New DHS plans for biometrics should inform current corporate CIO’s

DHS Outlines Plans to Enhance Use of Biometric Tech (Find Biometrics)

America’s Department of Homeland Security has released a new strategic framework on how it plans to move forward implementing biometric technologies. Entitled “DHS Vision Statement on Enhanced Biometric Capabilities”, the document indicates a tightening embrace of the technology.

The full DHS vision statement can be downloaded here [.pdf; 13 pages].

Interesting excerpt:

The DHS Office of Biometrics and Identity Management (OBIM) operates and maintains the DHS Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and provides identity management services and expertise across DHS. Front‐end capabilities (i.e. biometric collection devices, applications, interfaces and supporting infrastructure) are each managed and maintained independently by the components, with limited collaboration. National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)‐59 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)‐24 “Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security,” charges federal executive departments and agencies to use mutually compatible methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric information. Access to external federal biometric databases however, through bilateral interoperability agreements, is not fully implemented, requiring DHS components to employ mission centric solutions for integrating certain biometric exchanges with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Defense (DoD). This requires DHS components to work independently with the FBI and DoD to integrate with each biometric system for access to data that assists in identifying and adjudicating subjects. The current IDENT system, although able to store multi‐modal biometrics, offers matching capability for fingerprints only, limiting operational components’ ability to implement the use of alternate biometrics that may better suit operational needs. Current DHS Component systems tend to be encounter‐based – instead of person‐centric – requiring biometrics collection processes to be repeated, rather than just verified. Connectivity for systems that collect biometrics in the field is inconsistent, often not allowing real‐time access to federal biometric databases. Further, existing biometric collection systems in the field are dated, many are at end‐of‐life, impacting the quality of the biometrics collected, which affects overall performance.

Current and prospective CIO’s should reread that paragraph. The future of identity management is large-scale, multimodal, interconnected and updated as soon as possible, and provides access to virtual and physical resources. The earliest adopter of large-scale biometrics is coming to grips with the challenges of biometrics 2.0. At SecurLinx, we have designed our technology and approach to help our customers cope with the dead-ends and cult-du-sacs associated with gradual adoption of new ID technologies and provide them the flexibility to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by emerging technology.

Australia gearing up for huge biometrics tender

CrimTrac to extend national biometric identification database (The Financial Review)

CrimTrac, the federal biometric information repository, wants more freedom to flexibly access other databases, such as national location data, as the national broadband program gradually progresses towards a fully functional, nationally available high-speed data network.

It is looking for a specialist information technology supplier to tool up a more flexible, versatile operating installation which can incorporate a range of new techniques as they become available, and can cope with the ever-spreading list of mobile devices being deployed in the field by policing agencies.

ID and the internet of things

The Internet of Everything: Is your company ready for machine intelligence? (VentureBeat)

While most of us are familiar with biometric authentication, machine learning may make authentication effortless. “It’s about convenience,” says Zaki. “Our vision is that authentication should be happening in the background continuously.”

If you’re typing on your phone, your fingerprint can be immediately detected; if you’re looking at your screen, your iris can be scanned. Multifactor authentication can include a number of things…

It’s going to be a programmatic challenge, but creating a “smart environment” that takes in bits of information from all available sources in order to identify individuals for logical and physical access control is becoming a possibility.

US: Los Angeles County acquiring multimodal biometric ID system

LA County Sheriff’s Department to Start Collecting Face and Eye Scans (The Epoch Times)

Thai argues the new data collection will actually protect people from identity theft and will avoid wrongful arrests.

“Sometimes we arrest people, and they don’t use their real name, so by having a better way to identify that person, it will protect the public [from] those that will get their name used by somebody else,” he said.

The technology will be used by all of the approximately 46 law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County. It will take about 15-18 months to be installed and fully operational.

LA County may be one of the more complex law enforcement environments in the developed world.

Large company CTO’s should read the DHS biometrics RFI

The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stores and analyzes biometric data, digital fingerprints and photographs, and links that data with biographic information to identify/enroll identities and subsequently match or verify the established identities. OBIM is proactively addressing its next-generation architecture and capabilities for replacing the current biometric system. The vision for this activity represents a major investment to ensure that OBIM can continue to accommodate the expected growth of populations and new applications of multimodal biometric identity screening based on OBIM mission and our customers’ identity service needs.

Below are some of the things the government is interested in learning more about [warning: link downloads a .pdf file]. Reading through the items below, scalability, interoperability, accuracy and integration with other systems seem to be real priorities for DHS.

It’s also worth noting that while these issues have become pressing for this early adopter of large-scale biometric technologies, all large-scale biometrics deployments will have to meet some or all of these challenges eventually. Strategic planners in some of the larger organizations contemplating biometric solutions would be wise to consider the following as early in their development process as possible and to plan for the future.

