European migrant crisis spurs interest in biometrics

Migrant crisis: EU considers locking up more failed asylum seekers (Financial Times)

EU countries should lock up more failed asylum seekers, according to hardline plans the bloc is considering to increase the number of deportations from Europe.

The proposal is one of a series of tough measures — ranging from increased use of fingerprints to more funding for detention centres — that interior ministers from across the EU will discuss at a meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday.

The summer of finger veins continues

Biometric ATM technology proves to be a hit in Eastern Europe (Companies and Markets)

Polish bank BPS was the first in Europe to install biometric ATM technology. The technology, developed by Hitachi, allows a user to gain access to their account without a card or pin number. It is an example of so-called “finger vein” biometrics, which involves recognising a unique pattern of micro-veins beneath the surface that is then referenced with a pre-registered profile.

Finger veins sure have been a hot topic in biometrics this summer.

From Hitachi:
Finger vein authentication uses leading-edge light transmission technology developed by Hitachi to undergo pattern-matching and authentication. Near-infrared light is transmitted through the finger and partially absorbed by hemoglobin in the veins to capture a unique finger vein pattern profile, which is then matched with a pre-registered profile to verify individual identity.

Image source: Hitachi

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

When:
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:
tweetchat.com/room/biometricchat (or Twitter hashtag #biometricchat)

Host:
John at M2SYS

Guest:
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.

Topics:

  • 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:
Privacy
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.

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.

Irish privacy commissioner’s report

It’s mostly inspired by the Facebook photo tagging affair but it deals with privacy issues and biometrics in a holistic way.

Ireland: Preserving Privacy In The Age Of Biometrics (mondaq)

The Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (‘ODPC’) recently published its audit report regarding Facebook. The audit was undertaken to determine whether Facebook had implemented recommendations stemming from the ODPC’s first audit in 2011. While the audit was largely positive in its findings, the photo tagging feature introduced by Facebook, ‘tag suggestion’, was deemed by the ODPC to be a step too far for compliance with European data protection rules. This tool used cutting-edge facial recognition technology to automatically suggest the matching of names and pictures, i.e. upon the Facebook user uploading a photo, ‘tag suggestion’ would prompt the names of the individuals appearing in such image.

Consent, contract and transparency are all discussed in some detail at the link and we’ve discussed those topics philosophically on this blog in the past. There is also an analysis of proportionality in the linked article. Proportionality is a concept seen a lot in discussions of privacy issues involving European government institutions. It’s not a big part of privacy discussions in the United States.

In Europe, governments seem to feel freer to proactively inject themselves into arrangements between private entities than do governments in the United States. The recent French decision re biometrics for time-and-attendance is a good example of the invocation of proportionality to regulate the behavior of private entities.

In the United States, negligence, liability and torts seem to fill some of the roles proportionality plays in Europe. Since the legal system in the United States generally holds that one cannot consent to another party’s negligence, negligent parties are exposed to civil suits in the event that a data breach harmful to individuals occurs.

In general, it seems that the European approach is more proactive and government driven while the approach in the United States is more reactive and driven by private interests.

Facebook consents to delete face recognition data of EU users

Facebook Agrees to Delete EU Facial-Recogniation Data (Bloomberg)

The owner of the biggest social-networking site has faced several European reviews over concerns a facial-recognition program that automatically suggests people’s names to tag in pictures breaches privacy rights.

Facebook Ireland “agreed to delete collected templates for EU users by Oct. 15” and to seek regulator consent “if it chooses to provide the feature to EU users again,” the Irish Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said in the conclusions to a review today.

Data-protection regulators from the 27-nation EU have been looking into Facebook’s facial-recognition feature.

The theme of the article is consent.

Ukraine harmonizing ID practices with Europe

Ukraine to Introduce European Standard of Biometric ID (Press Release via Sacramento Bee)

A bill concerning the introduction of biometric IDs in Ukraine passed the first reading in the country’s parliament. Biometric documents will contribute to border security between Ukraine and the EU. The draft law provides for the creation of a unified state demographic register, which will contain basic personal information on each citizen. Additionally, the draft stipulates issuing the documents for traveling abroad that have a built-in proximity chip with registry information on the holder.

See also:

Biometric IDs A Step Toward EU – Ukraine Visa Simplicity (argophilia)

With the EU planning to assess the effect visa liberalization will have on illegal migrations soon, Ukraine tourism inbound and out stand to benefit if the new IDs fly with EU counterparts. The President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, created the State Migration Service already, an agency responsible for managing citizenship, immigration, registration, and political asylum issues.

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