Fingerprint credit cards headed to the UK

New Biometric MasterCards Take Norway; Britain is Next (findBIOMETRICS)

So next year the card is going to make its debut in Britain, a country that seems to have recently come around to the benefits of biometric technology, having fully embraced biometric airport screening after a disastrous initial go of it a decade ago. The fingerprint scanners in MasterCard’s new credit cards are, of course, for authentication purposes, and will replace the PIN system currently in use in Britain.

Samsung and biometrics extends PayPal’s point-of-sale reach

PayPal launches Galaxy S5 fingerprint-based payments in 25 countries (Android Authority)

Customers can use their finger to pay with PayPal from their new Samsung Galaxy S5 because the FIDO Ready software on the device securely communicates between the fingerprint sensor on their device and PayPal’s service in the cloud. The only information the device shares with PayPal is a unique encrypted key that allows PayPal to verify the identity of the customer without having to store any biometric information on PayPal’s servers”

Mobile device manufacturers begin taking security more seriously

A little over two years ago, when Motorola yanked the fingerprint sensor from its Atrix line, we noted that there is a tension between the market signals from the “make ’em cheaper” vs the “make ’em more secure” crowd.

It appears that the rise of mobile commerce since then is forcing manufacturers to give more weight to security now than they did then.

Security continues to be a major issue for mobile commerce (Mobile Commerce Press)

Mobile identity is becoming more important to businesses, especially as more consumers around the world begin to rely on smartphones, tablets, and other devices in their daily lives. Market research firm ResearchMOZ has released a new report concerning the growing importance of mobile identity and how businesses are beginning to invest more heavily in biometrics and other such technologies. The report cites the growth of mobile interactions and mobile commerce as the influence behind higher investments in mobile identity.

…and there’s this.

ARM is developing a 128-bit mobile chip for use in Samsung hardware (tech2)

If 64-bits just aren’t enough for you, the ARM official has also revealed that it is aiming for 128-bit mobile chips that will be developed over the next couple of years. As ridiculous as it may sound, demand for the chip will supposedly be driven by the drastic performance upgrades needed for biometric sensors and face recognition.

128 seems a bit big. Facial recognition recognition systems in government applications with very large databases work well on 32- and 64-bit systems. Those who may disagree will likely base their disagreement on factors other than number of bits of data the chip can handle at one time.

Nevertheless, it’s good to see hardware manufacturers providing more options to security-conscious mobile device user.

Another go at biometric payments

One day, someone will crack this nut.

Fingerprints Instead Of Credit Cards? YC-Backed PayTango Aims To Make Payments Work Through Biometrics (Tech Crunch)

One YC-backed startup is betting that fingerprints and other forms of biometric identification may be the payment method of the future though. Called PayTango, they’re partnering with local universities to offer a quick and easy way for students to use their fingerprints to pay instead of credit cards.

The four-person team is basically almost fresh out of Carnegie Mellon University. The co-founders, Brian Groudan, Kelly Lau-Kee, Umang Patel and Christian Reyes, graduating later this summer and have experience in human-computer interaction and information systems.

Read the whole thing. The comments section is unusually lively, though severed-digit-phobia (or is it simple glibness?) seems endemic there. Really, folks. It’s a point of sale terminal. I’m pretty sure severed fingers would attract some attention at a cash register, perhaps even more than a stolen credit card.

If you wade those comments there are some enlightened ones there, too.

Keeping school lunch biometrics in perspective

Maryland: Bill from Carroll senator would ban collection of students’ biometric data (Baltimore Sun)

Earlier this school year, Carroll County Public Schools had biometric scanners in place in about 10 school cafeterias, where they were used to help expedite the process of paying for school meals. Officials said the scanners would be more efficient than processing cash transactions or using a PIN keypad system.

But officials fielded complaints from some parents who felt the scanners were an invasion of privacy.

If you think biometrics for school lunch payment are bad, you’re not going to like this:

Joy Pullmann: Data mining kids crosses line (Orange County Register)

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating how public schools can collect information on “non-cognitive” student attributes, after granting itself the power to share student data across agencies without parents’ knowledge.

The feds want to use schools to catalogue “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes and intrapersonal resources – independent of intellectual ability,” according to a February DOE report, all under the guise of education.

Read the whole thing.

Like we’ve said before, “If schools are unable to keep data secure, biometric template information is the last thing that should concern parents.” “Secure” doesn’t really apply in the situation described above but the observation that schools already possess very detailed information about students stands.

For the curious: This is an actual biometric template created using one finger, an off-the-shelf fingerprint reader and their freely-circulated software development kit (SDK). It consists of 800 hexadecimal characters.

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

Something similar could be used instead of a PIN number for lunch purchases in Maryland schools unless the state bans the technology.

Now which is more risky to student privacy, those 800 characters which I’ve freely put online and made public, or other types of records schools routinely and uncontroversially* keep?

*Ms. Pullmann seems to find the potential sharing of information without parental knowledge and the chipping away of existing privacy protections that prevented sharing of non-academic information (including biometric information) more problematic than the fact that schools know a lot of non-cognitive details about students.

On another note the mention of “a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists” caught my eye. Within the large and growing list of biometric modalities, I’ve never heard of wrist biometrics. I suspect that this is another example of confusion that arises when “biometrics” and “biostatistics” are needlessly lumped together, a subject we have covered in some detail.

Maryland school halts biometric deployment in lunchrooms

Controversial Carroll school palm scanners discontinued (Baltimore Sun)

School Superintendent Stephen Guthrie announced his decision Wednesday to halt use of the system, called PalmSecure, and to ask officials to look at other options. His announcement came after a meeting with County Commissioner Doug Howard, who cited concerns among parents who worried about possible security breaches.

In announcing his decision, Guthrie said he wanted to avoid alienating what he called a “core group” of a few community members who raised the concerns.

He said he believes the system is secure.

Cases like this are fairly rare.

School administrators should be prepared for a vocal minority to raise security and privacy concerns.

In most cases where schools implement biometric point of sale terminals for school lunch administration, these concerns are overcome for the vast majority of parents through good communication, an opt-out mechanism and making sure that students aren’t enrolled in a system before parents have heard about it.

Ibiza Hotel ❤’s Biometrics

Tequila at your fingertips: cashless clubbing arrives in Ibiza, is this the most dangerous technology ever? (Daily Mail)

Ibiza die-hards are always looking for the next big thing, and at the moment this is it.

Much cooler than an all-inclusive wrist-band, this cashless system lets showy guests pay for anything at the hotel with a swipe of their fingers, a brilliant way to impress.

And as one of the hottest new party destinations in Ibiza, the five star options are pretty extensive.

A Rare Biometric Deployment in a Hotel

I’m no hotelier but the management of a hotel seems to entail a multitude of tasks where biometrics could make things a lot easier, yet news of hotels adopting biometric solutions has been so scant that we’ve only used our ‘hotel’ label once.

Ibiza Hotel Trials Fingerprint Payment (Wall Street Journal)

It could be the solution to the age-old vacation question: Where do you put your wallet when you are dressed for the pool? Ibiza hotel Ushuaïa Beach claims to be the first in the world to introduce a fingerprint payment system.

Guests register their fingerprints to one or more credit cards. They can then pay for food, drinks and services simply by touching two fingers to a biometric reader.

This deployment reminds me of the Zoom Tan system.

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