Biometric technologies

  • BiometricsA first: Armed robber convicted based on Chicago’s facial recognition technology

    Pierre Martin became the first person in Chicago to receive a prison sentence after being convicted based on evidence from the city’s facial recognition technology, NeoFace. Martin was sentenced Monday to twenty-two years for two armed robberies carried out on the Chicago Transit Authority(CTA) train system in January and February 2013. A few weeks after the incidents, Chicago Police Department officials announced that Marin was identified using facial recognition software.

  • BiometricsImproved performance of facial recognition software

    Who is that stranger in your social media photo? A click on the face reveals the name in seconds, almost as soon as you can identify your best friend. While that handy app is not quite ready for your smart phone, researchers are racing to develop reliable methods to match one person’s photo from millions of images for a variety of applications.

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  • SurveillanceNSA, other agencies, collect millions of images for large facial recognition databases

    The NSA, through its global surveillance operations, has been accumulating millions of images from communication interceptions for use in high-level facial recognition programs, according to classified 2011 documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The documents do not reveal how many people have been targeted with facial recognition programs, but given the NSA’s foreign intelligence mission, a bulk of the imagery collected would involve foreign nationals.

  • BiometricsForensic DNA technology could help identify abducted Nigerian girls

    Forensic DNA technology developed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks could be used to identify and reunite more than 200 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by Islamist militants, scientists said. The software, Mass Fatality Identification System (M-FISys), has been used worldwide — in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Perú, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, among several other countries — to identify and return more than 700 children who were abducted by criminals for child trafficking.

  • BiometricsUsing biometrics to protect India’s one billion people raises security, privacy concerns

    The cutting edge of biometric identification — using fingerprints or eye scans to confirm a person’s identity – is not at the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security. It is in India. India’s Aadhaar program, operated by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and created to confirm the identities of citizens who collect government benefits, has amassed fingerprint and iris data on 500 million people. It is the biggest biometric database in the world, twice as big as that of the FBI. It can verify one million identities per hour, each one taking about thirty seconds. The program unnerves some privacy advocates with its Orwellian overtones.

  • BiometricsMass. teachers, child-care employees to go through national background checks

    The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Early Education and Care, and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Securityannounced in March that educators and employees working in schools and childcare centers will have to go through a national background check. Teachers and other employees will have to pay for their own background checks.

  • BiometricsNIST report on iris aging flawed: researchers

    In July last year, NIST released a report, titled “IREX VI: Temporal Stability of Iris Recognition Accuracy,” which concluded that its “best estimate of iris recognition aging” is so small that there should be no concern about the possibility of iris recognition accuracy degrading over time. University of Notre Dame biometrics researchers Kevin Bowyer and Estefan Ortiz have release a paper which points to errors in the NIST report on how iris aging affects the accuracy of iris recognition. They describe specific methodological errors in the NIST report, and present a list of suggestions to be addressed in a revised version of the report.

  • BiometricsBiometric security for mobile devices becoming mainstream

    Biometric security such as fingerprint, face, and voice recognition is set to hit the mainstream as global technology companies market the systems as convenient and easy to use. The latest biometric technologies are not without their security issues, but they are marketed as more convenient than traditional methods rather than more secure, and encourage adoption by people who currently do not have any security on their phone at all.

  • BiometricsFlorida mulling banning school collection of students’ biometric information

    Some school districts in Florida, including Polk County and Pinellas County, are using scanners to collect fingerprints and hands, eyes, and voice characteristics from students. Pinellas County school district allows students to use palm scans instead of cash to pay for meals in the cafeteria. The collection of students’ biometric information has alarmed many parents who are concerned that students’ identity or personal records may be stolen or sold to private companies. Florida state legislators are debating a proposal which would stop school districts from collecting biometric information from students.

  • Law enforcement technologyPolice still use sketch artists despite advances in surveillance technology

    Despite the growing use of surveillance technology to monitor public and private spaces, some law enforcement departments still rely on composite sketches to help solve crimes. Some police departments are continuing the use of hand-drawn sketches because they are the only available method to identify suspects, but some departments are continuing to use the tool for nostalgia.

  • Venture capitalDNA data management specialist DNAnexus secures $15 million in Series C financing

    Mountain View, California-based DNAnexus, a specialist in cloud-based solutions for large-scale DNA data management and analysis, on Friday announced that it has closed a $15 million Series C funding led by Claremont Creek Ventures, Google Ventures, TPG Biotech, and First Round Capital. The company says that its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is being adopted by more customers seeking a solution to the needs of global enterprises face when building clinically compliant analysis pipelines for DNA sequence data.

  • ForensicsLongstanding forensic identification technique questioned

    Forensic experts have long used the shape of a person’s skull to make positive identifications of human remains. Those findings, however, may now be called into question, since a new study shows that there is not enough variation in skull shapes to make a positive ID.

  • Data protectionUsing keyboard, mouse, and mobile device “fingerprints” to protect data

    Passwords are not secure because they can be hacked or hijacked to get at sensitive personal, corporate, or even national security data. Researchers suggest a more secure way to verify computer users and protect data: tracking individual typing patterns. The researchers are now working on developing ways to identify and track individual patterns of using a mobile device or a computer mouse.

  • BiometricsU.S. intelligence community seeking better face recognition biometrics

    Intelligence analysts often rely on facial images to assist in establishing the identity of an individual, but too often, just examining the sheer volume of possibly relevant images and videos can be daunting. While biometric tools like automated face recognition could assist analysts in this task, current tools perform best on the well-posed, frontal facial photos taken for identification purposes. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm of the U.S. intelligence community, is seeking significantly to improve the current performance of face recognition tools by fusing the rich spatial, temporal, and contextual information available from the multiple views captured by today’s media.

  • BiometricsBody of evidence: bodies offer cues for recognizing people

    Computer recognition of people has focused almost exclusively on faces, but a new study suggests it may be time to take additional information into consideration. A new study describes a series of experiments that demonstrates there is potentially more valuable information for biometrics-based identity recognition in images of people than the face alone.