Following Mayor Bloomberg’s remark that public housing should incorporate fingerprinting technology and rumors of Apple implementing this technology for the new iPhones, two experts discussed the state of biometric security and where we are headed with it. (PIX 11)

There’s a good video at the link. I removed the video from this post because of the annoying auto-play feature which comes with the embed code. The video at the link above does not autoplay.

UPDATE: An interesting take on the political part of the story that echoes our Technology-and-Policy theme… Bloomberg is Right and Wrong About Fingerprinting Public Housing Residents (Frontpage Mag)

Patient ID in the United States

Identifying Solutions to Patient ID (HealthLeaders)

Patient identification is a fundamental building block of the emerging accountable care organization trend, according to Bill Spooner, CIO of Sharp HealthCare, which operates four acute care and three specialty care hospitals with an approximate total of 2,000 licensed beds in the San Diego region.

“The important thing is to be able to get accurately identified patients into your database and to be able to link them out to your transaction systems so everybody knows who they are so you can effectively engage in care management,” Spooner says.

The United States in particular faces a hurdle that other developed countries do not: By law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is prohibited from establishing a national patient identifier.

Providers are coping in several ways. Technology exists to flag suspected duplicate identities with varying degrees of certainty. Some are turning to technology offered by suppliers of their electronic health records.

Other providers are relying upon technology that has been employed by payers for years. And for those systems that can make the technological jump, patients are now being positively identified during every visit using smart cards with photo IDs attached, or even by biometric means, such as fingerprint, palm, or retinal scans. [ed. The revolution will not be retinal scans; bold emphasis mine]

Bottom line:
“If you can’t uniquely identify your patients within whatever data you’re analyzing, you’re going to misread and therefore make executive decisions that are not spot-on,[a]nd you make some big strategic mistakes because of that.”

The lengthy piece is very much worth a longer look.

Face rec for quality assurance

Edinburgh Airport installs biometric system to track passenger movements (Computerworld UK)

An anonymous facial image is taken of each passenger as they check in and the time it takes each to reach certain waypoints plotted over time. If this time breaches a pre-set parameter for enough passengers, alerts can be generated.

The principle is that moving passengers from check in to the terminal increases their satisfaction with that airport and boosts the amount of time they have to spend money in the retail outlets that generate profit for airports.

The system can also be used to track the movement of passengers through the airport as a whole.

This is another really interesting application for facial recognition technology and, unlike other uses of face technology better described as demographic detection, this one actually is a true face recognition application.

Although it is a true face recognition application, it isn’t really an ID application so long as the facial image taken at the time of passenger is not linked to other personal information and it is deleted after the person reaches the “finish line.”

The item of interest to airports in this case is the length of time it takes real individuals to travel through various points between check in and the jetway. It’s a more sophisticated measure than a simple count and real-world measurement wasn’t easily automated before face recognition technology.

Airports in the UK have been early adopters of face recognition for this application because they are held to certain performance metrics (and subject to fines) for airport throughput. Having accurate real-time information on passenger flows can inform on-the-fly staffing decisions. For example, additional security screeners can be dispatched in the event a slow-down is detected, saving passenger time and the airport money.

Though airports have been early adopters, this basic application has obvious utility in shopping malls, department stores, planning for emergency evacuations, and large facility scheduling.

SecurLinx has experience in the design and deployment of this type of system. Our FaceTrac system is readily adapted to the challenge of on-the-fly enrollment, finish-line matching, reporting, and automatically purging image data.

Managing the implementation of public sector biometric time-and-attendance

SOUTH AFRICA: Education still pondering biometrics (IT Web)

KUWAIT: ‘Finger’ Attendance To Stay For Firemen (Arab Times)

INDIA: Teachers blocking biometric attendance, DU faces contempt notice (Indian Express)

These three pieces reminded me of: What Human Resource Managers Can Learn from the President of Guinea’s Move to Eliminate Ghost Workersstill worth reading in its entirety.

Short answer:
In order to achieve top to bottom buy-in, a manager should consider distributing the benefits associated with better identity management techniques among shareholders/stakeholders, managers and workers.

A bonus for on-time attendance (for example) might raise the morale of workers who were always on time, while offering some consolation to those who saw their ability to milk the system reduced.

