“Get me some biometrics, stat!”

How biometrics could improve health security (Fortune)

For the last two years, the health industry suffered the highest number of hackings of any sector. Last year, it accounted for 43% of all data breaches, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. To help prevent these costly issues, medical companies have begun adopting an array of biometrics security systems that use data from a patient’s fingerprint, iris, veins, or face.

There really isn’t an identity management challenge that health care doesn’t have.

Biometrics for patient ID gaining momentum

Biometric technology combats medical identity theft (Business Week)

Data breaches at hospitals may cost the U.S. health-care industry as much as $7 billion a year, according to the Ponemon Institute, a Michigan-based organization that studies privacy, data protection, and security. And that doesn’t count the unknown cost of fraudulent use of information from lost or stolen insurance cards and drivers licenses. HCA Holdings (HCA) hospitals in London and many U.S. providers have a solution: using biometric technology to verify patient identities. “If you don’t have a good way of authenticating legitimate users,” says Ponemon Chairman Larry Ponemon, “whatever you do on the other side isn’t going to be good enough.”

Biometric devices that recognize people’s physical traits—think iris scanners or palm vein readers—are no longer the stuff of spy movies or border control.

A look at biometrics and health care fraud

Iris Scans Seen Shrinking $7 Billion Medical Data Breach (Bloomberg)

Iris scanners aren’t just for airport border-control agents and spy movies anymore.

Clinics and hospitals around the world are acquiring technology that identifies people based on physical traits to improve patient safety and stamp out fraud. HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA) hospitals in London, as well as health-care providers across the U.S., are buying so-called biometric technologies.

There’s not an identity management problem hospitals don’t have.

Survey: Banking customers willing to share more personal information for more personalized service

Internet of Things and Other Tech Consumers Want from Banks: Survey (American Banker)

A global survey Cisco released Monday offers clues to the types of technology consumers want to use to interact with their banks. One finding was that 69% of U.S. consumers would provide more private information in exchange for more personalized service, higher security against identity theft, and greater simplicity in managing their finances. These enhanced services could harness “the internet of things” in which everyday objects transmit information to a network.

More specifically, 83% of consumers said they would be willing to provide details about their financial habits and have their banks be more active advisors in exchange for greater protection from identity theft. “There’s an awareness that identity theft is a very ugly thing to have happen and that banks are naturally going to be targets,” says Al Slamecka, marketing manager, Financial Services, for Cisco. Many U.S. consumers (53%) would be willing to offer up biometric identification like a fingerprint in return for better protection against ID theft.

More interesting findings at the link.

Fraud, Crime and ID Interoperability

Police: Billerica suspect gave fake ID (Lowell Sun – Massachusetts)

Maybe Jose Vega thought he was fooling the police.

Confronted Tuesday morning, police said Vega identified himself as “Jose Negron.”

Unfortunately for Vega, Negron has a lengthy list of arrest warrants out of Essex District Court stemming from several felonious drug-related arrests in Lynn in 2008, according to police.

When he finally gave his real name, he allegedly admitted to police he was using Negron’s identity so he could work while collecting disability benefits.

One ID (Vega) is an able-bodied non-felon. Another ID (Negron) is a disabled felon.

Evidently (and unsurprisingly) the disability rolls and arrest warrants databases aren’t linked and there is a way to exploit both ID’s. The trick is using the compromised ID only with people in the handing-out-money business, and your real ID with those in the hauling-people-off-to-jail line.

Eventually biometrics helped police determine that Jose was telling the truth when he (Vega) confessed to being a fraudster rather than the wanted felon (Negron), so he’s got that going for him.

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