Face, iris gaining ground in authentication applications

The future of biometric modalities in consumer electronics (Help Net Security)

“ABI Research posits that as ASPs for iris modules drop, and the once timid face recognition is continuously honed with more sophisticated machine learning algorithms, they will both slowly start to eat away at fingerprint implementations.”

There’s a lot of good information in the linked article. Fingerprint technology is still the most ubiquitous biometric technology worldwide and it will be for some time. Biometrics will ultimately be an all-of-the-above industry where the application determines the biometric modality/modalities brought to bear.

US: Office of Personnel Management raises assessment of biometric hack to 5.6 million individuals

OPM: Stolen biometric data list grows by 4.5 million (Fedscoop)

The Office of Personnel Management underestimated the number of people who had their biometric data stolen in this year’s high-profile hack, with an additional 4.5 million people being affected.

In a Wednesday press release, an OPM spokesman said the subset of individuals whose fingerprints have been stolen has increased from approximately 1.1 million to 5.6 million. That number, according to the agency, comes after OPM and the Defense Department identified archived records containing additional fingerprint data that were not previously analyzed.

Microsoft and Synaptics working on fingerprint hardware

Synaptics TouchPads to work with Windows Hello (WinBeta)

The new TouchPads would be able to read your fingerprint to enable Windows 10’s new biometric login feature Windows Hello, which aims to eliminate the use of passwords by replacing them with either fingerprints, facial recognition, or iris scanning.

Morphing the touch pad mouse sensor hardware into a fingerprint reader would be pretty cool. Getting the ID transactions right, though, will be a pretty heavy lift, technically, depending on the use model.

US: San Jose airport/Alaska Airlines test program for fingerprint boarding

Alaska Airlines: Fingerprints replace boarding passes (Desert Sun)

Those who signed up for the test went through an enrollment process that took about 20 minutes. After that, they were permitted to use their fingerprints to access the TSA screening area through the CLEAR lane. Fingerprint readers at the boarding gates were able to pull up a passenger’s boarding pass for the gate agent to review.

“The feedback was very positive,” said Tolzman. “On a survey scale of ‘dissatisfied’ to ‘delighted’ over 85 percent of the participants were delighted with the system.”

With the Colorado Rockies stadium access, that’s news of two innovative CLEAR deployments in two days.

US: Biometric entry-exit system getting off the ground in Atlanta

Fingerprint scanner tested on foreigners leaving Atlanta (Security Info Watch)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers began using the devices last week to scan some foreign passengers on selected flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, agency spokeswoman Jennifer Evanitsky said Tuesday. The test will be expanded in the fall to airports in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington.

The US Congress first required such a system in a law passed in 1996.

Assessing the damage related to fingerprints in hacked government database

How Much Damage Can OPM Hackers Do With a Million Fingerprints? (Nextgov)

Though the idea of hacked fingerprints conjures up troubling scenarios gleaned from Hollywood’s panoply of espionage capers, not much is currently known about those that OPM said were swiped in the data breach, which began last year and has been privately linked by officials to China. In fact, the agency said it didn’t even know yet specifically which personnel have had their prints compromised.

The linked article is really good in that it spends a great deal of analysis of the unknowns, and there are many.

While a collection of images of the fingerprints of US government employees — if that is an accurate description of that was taken — certainly has its uses, not all potential uses are equal or equally likely.

In terms of identity fraud, the 1.1 million government employees who had their fingerprints stolen may not be a whole lot worse off than the 20 million or so other government employees who had their personal information stolen minus the fingerprints, though that is cold comfort indeed to the victims. If the individuals whose information was stolen are given the precise details of the personal information that is now “out there” they will be able to make informed decisions about how they wish to manage their affairs going forward. That includes how they might interact with biometric ID management technologies in the future both in and outside of government applications.

The intelligence value of the fingerprints of government employees is different story. With time, money, and pictures of a million fingerprints, it is possible to build a fingerprint watch-list. Probably, not all of the pictures of fingerprints will be of a high enough quality to be enrolled in an automated system today but more time and more money could help. From there, the new watch-list could be accessed by a new or existing biometric ID technology deployment such as a checkpoint serving whatever purposes its owner has for it.

There is probably a lot the government still doesn’t know about what was stolen, and even more that hasn’t been shared with the public and more importantly with the individuals whose information has been compromised. It will also take some time for the stolen information to be put to use. The Office of Personnel Management has a lot of work ahead of it.

UC Davis develops mobile ultrasound fingerprint reader

Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor may take smartphone security to new level (Science Daily)

The basic concepts behind the researchers’ technology are akin to those of medical ultrasound imaging. They created a tiny ultrasound imager, designed to observe only a shallow layer of tissue near the finger’s surface. “Ultrasound images are collected in the same way that medical ultrasound is conducted,” said Horsley. “Transducers on the chip’s surface emit a pulse of ultrasound, and these same transducers receive echoes returning from the ridges and valleys of your fingerprint’s surface.”

Canada announces biometric requirement for visa holders

Biometric data collection evolves and expands in Canada (CBC)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada told CBC News that digital photos and fingerprints are “the only biometrics data applicants will have to provide” under the government’s plan for expanded collection of data. Visitors will have to pay $85 to cover the cost of data collection.

Travelers who don’t need a visa to travel to Canada are, apparently, unaffected.

Biometrics for library convenience

Enabling patrons to log in and check out with a swipe of the finger (American Library Association)

Paul Sawyier Public Library implemented a biometric identification system in October 2008. Since then, patrons who sign up for a library card have the option to enroll in the finger identification system, which is required only when using the public computers and the media box located in the lobby. To check out materials or log on to computers using the system, a patron simply places his or her finger on the biometric scanner located at each station. Patrons checking out other materials can use their library cards as they always have.

Fingerprints help end 55-year fugitive search

Fingerprint ruse IDs Florida man as longtime Ohio fugitive (MSN)

Authorities in Florida say a ruse to get a man’s fingerprints led to his arrest as a convicted killer who escaped an Ohio prison farm and disappeared for most of six decades.

Brevard County deputies say investigators with the U.S. Marshals Service in Ohio sought help to check out the man while chasing leads about Frank Freshwaters, an Akron man who escaped in 1959. Major Tod Goodyear says they created a ruse to get the man to sign papers, then matched the fingerprints to those from the decades-old arrest.

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.

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