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Putting the mosaic together in Boston

The post’s title refers to the mosaic of information that can be arranged into a picture of the events leading up to the savage acts. The other mosaic, the way things were for so many unique individuals, can never be put back together.

How This Photo of the Boston Marathon Gives the FBI a Bounty of Data (Wired)

The photo — click to enlarge — shows a lot of people, what they’re wearing and where they’re positioned within the crush of Marathon fans. It’s important to law enforcement, as it “can be of use in putting the mosaic together,” says Robert McFadden, a former Navy terrorism investigator. Crabbe’s wide-angle panoramic photo “could be one of the many critical pieces of the map of the investigation.”

The panorama photo was one of seven shots Crabbe snapped with her phone during a leisurely stroll and later handed over to investigators.

The Wired article starts with a single data point (data set, really), a photo, and follows it part-way through the process the FBI has used during its investigation of the recent bombings in Boston.

…putting the mosaic together. It’s a good metaphor for how the people charged with figuring out what happened and who did it go about their work. Read the whole thing.

Also see:
What’s Going on Behind the Scenes of Bombing Investigation? Forensic Scientist, Former DHS Official Shed Light on Tech and Tactics (The Blaze)

“Facial recognition technology will play a very small part,” Schiro told TheBlaze in a phone interview.

“A lot depends on the quality of the images you have to work with,” Schiro continued noting that lighting, angle and other factors could really limit the use of facial recognition in the case. Not only that but there would need to be some sort of match for it to recognize.

UPDATE:
Here’s another good article about facial recognition and crime solving. I selected the two paragraphs below because they highlight both the organizational issue of interoperability and the technology issues around matching. There are other interesting insights in the rest of the piece.

Facial Recognition Tech: New Key to Crime Solving (The Fiscal Times)

However, it’s likely the FBI was unsuccessful in identifying the suspects using FR because either they didn’t have a quality image of the wanted persons, or the suspects were not in any of the databases the FBI has access too, Albers said.

While facial recognition technology has high-accuracy when used to match a clear image of a person with another passport-style photo, it is not as effective when used with low-quality images like the ones the FBI released on Thursday. The standard for facial recognition to be accurate requires 90 pixels of resolution between the two eyes of the pictured person. The pictures the FBI released of the suspects were about 12 pixels between the two eyes, said Jim Wayman, the director of the National Biometric Center.

and..
Facial-recognition technology to help track down criminals – Humans are still better at it (Kuwait Times)

Search for Boston bombers likely relied on eyes, not software (Reuters)

These last two reminded me of the (Facial Recognition vs Human) & (Facial Recognition + Human) post from November 2011.

In the Boston case, it looks like there were two barriers to effective use of facial recognition technology in identifying the suspects. On the “evidence” (probe) side, the image quality was poor. On the enrollment (database) side the only “correct” match was likely to be in a very large database such as the Massachusetts DMV database.

If only one of these conditions were true — for example a bad probe against a small database, or good probe against a large database — facial recognition technology might have been of more help.

Crowd-sourcing the ID challenge to a large number of human beings that operate with a lot more intelligence and information than facial recognition algorithms is another option. It’s been used with photographs since at least 1865 and without photographs since at least 1696.

One crowd-sourcing fact that law enforcement officials must consider, however, is that the suspect is almost certainly in the sourced crowd. If the suspect already knows he’s a suspect, that’s not a problem. If he doesn’t already know he’s suspected, that information is the price of getting the public’s help which means facial recognition technology will retain its place in the criminal ID toolkit.

UPDATE:
Boston police chief: facial recognition tech didn’t help find bombing suspects (Ars Technica)

“The technology came up empty even though both Tsarnaevs’ images exist in official databases: Dzhokhar had a Massachusetts driver’s license; the brothers had legally immigrated; and Tamerlan had been the subject of some FBI investigation,” the Post reported on Saturday.

