Ministry sources said the application of fingerprint attendance system uncovered many employees who continued to receive their monthly salaries although they were absent from duty for several years, in addition to those who traveled abroad without permission and others held behind bars on legal issues.
The same sources affirmed that the authorities next month will start deducting salaries and hold absentees accountable for their actions, along with those who skip the fingerprint attendance system on a regular basis.
They noted the implementation of the system has uncovered the reality of all problems and complications the ministry endured throughout the years, and last week, about 3,000 of the estimated 7,500 employees were compelled to apply for leave, and “the mass leave application” was to avoid their inclusion in the fingerprint attendance system, as they fall in the category of ‘absentees and evaders’ of the fingerprint attendance system.
Saudi School Goes Biometric to Curb Student Bunking (New Indian Express)
In a novel step to monitor students’ attendance, a school in Saudi Arabia has introduced fingerprinting system, also enabling parents to be updated about their children’s arrival and departure time via a cellphone message.
12,500 workers struck off payroll after vetting snub (Business Daily)
More than 12, 500 civil servants were Monday struck off the payroll after they failed to list afresh during the two-month registration exercise that was aimed at weeding out ghost workers.
The biometric data registration exercise targeted an estimated 300,000 civil servants.
The move was occasioned by regular complaints of a blotted public service full of ghost workers and the soaring wage bill.
Big Brother Modi is watching bureaucrats (Reuters)
“This is Big Brother stuff but very effective. It’s not just the central government. The state governments are trying to emulate this.”
The Prime Minister’s Office will also take part in the scheme, said Dash, although it was not clear whether Modi would be enrolled.
Project mastermind Sharma, who holds the rank of secretary at the government’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology, could not immediately be reached for comment. The Biometric Attendance System showed he had signed in at work at 13:55:16 p.m. on Thursday.
|Screen grab: attendance.gov.in|
Now, 59-year old Sharma is building an attendance system for India’s central government employees that is inexpensive, publicly available on the internet—and potentially, a simple tool that could revolutionise governance in the country.
The entire system is searchable, down to the names of individual central government employees, and all the data is available for download. And with that single step—making the entire platform publicly accessible—the government has introduced a level of accountability and transparency that India’s sprawling bureaucracy is unaccustomed to.
Using UIDAI, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government has launched a Biometric Attendance System (BAS) for government employees. Attendance.gov.in has been launched to keep a track on the attendance records of employees.
Under the system, an organisation needs to register on the website. According to the website, “A back-end administrator will check the details of the organisation submitted and make the organisation active by assigning it a unique sub-domain which will be the first name of the website.”
This is similar to a system we designed for a customer serving an education ministry in West Africa, only much bigger.
Also, from Business Insider:
In a bid to ensure improved work culture in central government offices, the NDA government has taken a revolutionary step. It has introduced Aadhaar-based biometric attendance systems to monitor and track the work of Central Government employees. The attendance system is now up and running; and you know the best part is that it is accessible even to general public on attendance.gov.in.
Biometric registration of public servants kicks off (Standard Digital News)
The Transition Authority has assured public servants that the Capacity Assessment and Rationalisation of Public Service exercise under the national and county governments would not lead to retrenchment.
Speaking yesterday when the exercise kicked off in Nakuru County, TA Commissioner Simon Pkiyach said the exercise would facilitate the transformation of public service for efficient service delivery.
Aadhar-Based Biometric Attendance For Employees of Central Government by September End (The Indian Republic)
The biometric attendance systems for employees of the central government, based on Aadhar cards, is set to be fully functional by the end of September.
Ram Sevak Sharma, the Information Technology Secretary, has told reporters that the biometric system of attendance will be fully functional by the end of the month.
This time it’s the port of Paranaguá (Portuguese – Folha de S. Paulo)
The 25 “fingers” were tailor-made, reproducing the fingers of 14 employees. They were stored in desks at the port, labeled with the name of each worker. Even a tray (ed. mold?) was found.
Each of the workers have worked there for at least eight years, according to PF.
Federal Police are investigating whether there are other people involved in the fraud.*
According to their site, the port at Paranaguá is the largest bulk port in latin America.
Paranaguá port ©Digital Globe & Microsoft Corporation
See Brazilian ghost doctors have rubber fingers for a more in-depth analysis of why forcing time-and-attendance fraud into the realm of rubber fingers is actually a good thing.
Long story short, every person who participated in creating a facsimile of their fingerprint has also had to create a lot of evidence that they participated in a conspiracy to defraud their employer.