A. Identity Deconfliction:
OBIM desires a system that has the ability to determine a person’s unique identity based on a combination of biometric and biographic traits and contextual data. Respondents should also detail the best approach to determine a level of confidence based on the combination of traits used in the identification, and should provide methods for continuous identity management, including enrollment of identities, splitting/merging of identities, and updating identity confidence levels based on new information.

B. Advanced Biometric Matching:
OBIM is requesting information on a system through the application of state- of-the-art techniques that can improve the accuracy and efficiency of its biometric services. Specifically, OBIM is interested in learning about:

1. Approaches and architectures for leveraging multiple biometric modalities in very large-scale systems to improve accuracy and identity assurance and to decrease failure-to-enroll rates. The provided information must address multimodal fusion techniques and include the known benefits and architectural limitations of such approaches.
2. Methods to reduce the computational requirements of biometric matching without decreasing accuracy. Examples of such techniques could include ways to decrease the need for full gallery searches (1:N), decrease the penetration rate of 1:N searches, and leverage multiple modalities to reduce computational intensity.
3. Approaches and architectures for decreasing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs for large-scale systems, including system virtualization, footprint, energy usage, and licensing costs.

C. Advanced Biographic Searching:
OBIM is requesting information on a system through the application of state- of-the-art techniques that can improve the accuracy and efficiency of its biographic pre-verify services. OBIM is interested in various approaches for using biographic information to assist in the deconfliction and disambiguation of identity information. The biographic information would typically contain various elements and combinations of biographic information, including name, birth date and location, gender, and citizenship. In particular, OBIM is interested in performance in terms of accuracy, speed, and other performance profiles and products in production or currently in technical readiness testing and evaluation to facilitate more 1:1 transactions.

D. High-Performance Transaction Processing:
OBIM requests information on the status, trends, and direction of large-scale biometric and biographic transaction processing systems and related technologies, including processing speeds and high-volume, high-reliability, and high- availability systems and architectures. Information should also be provided on demonstrated scalability and managing a high volume of transactions with varying response requirements.

E. Business Intelligence Capabilities:
Respondents should provide information on business intelligence architectures, techniques, and software where these capabilities provide better historical, current, and predictive analysis of available biometric and biographic information, including the analysis of both operational and content data.

F. Storage:
Respondents should provide information on current capabilities, trends and alternatives to store, index, and correlate structured and unstructured data in all formats regardless of type or size. In addition respondents should present their ability for organizing and retrieving large quantities of data and/or images (>109). This should also include hardware specifications. The Government is interested in industry’s experience and offerings for tiered and/or distributed storage and in minimizing processing and storage overhead, while maximizing input/output performance, the retrieval of data, application independence, portability, and data integrity.

G. Information Linking:
OBIM seeks information on the best methods and techniques to link data items to unique identities, and to maintain the linkage on an ongoing basis, including capturing additional links, removing links, and providing linkage information to stakeholders as permitted according to a predefined set of business rules. Linked information could be made available in a variety of ways, including publish/subscribe methods. It is assumed that the actual data would still reside in separate systems/databases within and outside DHS.

H. International Biometrics:
Respondents should provide information on developing an architecture capable of supporting and managing a federated international biometric and identity- verification schema with multiple stakeholders worldwide that ensures responsiveness while tailoring privacy, security, and person-centric data to individual stakeholder needs. An analogous business and technical construct might be the topology for international automated teller machines, banking, clearinghouses, and credit/debit cards.

Mobile face and voice combo tested by Mastercard

Mastercard voice and face recognition acheives 98% success rate (Computer Weekly)

The payment card company created a mobile app to test voice and facial recognition technologies on more than 14,000 transactions.

Mastercard employees around the world carried out the tests on Android and iOS operating systems. The process took less than 10 seconds for most transactions.

We discussed why face and voice biometrics were likely to be strong candidates for mobile biometrics here in 2012.

“On schedule, within budget and within scope.”

Next Generation Identification: A closer look at the FBI’s billion-dollar biometric program (Biometric Update)

Representing a $1.2 billion investment by the U.S. federal government, the FBI’s massive Next Generation Identification (NGI) program is a ten-year lifecycle project that hinges on biometric identification technologies and has seen privacy advocates butt heads with law enforcement since its inception.

Split into six “increments,” Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract in 2008 to design, build and implement the program on behalf of the FBI, which ultimately aims to enhance the abilities of the agency’s aging IAFIS from the mid-nineties.

More at the link.