Facial recognition systems can have limited utility when a grainy, low-resolution image captured at a distance from a cellphone camera or surveillance video is compared with a known, high-quality image. Meanwhile, the FBI is expected to release a large-scale facial recognition apparatus “next year for members of the Western Identification Network, a consortium of police agencies in California and eight other Western states,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Law enforcement interoperability, though little discussed, is a big deal

Tyneside jewellery heist could lead to DNA sharing (Chronicle Live)

A jewellery heist on Tyneside has sparked a review of DNA sharing across Europe that could force police to hand over criminal records to foreign counterparts.

Specialists in Newcastle will spearhead a £1.2m effort to design a database that profiles crimes committed across the continent as part of a controversial EU information sharing treaty.

It comes just 12 months after a convicted murderer and his armed gang from Eastern Europe were convicted of carrying out an armed raid at a Newcastle jewellers.

Led by convicted murderer Marek Viidemann, the ring was linked to at least 150 armed robberies across the UK and Europe before being eventually jailed for a total of more than 30 years.

First, DNA is likely to be a small part of whatever system improvements emerge.  It’s expensive and slow compared to just about any other biometric modality or combination of modalities such as finger, face and iris.

From a management standpoint it seems that if you want to have a free flow of people, you need to have a free flow of law enforcement information. This is easier said than done. It’s often a challenge even when dealing with adjacent counties in the same state in the US much less, as in the European context, two different countries.

The term for this system compatibility and ability to effectively cooperate among departments is interoperability. It is a managerial and technical challenge that is rarely dealt with in popular depictions of how law enforcement works but, especially as the complexity of the law enforcement challenge increases, it is of critical importance.

Often, there are good systems in place for passing information “up the chain of command,” i.e. from street cop all the way up to a state or national information repository, but the information doesn’t always flow as freely back down again in the other direction. For various reasons, the formal links between street-level law enforcement officers in neighboring jurisdictions run up through a centralized authority and then back down again, though there are often informal links that bypass the up-and-back-down information flow model. The implications for efficient multi-jurisdictional law enforcement are clear.

Some of these issues came up a couple of years ago in a post. Usefulness of Biometrics in Law Enforcement: Who is the Customer? The analysis there can be extended from biometrics to all sorts of law enforcement IT systems and it has a great deal of bearing on issues like the ones raised by the Newcastle jewelry heist by international criminals.

Many police professionals put a lot more into databases of all types than they ever get out of them. Through biometric technologies and other integration services, SecurLinx works hard to balance that out a bit for our law enforcement customers.

Britain’s immigration system since 2000

Immigration issues have been hot topics in both the US and the UK.

Visa consultancy WorkPermit.com provides a short recap of the history of the United Kingdom’s border management this century.

Former UK immigration boss says system has been out of control since 2000

It’s a pretty grim assessment. Turning the situation around will require talented managers operating within a more flexible political environment applying the best technology to the task. Easy for me to say. The technology part, while difficult, is by far the most easily met of those three preconditions for success.

A couple of municipal fingerprint time-and-attendance deployments going badly

INDIA: SDMC staff misusing biometric attendance system (Jagran Post)

According to the sources, most of the Municipal Corporation staff has given their fake thumb impressions to their colleagues who mark their attendance in their absence. Some workers raised the issue before the higher authorities but all the efforts went in vain.

SOUTH AFRICA: Council pays for unused system (Independent Online)

The costs are mounting, yet an electronic time management system installed to provide efficiency and control in the Hibiscus Coast municipality, almost three years ago, has still not been used. The biometric system which reads the fingerprints of workers to record what time they start and finish, was supposed to replace the current manual attendance register.

A lot of biometric ID management installations come down to managerial, rather than technical, challenges. This is especially true for biometric time-and-attendance systems.

Technically, biometric time-and-attendance systems are pretty straightforward but they can’t manage a business all by themselves. An organization that wants to maximize its Return on Investment in biometric ID management systems, will view the technology as a tool supporting able managers, not as a substitute for managerial skill.

For similar thoughts and other examples, see:
Business Management & Biometric Time-and-Attendance (I took the two paragraphs just above from this one);

Good Help is Hard to Find;

UK pays £22.5 million for ‘questionable’ Democratic Republic of Congo election; and

Technology and Management working together can help improve public payments system

Congratulations to Ghana

It looks like Ghana pulled off the most pervasive national biometrically verified elections ever attempted. Brazil probably biometrically verifies more voters than Ghana just did but Brazil is taking a gradual approach to biometric voter verification, scheduled for complete coverage by 2018.