The fraud kit in this most recent case can be seen at the Folha link.
*Translation from Google & Bing translation services with an assist by me. For now, robots still have a hard time with Brazilian Portuguese. I sympathize.
Fingerprinting to end honeymoon for govt staff (Arab News)
Government employees may soon have to mark their attendance through biometrics, which may rob them of the luxury of coming late or even bunking work.
The proposal to have biometric attendance marking in all public departments was mooted by several monitoring agencies including the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha). The move is aimed at ensuring strict and timely attendance of government employees in various sectors.
Workers not captured by biometric will forfeit salaries –Dickson (National Mirror)
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday warned that civil and public servants not captured in the ongoing verification and biometric exercise would forfeit their salaries from January next year.
Cutting across party lines, members of Puducherry Assembly on Thursday demanded the introduction of biometric attendance system in all government offices to avoid late arrival of employees.
Stories bemoaning the adoption of biometric time-and-attendance systems are a dime a dozen. This piece from Calcutta, India takes the opposite stance in a humorous way.
Look who doesn’t want to get caught bunking (The Telegraph – India)
The attendance system was introduced at the varsity some five months ago and has since burdened teachers with regular classes, a habit hitherto unseen at most colleges in the capital.
“Biometric attendance is insulting. Do professors have to punch their fingers on a machine to prove they work? Does not the varsity believe in our honesty?” said Babban Choubey, the president of Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Jharkhand.
It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to read the same list of people’s names over and over again. So why do we make them do it?
Wei Xiaoyong, an associate professor at Sichuan University, used to worry about taking roll call for his class of 100 students.
“It is time-consuming. But students who attend classes every day say it is unfair if I do not do it.”
Wei eventually found the solution – a face recognition system.
With the system, all he has to do is to use an ordinary pocket camera to take a picture of the class. Wei then uploads the picture and the computer will automatically find out who showed up for class.
Wei has not noted a single absence since he started using the system.
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 Workers, still worth reading in its entirety.
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.
The press release extols the virtues of Minute Hound’s solution but the bullet points covered in it are relevant to any discussion of biometrics for time-and-attendance and ROI.
- Saving the Company Money
- Making Information Private
- Organizing Details Efficiently
- Making Life Easier
- Fits any Budget
Notice, they don’t claim perfection, just improvement – the true standard of ROI.
Note: all links in this post go to Portuguese language sources. Translations are a collaboration between Google and me.
My brother in São Paulo tipped me off to a rubber finger scandal in the Greater S.P. health service.
Doctor busted in SP for falsifying colleagues fingerprints with silicone (Floha de S. Paulo – Portuguese)
A doctor was arrested red-handed on Sunday, March 10 for using silicone fingers to fake the fingerprints use to mark the attendance of colleagues. She and the other doctors are employees of Samu Service (Emergency Medical Care) for Ferraz de Vasconcelos, in Greater São Paulo.
According to police, Thauane Nunes Ferreira, 28, registered the attendance of 11 doctors and 20 nurses. She told police she practiced the irregularity because she was coerced by her boss.
Greater SP: Doctors suspected of faking attendance are removed (Floha de S. Paulo – Portuguese)
Six Samu Service (Emergency Medical Care) doctors in Ferraz de Vasconcelos, Greater São Paulo, paid R$ 4,800 [ed. $2,450 US] to the coordinator of the service in the city, Jorge Luiz Cury, in order to avoid working four 24-hours shifts per month for which they were paid, City Hall says. Police are investigating the case. The city pulled the servers allegedly involved in the fraud.
The day before yesterday [ed. see above], when the scheme was discovered, doctor Thauane Nunes Ferreira, 28, was arrested in the act of using mock fingers with silicone fingerprints to mark the attendance of six colleagues.
Where they have been adopted, biometrics have made ghostbusting easier. In this case, with time-and-attendance biometrics deployed someone had to create and use 31 rubber fingers (pictured at both links above). That draws attention. Without biometrics, scaling up the time-and-attendance fraud while decreasing the risk of detection would have been much easier. If this allegedly corrupt boss was willing to go up to at least 31 rubber fingers, how many paper employees would he have tried?
According to Wikipedia, Ferraz de Vasconcelos, where the fraud took place, is second-poorest of Greater São Paulo’s 39 municipalities. Congratulations to all involved for stopping this instance of the corrupt stealing resources meant to provide health care to people far less fortunate than the doctors and administrators involved.
