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 GAO: To reduce fraud, MediCare smatrcards need biometrics

Smart cards would do little to curtail Medicare fraud: GAO (McKnight’s)

…[K]ey [smartcard] benefits, including the ability to electronically exchange beneficiary medical information and electronically convey beneficiary identity and insurance information to providers, would do little or nothing to deter fraud, experts said.

Adding certain layers of protection to smart cards like biometric biometric information or a picture ID could help to deter fraud, the GAO said.

Note: GAO = Government Accountability Office

Don’t forget the biometrics

Denmark issued 10,947 passports without fingerprints (Customs Today)

The different municipalities of Denmark issued flawed passports without fingerprints, stated by the Customs authority. Earlier the Customs authorities discovered the mistake and informed the affect municipalities. Passports issued from 44 municipalities after the date of February 2nd are missing biometric fingerprints due to an error made by…

I wonder how the oversight was discovered.

Malaysia and biometric ID for foreigners

Biometric identity cards for foreigners studying in Malaysia? (The Star)

“Several countries, namely Saudi Arab, Yemen and several Middle East countries have indicated interest in adopting such a card for their students students here,” he added.

Based on ministry’s records, there were some 80,000 international students in the country last year. The aim is to attract 200,000 foreign students by 2020.

In a related issue, Ahmad Zahid said that a pilot project is currently underway to implement the biometric identity card for the 2.116mil foreign workers in the country by the end of next year.

South Africa shows the way on transfer payments

MasterCard issues 10m debit cards for SA social grants (Gadget)

This milestone marks the conclusion of the re-registration phase of the project, with social grant beneficiaries having received their new Debit MasterCard cards with biometric functionality, issued by Grindrod Bank, in association with SASSA and Net1 UEPS Technologies (Net1).

Since March 2012, just under 22 million social grant beneficiaries have re-registered onto the new system introduced by SASSA to minimise fraudulent grant applications and collections and reduce grant administration costs by distributing all grant payments electronically.

US: Iris and government ID

Who Are You? NIST Biometric Publication Provides Two New Ways to Tell Quickly (NIST)

A PIV card is a government-issued smart card used by federal employees and contractors to access government facilities and computer networks. The PIV card carries a photo, fingerprint information, personal identification number (PIN) and a cryptographic credential–random computer-generated data that are recognized only by the PIV card–all of which serve to bind the card to the card holder.

To assist agencies seeking stronger security and greater operational flexibility, NIST [ed. National Institute of Standards & Technology] made several modifications to the previous version of Biometric Data Specification for Personal Identity Verification. Major additions include:

On-card comparison of fingerprints for improved privacy. The specifications describe how to place one or two compact fingerprint templates and a recognition algorithm on the card. When the user wants to sign a document digitally or open a secure file, for example, she can place her finger on a reader attached to the keyboard to verify her identity. Currently, employees have to type in a PIN for matching, which is subject to error and misuse.

Iris recognition capability for increased security. Standardized compact images of one or both irises (the images are no more than 3 kilobytes each) can be loaded on the PIV card for compact on-card storage and fast reading times. The document provides performance specifications for iris biometrics to assure high accuracy and provides specifications for iris cameras to guide implementers on camera selection. These standards-based elements support interoperability within and across agencies using iris recognition technology.

Agencies may choose to add iris images as an alternate biometric over fingerprints, because, for some users, fingerprint collection can be difficult. At times, the fingerprints are too dry to yield a good image, and lotions, wounds or illness also can make for poor images. Agencies now have the option of using two biometric sources to avoid such circumstances.

Several recent NIST research projects have led to improved technologies for identity management that are included in the updated specification.

The full publication is available from NIST here.

See also: Iris ID tech is ready, but agencies might not be at Deep Dive Intel.

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.

Uganda rolling out updated ID

National identity card issuance starts today (New Vision)

In the program the director citizenship and immigration control Wanzira explained that members of the public, who will come in to receive the IDs, will be verified to ensure that the real owners only receive the IDs.

“This is so, to ensure that the real owners behind the pictures and biometric data are the ones who end up receiving their national IDs,” stated Wanzira.

Israel makes another run at biometric ID

Israel is having a go at a biometrically enabled ID document system. Participation is voluntary, for now. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the first time biometrics have come up in a discussion of Israeli ID, but at least this time the biometrics part belongs there.