Ghana went straight for blanket coverage and by most accounts did quite well. Of course nothing is perfect. Due to a lack of election materials and some problems with the biometric machinery, some polling places opened late on Friday and reopened on Saturday which wasn’t in the original program.

I had an email exchange over the weekend with a colleague in Accra who has worked with electoral biometrics in Ghana. It leads me to believe that this article posted at Modern Ghana gets things just about right.

Training In Use Of Biometric Must Be Top Priority In Next Election—CODEO Recommends

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to actively engage electoral officers and all persons associated with the Biometric Verification Machines process in intensive education prior to future elections.

According to CODEO however, “the problems and lapses in the voting process on December 7 which resulted in the adjournment of the process did not fundamentally undermine the overall integrity of the conduct of the polling, of counting and collation of ballots… In spite of the logistical and technical challenges, CODEO is of the view that the December Presidential and General elections have been well conducted.”

We’ve said before, training electoral workers and informing the public is a HUGE part of the challenge of implementing biometric elections. It’s also one of the most expensive parts — more expensive than the technology (if done correctly), even in places with low labor costs.

Biometrics, like elections, are about people. So, congratulations to the people of Ghana on the success of the biometric voter enrollment and verification project.

ARMM, Philippines: Lack of Legal Framework Undermines Biometric Voter Exercise

Doubts raised ARMM can purge voters’ list (Yahoo – Philippines)

In another case of how good management and good technology need to be in the same place at the same time in order to make a real difference, an apparent legal oversight means that the process of disqualifying fraudulent voter registrations in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao is to be so time consuming that it may be impossible to complete before the scheduled elections.

As far as I can tell, the laws governing the biometric voter registration in the ARMM don’t make any provision for rejecting multiple registrations. There also isn’t any mention of it being against the law to register multiple times. Given its electoral history it’s difficult to assume that local authorities can have been surprised by any of this.

The situation in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao stands in stark contrast to Sierra Leone. See Woman Sentenced for Double Voter Registration.

Biometrics and “Green on Blue” Violence in Afghanistan

Another ‘green-on-blue’ attack kills NATO troop; 10 dead in 2 weeks (Stars & Stripes)

Afghanistan ‘insider’ attacks pose threat to West’s exit strategy (Stars & Stripes)

How to guard against such attacks is the subject of considerable debate in military leadership circles, because overtly heavy-handed measures can send a signal to the Afghans that they are not trusted, which can be taken as an insult. And in traditional Afghan culture, perceived insult can swiftly lead to exactly the sort of violence the attacks represent.

Efforts on the Afghan side include embedding undercover intelligence officers in some battalions, and stricter scrutiny of recruits, including the collection of biometric data to compare against a database of known insurgents. Some observers, though, believe the safeguards built into the recruitment process, including the requirement that village elders vouch for those who want to join the army, are routinely bypassed in many provinces.

Biometrics can help with identity management but they are always just a part of an overall organizational plan.

This short passage touches on a few important issues: technology, managing people, managing a security regime once it’s in place. All must work together in furtherance of organizational goals. If one leg of the stool goes, the whole structure is at risk. For some organizations that means embarrassing CEO speeches and annoyed customers. For others the results are utterly tragic.

Technology and Management working together can help improve public payments system.

What I like about this article is the juxtaposition of the technological and managerial aspects of dealing with difficult problems.

Ghana loses millions in multiple salary payments (Modern Ghana)

In its response to the issue raised by the Auditor-General, the management of the CAGD said “the observation is noted and CAGD will investigate and take necessary action. In general, the ongoing biometric registration of active employees and pensioners will help address some of the payroll issues”.

The Auditor-General also called for an effective supervision of data entry officers to minimise the risk of payroll frauds and errors.

Biometrics give able managers a powerful new tool and an opportunity to realize significant returns on technology investment (ROI) but they can’t manage anything by themselves.

Biometric identity management is about people.