Upon closer examination of the the photos of the fake fingers used, another thought comes to mind. It certainly appears as though the fake fingers were created with the participation of their owners, making them evidence for the prosecution that they were complicit in the fraud. As it is, the fake fingers used in the fraud come from a variety of live finger models. In the two examples pictured below, the one on the left appears to belong to a male and the one on the right appears to belong to a female. If the counterfeiter wasn’t working from live models, there would be no reason to add a fingernail to the back of the fake finger.
|Image edited from original photo at Folha de S. Paulo|
Had the doctors’ prints been somehow lifted via subterfuge and placed onto a silicone finger without their knowledge, we might expect all of the fake fingers to look very similar as the finger counterfeiter might have used his own finger as a model and simply placed the doctors’ prints on it. Alternatively, as with The Old Gummi Bear Trick, the item bearing the fingerprints needn’t look much like a finger at all.
Without biometrics (and with a more careful set of individuals), it might have been very difficult to prove that the doctors involved weren’t just victims of identity theft by a corrupt official. With the evidence on hand (!) it should be a simple matter to determine if the fake fingers match those of the ghost doctors.
A larger question is whether this story argues for or against the adoption of biometric systems for time-and-attendance. Nobody should claim that biometrics or any other security or ID management measure is perfect and infallible. Nothing is infallible. In this case, however, it appears that having a biometric rather than a paper-based time-and-attendance system increased the costs and complexity of committing the fraud. It made executing its daily function (clocking in) more difficult to do without being noticed. And (at least in this case) it forced those complicit in the scheme to create pretty significant evidence of their involvement.
As a manager or law enforcement official, which case would you rather prosecute: one with rubber fingers or one with only a paper trail?
Note: This post has undergone a few revisions for the purposes of updating the post, correcting typographical or grammatical errors and to add clarity.
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);
October 23, 2012
In recent years, the control techniques employed in their workplaces have experienced unprecedented growth, including through the use of biometric devices. Therefore, the CNIL wished to obtain the opinion of trade unions and employers, the General Directorate of Labour as well as some professionals, the use of this technology. The issue of biometrics as a tool for management and control of attendance zones has been analyzed under the Data Protection Act and in accordance with the Labour Code.
The Commission has always been vigilant about biometrics. They have the peculiarity of being unique and permanent, because they identify an individual from its physical, biological or behavioral (eg fingerprint, hand contour). They are not assigned by a third party or by the person chosen. They are produced by the body itself and the means permanently thereby allowing the “tracing” of individuals and their identification.
The sensitive nature of these data that explains the Data Protection Act provides a specific control of the CNIL essentially based on the proportionality of the device in relation to the objective sought, such as time management.
On 27 April 2006, the Commission adopted a single authorization for the implementation of biometric recognition based on the contour of the hand with the purpose of access control and time management and restoration of the site work (AU-007).
Following more than a dozen hearings, consensus is clearly expressed to consider the disproportionate use of biometrics for control schedules.
Therefore, the Commission has decided to modify the TO-007 in that it allowed the use of the hand contour for time management. now, no single authorization are used to control the schedules of employees by a biometric device.
Organizations that already use this device to control schedules and staff who have made a commitment to comply before the publication of this new debate will continue to use it for a period of five years. After this time, they will stop using the biometric feature, which will not involve systematically changing hardware. Organizations can indeed set the system to inhibit the function and use biometric instead, codes, cards and / or badges without biometrics. The CNIL has informed individually organizations having previously sent a commitment to comply with the AU-007.
However, devices contour of the hand can still be used to control access to the premises or manage the restoration of the workplace. These treatments will continue to be a commitment to comply with the AT-007
The fact install a biometric device for purposes other than those covered by the AU-007 will give rise to requests for specific permission, which will be considered on a case by case basis by the Commission. [ed. Translation by Google; Emphasis in original]
It seems that France has placed some limits on biometrics for time-and-attendance, preventing new adoption and requiring a five-year phaseout for those who are currently using the technology.
CNIL explicitly okays biometrics for physical access control.
No example of actual “tracing” or violation of privacy is mentioned in the statement.
It appears the CNIL has preserved by law a certain degree inefficiency in the French labor market — inefficiency that biometric technology can help reduce. So far, this is the only case of its kind that I’m aware of.
Oh well, vive la différence.
5 Cutting Edge Ways to Combat Employee Theft (CNBC)
Problem No. 1: Taking money from the register
Problem No. 2: Copying the company’s digital assets
Problem No. 3: Stealing customer data
Problem No. 4: Pilfering products
Problem No. 5: Cheating on time sheets