Washington DC: Participate in biometric system testing and earn $95

Seeking individuals to participate in an ID verification research study. (Upper Marlboro Patch)

Participants will be asked to pass through a simulated identification area that uses safe, commercially available sensors like high definition cameras. The simulated screening area will also test the usefulness of safe biometric scanners that are currently being used by other countries at border crossings such as fingerprint identification.

New technical approaches to facial recognition technology

The Animetrics press release below contains some really interesting information about facial recognition innovation.

Early adopters and potential adopters of facial recognition technology have been pressing hard for improved performance. Animetrics and others have responded by coming up with automated ways to improve the quality of the data processed through to the template generation software for matching. The press release does a very good job of describing Animetrics approach.

Animetrics Unveils ID-Ready, Cloud-Based Facial Biometric System (Animetrics Press Release)

The service takes a grainy, partial view, angulated 2D facial image, applies 2D-to-3D algorithms and corrects the pose of the face, and makes it ID-Ready for most any facial recognition system.

“ID Ready essentially takes a bad image and makes a mugshot out of it,” said Paul Schuepp, chief executive officer of Animetrics.

Most facial recognition systems require photos be a frontal view of a face in order to make a positive match. However, most photos studied by law enforcement are of faces that are rotated, “off pose” and are captured by low resolution video security cameras or long distance telephoto surveillance cameras.

“This type of uncontrolled imagery renders face recognition systems impractical because of the poor matching results, if results occur at all,” says Schuepp.

Here’s how the system works: law enforcement personnel upload a 2D photo to Animetrics servers at id.ready.animetrics.com and the ID Ready system applies facial feature point detection (eyes, nose tip, mouth, etc.) to accurately find the face and specify the parts Fine-tuning is possible by the user positioning three red crosshairs over both eyes and tip of the nose.

From there a 3D model is created and a new 2D resultant image that is pose-corrected to zero for facial pitch, yaw, and roll along the x, y and z axis.

Read further and you’ll discover that the innovation doesn’t stop with the technology. The sales/distribution model is noteworthy, as well.

Is Residence Address an Important ID Management Detail?

Do we really need to worry about proof of address? (Economic Times)

It is possible to abandon proof of address altogether and accept an applicant’s submission as authentic. Biometric tags and de-duplication software that works across multiple databases – driving licences, hospital records, school and college registers, insurance and bank accounts – would identify cases that call for further verification.

Sure, this means a lot of computerisation. So what?

Trust everyone’s claimed address, verify those that give cause for doubt. This is integral to inclusive growth.

There are some really good points here.

At first I thought that, if not address, than some geographical descriptor would be necessary in many real world applications. Voting in state and local elections is geography dependent. Many public services are provided only to people in a given jurisdiction.

But author T K Arun makes a good point. In a world of perfect database interoperability and deduplication, residence address doesn’t matter much, especially compared to the challenges and misery associated with having a huge population of people without ID.

From the individual angle, so long as an individual can only vote in one place, as long as they can only collect cash transfers intended for one group (for example they are prevented from simulteneously collecting subsidies for rice growers and fishermen), overall ID-based shenanigans will decrease.

On the service provider level, if databases are linked, two schools claiming to educate the same child (and billing the government for it) would have some explaining to do. For more along these lines, see Biometrics “Fix” Identity.

It’s an interesting conversation and we may be headed that way, but for now, perfect interoperability and (single factor) deduplication isn’t a reality.

But like we always say, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Give the poor man an ID — even if he can’t give a permanent residence address.

The Cat-Herder’s Lament – IT and Organizational Culture

Reversing Poor Data Management Culture (This Day Live)

In the conduct of studies in less developed countries (LDCs), while great emphasis is placed on study design, data collection and analysis, very often, little attention is paid to data management. As a consequence, investigators working in these countries frequently face challenges in cleaning, analysing and interpreting data. In most research settings, the data management team is formed with temporary and unskilled persons.

This article offers a lot of detail about how and why organizations crash into the hard lesson that biometrics for ID management (or any IT system, for that matter) can’t run an organization by themselves. The efficiencies and return on investment offered by biometric ID management (and other IT) systems are so great that they are almost irresistible. While they make organizations easier to manage, they can never truly operate outside the cultural environment where they reside.

When a hallmark of a management culture is to carve out administrative turf and defend it to the last, things like this happen:

Nine years ago, Nigeria spent billions of naira on the National Identity Card Scheme (NICS), and another huge amount was gulped by the National Census in 2006. Last year, the Independent National Electronic Commission (INEC), spent close to N90 billion on a voter registration exercise, while the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) spent an unjustified N6 billion on SIM card registration. This year, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is at it again as it seeks to expend N30 billion for a national ID scheme.

The issues discussed in the article are faced by all sorts of large organizations, not just LDC’s. A lot of the complaints would sound exactly the same coming from inside large universities in the United States.

Read the whole thing.

Back to Three Sides of the Same Coin