Michael D. Kirkpatrick FBI Assistant Director in Charge of Criminal Justice Information Services (Ret.) to Discuss Biometrics & Law Enforcement at July #BiometricChat

When: July 19, 2012 — 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 (hashtag #biometricchat

What: Tweet chat on Biometrics and Law Enforcement with Michael D. Kirkpatrick (@MDKConsulting)

Topics: The past, present and future of biometric ID management applications in law enforcement, interoperability, modalities.

To send questions for the #BiometricChat:
Email: SecurLinx blog
Twitter: @SecurLinx, hashtag #biometricchat

When John at M2SYS asked me to guest host the July #BiometricChat, I immediately thought of Michael Kirkpatrick. I’m happy to announce that he’s agreed to join us. I offer my sincere thanks to both of them for the opportunity.

Michael Kirkpatrick

Michael D. Kirkpatrick, as the FBI’s Assistant Director in Charge of the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division from January 2001 – August 2004, led the Division through profound IT changes especially relating to the application of biometric technologies to the challenges of law enforcement.

Back in the day (i.e. before 1999), fingerprint analysis for law enforcement purposes was a much different ball game. Everything was accomplished with paper, ink, and highly-trained, dedicated  fingerprint analysts. That made law enforcement biometrics pretty much the only biometrics game in town because there weren’t really any commercial applications for that type of set-up. Sure, some professions required criminal background checks, but the fingerprinting part was mostly there to make it easier to catch people in the event they committed crimes at some later date.

Presently, the FBI maintains the world’s largest collection of biometric data and facilitates information sharing between law enforcement organizations and a range of both public and private entities. The CJIS center handles more than 61 million ten-print submissions a year. Average response time for an electronic criminal fingerprint submission is about 27 minutes, Electronic civil submissions are processed within 72 minutes.

The successful transition from a paper system to an Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), presented a range of technical, organizational and managerial challenges such as: What to do with all the paper records; What technical standards to apply to digitization; Determining what confidence level constitutes a match; How to receive input remotely and transmit results;  How to store the information securely; What policies to put in place; Determining whether current international agreements were adequate or forging new ones necessary. The list goes on and on.

Without the hard work sorting out these kinds of questions done by those at CJIS, biometric ID management applications, beginning with fingerprint biometrics, simply would not have nearly the impact in the public and private sectors that they do today. Michael D. Kirkpatrick was one of the many people who helped make it all possible.

Over the course of his career, Michael has done far too many interesting things in law enforcement and biometrics than can be listed here. Thankfully, he has posted a brief overview of some of his experiences at his site, here. He tweets at @MDKConsulting

We hope that you will spread the word among your colleagues and friends and join us Thursday, July 19 at 11am EDT.

Please send questions via:
Email: SecurLinx blog
Twitter: @SecurLinx, hashtag #biometricchat

We’ll publish the chat questions in an update to this post early next week.

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

An Embarrassing Insubordination – It Takes a Human To Give Coriander an ID

Coriander s/o Pulao, Aadhaar No 499118665246 (DNA India)

Coriander and an apple, as per the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), are residents of India as they have been given an Aadhaar number. And this, perhaps, has been the last straw.

Expressing shock at this, not to mention there having been several complaints of impersonation, the Union home ministry has asked UIDAI to get an internal as well as external security audit done by a third party to fix the lacunae in the enrolment system and avoid any more goof-ups.

OK, let’s get this out of the way. This story is funny and embarrassing. We even had some fun with it in April and May of this year: UID Embarrassment: Vegetable Gets an ID and Take that, Cilantro!.

It is also being blown way out of proportion. Nobody used Coriander’s ID to do anything good or bad.

P Keshav, a Member of Legislative Assembly from the district where the fraud occurred has speculated that the fraud was probably a prank played by someone who wanted to show how casually the process of data collection is done in villages and that the private agencies entrusted with the job have no understanding of the job.

So the hoax was probably an inside job. At the very least it required the complicity of an employee of a trusted entity: one of the companies that facilitates enrollment. Nevertheless, a corrupt official at the DMV issuing false documents doesn’t call the whole drivers license regime into question, and the same is true for UID, but it does encourage policy changes.