Sa’ar: No reason to panic over biometric database (Ynetnews)

After countless discussions, delays, objections, Israel launches database enabling smart identity cards. Interior minister says system meets ‘highest standards of data protection preventing identity theft.’ Labor’s Yachimovich: Experiment on humans

Wow, that is some strong talk from Shelly Yachimovich. See also…

Yachimovich Opposes Biometric Database (Arutz Sheva)

Long-delayed biometric database pilot program gets underway (The Times of Israel)

Residents of the central Israeli town of Rishon Lezion were invited to trade in their current Israeli identity cards for a new “smart card” that will digitally encode not only their personal information, but also their fingerprints, photo, and facial profile (the contours and other details of the face). The government will study the results of the voluntary pilot program, searching out glitches and problems in the system before it becomes mandatory — according to plans, in two years.

Pilot begins for Israel’s National Biometric Database program (+972)

The government claimed that the database is needed in order to prevent the forging of Israeli ID cards and passports. However, critics point to the fact that the government could issue “Smart IDs,” which themselves store biometric data, without keeping the personal records in one national database.

Europeans, especially the French, are open minded about biometrics

Majority of Europeans support biometrics for ID cards or passports (Biometrics Update)

Specifically, 81 percent of French citizens favour the application of biometrics for ID documents, compared to 74 percent of Danish respondents and 68 percent of the survey’s British respondents. Across Europe, 69 percent were also in favour of using biometrics as a form of access control for secure areas. In this case, the French respondents proved again to be the most supportive, with 77 percent, followed by the Danes at 75 percent and the Brits at 69 percent.

More survey results including private sector biometrics at the link. The French people surveyed seem to be way more positive on biometrics than their government.

UPDATE:
See also: French shoppers give new payment method the thumbs up.

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)

BigID and the changing nature of national identity infrastructures

Nigeria’s new ID has apps!

Credit card linked to Nigerian ID (Financial Mail)

In the programme’s first phase, Nigerians aged 16 and older and all who have been resident there for more than two years will get the new multipurpose ID, which has 13 applications. It is expected that up to 13m Nigerians will use the product in the first phase.

Among the apps is MasterCard’s prepaid technology, which will give cardholders the ability to make electronic payments. MasterCard says this will also have a positive impact on Nigerians who until now have not had access to mainstream financial services.

This one bears keeping an eye on.

In a couple of pioneering cases, the very concept of “The ID” is shifting

To most people, an ID looks a lot like a product — something useful that the government sells to an individual. Pay your fee; get your card. Lose your card; buy a new one.

India and Nigeria (South Africa is pretty bold, too) are pointing the way toward a future where ID isn’t just a product, though no government is going to give up its ID card product line any time soon. The future as these countries see it is ID as a government-backed platform supporting an ID ecosystem. They have the bucket (database structure). Now it’s being filled (populated). If they get the application programming interface/s (API) right, fasten your seat belt. Things will get really interesting really fast as all sorts of apps hooking into the ID infrastructure become available. Biometric technologies will be an integral part of this transition to “BigID.”

UPDATE:
See also:
Brainstorming UID with Srikanth Nadhamuni
The video there is very informaative and extremely worthwhile.

UPDATE II:
I forgot to mention the UAE as another forward-thinking ID environment. The UAE ID is set to be deployed on smartphones.

TSA wants a slick new ID & document management system

TSA To Purchase Credential Authentication Technology In 2014 (HS Today)

A CAT system must verify the identity of air passengers and confirm they are able to travel beyond the security checkpoint for boarding their planes, TSA said in an announcement Monday. It must display authentication credentials to a transportation security officer (TSO) or other qualified operator and ensure proper ticketing of the passenger, instructing the system operator as to what action to take if the passenger is not yet cleared.

The CAT system also must integrate a credentials scanner, technology to authenticate credentials, a graphic user interface (GUI) and an application programming interface (API). Under a separate contract, TSA already has produced the API, which provides an interface with its Security Technology Integrated Program (STIP) for the transfer of passenger data.

Pretty cool. This sounds a lot like the IDTrac product we developed several years back, only we used IDTrac to keep track of bank checks instead of boarding passes. The facial recognition part of what it does is pretty elegant if I do say so myself.

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