New military multi-modal biometric hardware

New Biometrics Device Helps Marines Determine Friend or Foe (Forensic Magazine)

The BESD system is an ultra lightweight, ruggedized, handheld portable device that collects and stores biometrics information. It compares and matches fingerprints, iris images and facial photos against an internal biometric database to identify individuals encountered on the battlefield. It is an enabler in the areas of detainee management and questioning, base access, counterintelligence screening, border control and law enforcement.

Interesting approach, having the database on the device. On the plus side, storing the data locally takes connectivity issues out of the equation. There are, however costs. To stay current, the device has to be synched with a central data repository from time to time. There are limits to the amount of data that can be stored on a handheld device. Also, since the data is on the device, there needs to be really good data security in the device itself.

India: UID begins to incorporate iris, improves fingerprint results

UIDAI’s Iris Authentication proof of concept study successful (UIDAI Press Release – pdf)

The UIDAI has successfully conducted the proof of concept Iris authentication study in Mysore district of Karnataka. The study brought out the high accuracy levels (above 99.2%) achieved by iris authentication. A combination of iris and fingerprint authentication can further the goals of universal inclusion and pave the way for successful applications based on Aadhaar authentication.

The study was conducted in semi urban setting in Nanjangudtaluk in Mysore district of Karnataka between May 27th and July 30th 2012. 215,342 iris authentication transactions from 5833 residents were studied. 8 models of iris cameras through 6 different OEMs participated in this study.

This study has also brought out the specific improvement areas that biometric ecosystem needs to work upon to further improve the accuracy and coverage percentage. The detailed findings are documented in a report which is being published on UIDAI’s website. This will be followed by a workshop with the device vendors to guide them on the specific actions to be taken by them to improve algorithms and devices. UIDAI will then take up further field studies. These studies would also lead to formulation of iris device specifications for certification and deployment purposes.

It may also be noted that as a result of feedback to the biometric ecosystem, the performance of fingerprint authentication improved substantially from the time UIDAI conducted its first fingerprint authentication PoC to the last PoC. Same is expected in iris authentication domain too, which points that iris authentication has a scope of providing accuracy levels above 99.5%.

Early Adopter Invests More Deeply in Biometrics

PCSO expands portable scan technology to deputies

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office announced it is expanding the use of mobile, multi-modal (iris, fingerprint and facial) biometric identification technology used by deputies.

Patrol deputies, detectives and SWAT members will be able to verify the identity, criminal background, and risk information of suspects with a hand held, wireless device on a Smartphone. Sworn deputies will have iris, fingerprint and facial recognition identification technology available to them virtually anywhere.

Pinal County has been an early adopter of biometrics and BI2 has obviously done a great job of supporting them.

WVU’s own Bojan Cukic holds forth on the state of biometric applications.

Tipping Point Unclear For Mass Market Adoption Of Biometrics

Cukic said that most biometric devices currently available are standalone solutions that do not have access to the Internet. Were this to change, Cukic believes the use of biometrics could receive a significant shot in the arm. “I would say that we have good components, but the question remains, who is going to be the developer responsible for offering these systems in which biometrics address some of the authorization and authentication problems that we face today?” he added.

Middleware and the application development it enables will be critical to moving these technologies out of the lab and niche government installations and into positive ROI applications for profit-making entities.
Or (more succinctly…

Very good article on the state of the industry. Middleware is the glue that pulls this together. #Biometrics @securlinx ow.ly/ccu1a
— Barry Hodge (@HodgeBarry) July 12, 2012

A Hundred Pounds of Cocaine Seized Despite Several Security Breaches

Convicted drug smuggler breached security 7 times (Richmond Review)

Ironically, his unauthorized access to the customs hall was recorded by a new technology introduced the same year Von Holtum was caught, and designed to sound alarm bells.

Billed in January of 2007 by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority as “the world’s first dual biometric airport identification program for non-passengers acccessing restricted areas of the airport,” the RAIC (Restricted Area Identity Card) program was designed to detect and record the comings and goings of airport personnel, including whenever they enter restricted zones.

Security systems can be complex, especially in places like airports. For them to work, they have to bee well planned and someone has to be paying attention to them. In this case, it looks like there wasn’t a mechanism in place to bring several instances of odd behavior to the attention of officials.

Security technology, however awesome, can’t manage an organization. People have to do that.

On the other hand, security is usually redundant and provided in layers. The hundred-or-so pounds of cocaine, after all, was seized.

Fingerprint at a Distance

New fingerprint reader captures prints from 6 meters away (al.com)

IDair makes a machine that Burcham says can photographically capture a fingerprint from as far away as six meters in enough detail to match against a database. Add facial and iris-recognition technology, Burcham said, and you have the basis for a good biometrics system that can control access to any building or room within a building.

Who needs this level of security? “Sooner, rather than later, we’re all going to need it,” Burcham said in a recent interview at his office at Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

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