The unwanted attention the fraud has brought on the UID enrollment process has led to policy changes that should make the situation better. More attention will be focused on the private operators who charge money to collect enrollments. There’s no reason why the private agency and the employee responsible the fraud couldn’t be sanctioned. In fact, UIDAI probably should institute some sort of performance metric that affects payouts to the private firms based upon data quality, which despite The Coriander Affair, has remained high even as costs have fallen.

It’s important to remember that the management challenge of UID is every bit as difficult as the technical challenge.

Back to Three Sides of the Same Coin

ID Rivalry Reignites in India

In the Dec. 6, 2011 post, India: How Much Fraud is Acceptable in NPR, UID, we touched on the philosophical differences between NPR and UID and the men behind the two efforts.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s biggest point has always been that his organization’s database, the National Population Register (NPR), is for Indian citizens only with a view toward issuing a citizenship card. His concern is that loose enrollment standards will lead to issuing the citizenship card to non-citizens and doing that exposes India to intolerable security risks.

The UIDAI, led by Nandan Nilekani is more concerned with providing everyone in India with a legitimate identity. The implicit assumption is that in a situation where a significant portion of the population will be unable to prove with scientific precision who they are (because they don’t have ID), you’re better off getting everyone an ID and then trying to sort things out later.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set the conditions for both efforts to proceed in parallel, sharing tasks and infrastructure (in areas such as de-duplication) when possible, and otherwise staying out of each other’s way.

Though he never really seemed to accept the legitimacy of the pro-UID point of view Chidambaram took his medicine on January 24, 2012, in essence proclaiming “Rivalry! What rivalry?” See: UID: Home Ministry Climb-down.

Three days later the truce was sealed. UID would enroll 600 million people in 16 of India’s 28 states, and the NPR would issue 600 million credentials elsewhere. See Compromise reached on Biometric ID in India (January 27) which predicted that the rivalry would soon heat up again.

…which brings us to today:
Chidambaram, Nilekani spar over collection of biometric data (Times of India)

Sources said the cabinet again discussed the issue on Thursday after Chidambaram recently wrote to the Prime Minister complaining that the NPR project had “come to a standstill” because of the UID scheme.

“The collection of photographs and biometrics has been facing hurdles at every step on account approach of the UIDAI, which, it seems, has failed to appreciate the core purpose of the National Population Register,” Chidambaram said in his letter.

He also slammed the UIDAI for allegedly not following the cabinet’s orders.

“Despite clear orders from the cabinet, the UIDAI is objecting to the conduct of NPR camps in certain states and is also refusing to accept the biometric data of NPR for de-duplication and generation of Aadhaar number,” he said.

Versions of this article are all over the news today. I chose this one from the Times of India for the quality of the discussion in the comment section.

Of course, all this is highly political. But as we say around here all the time: Biometrics is about people. That applies across the board. It applies to the relationship between the individual and the ID management system, and it applies to the political and managerial people who implement and operate ID management systems.

Politics will always play a part in national biometric deployments and they should. What’s interesting in this case is that the political battle isn’t between pro- and anti-biometrics forces. It’s between two giant biometric deployments and, yes, the people who run them.

Good Help is Hard to Find

A lot of really good thinking about ID and biometrics comes out of South Africa. In the piece linked below, Marius Coetzee makes some points with which we wholeheartedly agree.

Smart IDs alone cannot tackle fraud

Marius Coetzee, MD of biometric identity control specialist Ideco, says smart identity cards will improve identification processes through the use of biometrics, but they cannot solve the identity fraud problem on their own.

“We’ve been in this game for the past 10 years. We have seen companies publish tenders for solutions and spend a lot of money on a pilot, only to see poor results. Biometrics is an extremely complex science – if you implement it correctly, working with the right partners, you will see results. If you don’t, you will simply waste money.”

ID management technology is a tool managers can use to make certain business processes more efficient, saving the organization money. No technology can manage a business all by itself.

And, of course, as with so many other things, a good partner can make all the difference. The problem is that the larger biometrics vendors don’t really want to be that partner for any normally-sized or price sensitive organization and other organizations that could really take advantage of better ID management systems have difficulty finding the partners they need because the expertise is in small companies. Biometrics hasn’t been Oracle’d, SAP’ed, Microsoftened or IBM’d, yet, and it’s going to be a while before that changes.

Until then, SecurLinx is here to help.

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