location of their child.

The effort combines Verizon, Eye-D, and 3M Cogent capabilities.

I’m curious to see how this works out. An application that provides real-time information on children’s interactions with the school bus system is, obviously, highly desirable.

Will the technology fit the deployment? How well will it work? How passive is the use model (i.e. must the children actively engage the system?). How much training will drivers and children require? How long does each transaction take? Will that cause traffic jams? What are the costs in money and time?

These are the questions that would-be customers and system developers need to ask, answer, and agree upon.

Thinking this one through, my hunch is that from a pure utility point of view, this is a finger app. But in the real world other considerations may apply. If some tech companies want to test their technology, their ability to work together, product design and feasibility, and they find a willing and supportive test environment — in this case a school and community — then that’s what will happen. Lessons will be learned and the state of the art will have been advanced.

Perfect; Good; Tech.; People; etc. It’s a fun landscape in which to participate.

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