• ForensicsNew technique can tell whether a fingerprint belongs to a male or female

    Culprits beware: researchers are taking crime scene fingerprint identification to a new level. They have discovered a straightforward concept for identifying whether a culprit is male or female. It is based on the content in fingerprints — specifically amino acids. Amino acid levels in the sweat of females are about twice as high as in males. There is also a slightly different distribution, due mostly to hormonal differences. The same is true for amino acids left behind in fingerprints.

  • ForensicsDNA identification may not be as reliable as previously thought

    Increasingly important to criminal investigations, DNA analysis once required substantial samples of blood or other bodily fluids, but advances in the field now make it possible to produce a complete genetic profile of a suspect from just a few cells left behind — so-called “touch DNA.” A new study shows that secondary transfer of human DNA through intermediary contact is far more common than previously thought, a finding that could have serious repercussions for medical science and the criminal justice system.

  • FingerprintsGlowing fingerprints help fight crime

    Fingerprint identification has been used as a key method by law enforcement and forensic experts for over 100 years. Researchers say that by adding a drop of liquid containing crystals to surfaces, investigators using a UV light are able to see invisible fingerprints “glow” in about thirty seconds. The strong luminescent effect creates greater contrast between the latent print and surface enabling higher resolution images to be taken for easier and more precise analyses.

  • BiometricsInternal fingerprint sensor enables more accurate ID

    In the 1971 film “Diamonds are Forever,” British secret agent James Bond uses fake fingerprints as part of a ploy to assume the identity of a diamond smuggler. At the time, sham prints were purely a futuristic bit of Bond gadgetry, but technology has since caught up. Quickly detecting “internal fingerprints” and sweat pores could make fingerprint sensors more reliable and less likely to be tricked by fake fingerprints.

  • BiometricsExpert passport officers better than face recognition technology in detecting fraud

    Face-matching experts at the Australian Passport Office are 20 percent more accurate than average people at detecting fraud using automatic face recognition software, new research shows. The study is the first to test how well people perform on this difficult but common operational task carried out by passport officers. “Our research shows that accuracy can be significantly improved by recruiting staff who are naturally good at face recognition - the so-called “super-recognizers” — and then giving them in-depth training in the use of the software,” said the study lead author.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.