• Forensics Forensic facial examiners can be near perfect

    In what might be the first face-off of its kind, trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers. The new assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” says a face recognition researcher.

  • Voice recognitionAutomated voice imitation can defeat voice-recognition security

    Voice biometrics is based on the assumption that each person has a unique voice that depends not only on his or her physiological features of vocal cords but also on his or her entire body shape, and on the way sound is formed and articulated. Researchers have found that automated and human verification for voice-based user authentication systems are vulnerable to voice impersonation attacks. Using an off-the-shelf voice-morphing tool, the researchers developed a voice impersonation attack to attempt to penetrate automated and human verification systems.

  • BiometricsBringing contactless fingerprint technology to market

    Quickly moving through security checkpoints by showing your hand to a scanner seems straight out of science fiction, but work is being done to bring fast, touchless fingerprint readers out of the lab and into the marketplace. The touchless technology offers speed and a hygienic alternative to conventional fingerprint readers.

  • ForensicsDetermining the age of fingerprints

    Watch the imprint of a tire track in soft mud, and it will slowly blur, the ridges of the pattern gradually flowing into the valleys. Researchers have tested the theory that a similar effect could be used to give forensic scientists something they’ve long wished for: A way to date fingerprints. Even the approximate age of a fingerprint can have a critical bearing on forensic results, as it can rule out some prints as being too old to be relevant to a crime scene. Military forensics experts would like to be able to date the multitude of fingerprints found on improvised bombs used by insurgents to winnow out prints of individuals who may simply have handled the components in a shop from those of the actual bombmakers.

  • Trusted travelersU.S., Canada, Mexico create North American Trusted Traveler network

    DHS said it has joined Public Safety Canada and the Secretariat of Governance of Mexico in outlining the first steps toward the creation of a North American Trusted Traveler network. The new agreement, signed on 10 July 2015, will make it easier for eligible travelers in the United States, Mexico, and Canada to apply for expedited screening programs. Eligible travelers will be able to apply for each program beginning in 2016.

  • Real IDDHS extends deadline for Arizona to comply with REAL ID

    The federal government has given Arizona extra time to develop a driver’s license which complies with new federal security rules mandated by the 2005 REAL ID Act. The extension means state residents will be able to continue using their current documents at airports and federal buildings for five more years.

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  • BiometricsFingerprint accuracy stays the same over time: Study

    Fingerprints have been used by law enforcement and forensics experts to successfully identify people for more than 100 years. Though fingerprints are assumed to be infallible personal identifiers, there has been little scientific research to prove this claim to be true. As such, there have been repeated challenges to the admissibility of fingerprint evidence in courts of law. A new study shows that fingerprint recognition accuracy remains stable over time – and that the fingerprint recognition accuracy does not change even as the time between two fingerprints being compared increases.

  • Food securityMuzzle biometrics for cattle ID reduces food fraud

    Meat products are currently a vital part of the global food supply, with beef being a major component of that trade. However, international markets, emerging infectious diseases, and criminal activity mean that there is always a risk of inferior products hitting the supermarket shelves. Researchers are developing a biometric identification system for cattle that could reduce food fraud and allow ranchers to control their stock more efficiently. The system uses the unique features of a prominent part of the animal to identify the beasts — their muzzles.

  • BiometricsDHS awards $58.9 million biometric support contract to Ideal Innovations, Inc.

    Arlington, Virginia-based Ideal Innovations, Inc. (I3) has been awarded a contract by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) to provide specialized fingerprint analysis in support of OBIM’s Biometric Support Center (BSC). The BSC provides fingerprint identification services when the automated matching capabilities of DHS’s central repository cannot determine whether two sets of fingerprints match.

  • Face recognitionUsing “average” photo improves smartphone face recognition

    Face recognition security on smartphones can be significantly improved if users store an “average” photo of themselves, according to new research. A research team found that combining different pictures of the user, rather than a single “target” image, leads to much better recognition across all kinds of daily settings.

  • BiomtericsBiometric technologies have failed to guarantee integrity of elections in Africa

    As Nigerians voted this past weekend in the 2015 presidential elections, there were many reports of technical problems with electronic fingerprint readers, intended to verify voters’ identities before they cast their ballots.At least twenty-five African countrieshave held elections with voters using some sort of electronic voting system. Many of these efforts have failed. Experts say that African governments should not divert public funds to expensive electronic voting systems, and use these funds instead on ways to eliminate voter intimidation, post-election violence, and ballot fraud — all of which are attributes of current election periods regardless of how votes are submitted.

  • CybersecurityBiometric security could do away with passwords

    With hackers and cyber thieves running rampant online, efforts to create stronger online identity protection are leading major tech firms to invest in biometric security methods. Analysts predict that 15 percent of mobile devices will be accessed with biometrics in 2015, and the number will grow to 50 percent by 2020.

  • BiometricsFBI’s biometric data center key to identifying Jihadi John

    The FBI is unlikely to release details of how, working with allies in the United Kingdom, it managed to accomplish the task of identifying “Jihadi John” with only video footage of the suspect’s hidden face and a voice with a British accent. Identifying Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born, British-educated man in his mid-20s, was likely done at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division(CJIS), which houses the bureau’s Biometric Center of Excellence(BCE). At BCE, the FBI uses the $1.2 billion dollar Next Generation Identification(NGI) software to scan photos, aliases, physical traits, fingerprints, and voiceprints. The software is interoperable with the Pentagon’s Automated Biometric Identification System(ABIS) and DHS’s Automated Biometric Identification System(IDENT).

  • AuthenticationSmart keyboard can tell who you are – and also powers and cleans itself

    In a novel twist in cybersecurity, scientists have developed a self-cleaning, self-powered smart keyboard that can identify computer users by the way they type. The smart keyboard can sense typing patterns — including the pressure applied to keys and speed — that can accurately distinguish one individual user from another.

  • Law-enforcement technologyMobile biometric device expedites identity matching

    The Stockton (California) Police Department (SPD) has been quietly testing a state-of-the-art Mobile Biometric Device (MBD) technology for the past four years. Designed quickly to scan fingerprints, irises, and other biological information while officers and evidence technicians are on the field, MBDs can communicate with remote fingerprint databases and confirm matches in as little as three minutes.