• Partial fingerprints sufficient to trick biometric security systems on smartphones

    No two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

  • Identifying faces in video images is major challenge

    In movies and television, computers can quickly identify a person in a crowded arena from tiny, grainy video images. But that is often not the reality when it comes to identifying bank robbery perpetrators from security camera video, detecting terrorism suspects in a crowded railway station, or finding desired individuals when searching video archives. To advance video facial identification for these and other applications, NIST conducted a large public test known as the Face in Video Evaluation (FIVE), and the project has now released an interagency report detailing its results and aiming to provide guidance to developers of the technology.

  • New technology helps protect biometric databases

    More and more people are leaving their fingerprints behind – in passports, when logging in to online banking or their mobile phones. Have you thought about where your fingerprint information is stored and who has access to it? Whether we store fingerprints on our mobile phone chip, with our server host or in the cloud, security is always a concern. Scientists are constantly searching for new and better security solutions to protect your information.

  • Aging affects the performance of automatic facial recognition systems

    Images of our faces exist in numerous important databases – driver’s license, passport, law enforcement, employment – all to accurately identify us. But can these images continue to identify us as we age? Biometrics experts set out to investigate what extent facial aging affects the performance of automatic facial recognition systems and what implications it could have on successfully identifying criminals or determining when identification documents need to be renewed.

  • Anti-surveillance clothing blocks security cameras’ facial-recognition software

    New anti-surveillance clothing has been developed, allowing wearers to prevent security cameras which use facial recognition technology from recognizing them. The clothing uses complex colored patterns of digitalized faces, and parts of faces, to overload and trick facial recognition software.

  • Robotic lie detector for border, aviation security

    When you engage in international travel, you may one day find yourself face-to-face with border security that is polite, bilingual and responsive — and robotic. The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR) is currently being tested in conjunction with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to help border security agents determine whether travelers coming into Canada may have undisclosed motives for entering the country.

  • Images that fool computer vision raise security concerns

    Computers are learning to recognize objects with near-human ability. But Cornell researchers have found that computers, like humans, can be fooled by optical illusions, which raises security concerns and opens new avenues for research in computer vision.

  • Half of American adults are in a little regulated police face recognition database

    Half of American adults — more than 117 million people — are in a law enforcement face recognition network, according to a report. Of the fifty-two government agencies that acknowledged using face recognition, only one obtained legislative approval for its use and only one agency provided evidence that it audited officers’ face recognition searches for misuse. Not one agency required warrants, and many agencies did not even require an officer to suspect someone of committing a crime before using face recognition to identify her.

  • More than 800 ineligible individuals granted U.S. citizenship owing to incomplete fingerprint records

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals from special interest countries — individuals who had been ordered deported or removed under another name. DHS IG says that this happened because neither the digital fingerprint repository at DHS nor the repository at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contains all old fingerprint records of individuals previously deported. Currently, about 148,000 fingerprint records of aliens from special interest countries who had final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives have yet to be digitized.

  • Protecting privacy in genomic databases

    Genome-wide association studies, which try to find correlations between particular genetic variations and disease diagnoses, are a staple of modern medical research. But because they depend on databases that contain people’s medical histories, they carry privacy risks. An attacker armed with genetic information about someone — from, say, a skin sample — could query a database for that person’s medical data. Researchers describe a new system that permits database queries for genome-wide association studies but reduces the chances of privacy compromises to almost zero.

  • Accessing a murder victim’s fingerprint-protected smartphone to help solve a crime

    Last month, when the Michigan State University Police Department approached professor Anil Jain to see if he could access a fingerprint-locked deceased man’s smartphone to aid in a police investigation, Jain accepted the scientific challenge. On Monday, 25vJuly, it was mission accomplished – Jain and his team unlocked the phone.

  • Separating the DNA of identical twins

    Since its first use in the 1980s — a breakthrough dramatized in recent ITV series “Code of a Killer” — DNA profiling has been a vital tool for forensic investigators. Now researchers at the University of Huddersfield have solved one of its few limitations by successfully testing a technique for distinguishing between the DNA — or genetic fingerprint — of identical twins.

  • How well do facial recognition algorithms cope with a million faces?

    In the last few years, several groups have announced that their facial recognition systems have achieved near-perfect accuracy rates, performing better than humans at picking the same face out of the crowd. But those tests were performed on a dataset with only 13,000 images — fewer people than attend an average professional U.S. soccer game. What happens to their performance as those crowds grow to the size of a major U.S. city? Researchers answered that question with the MegaFace Challenge, the world’s first competition aimed at evaluating and improving the performance of face recognition algorithms at the million person scale.

  • CBP issues long-anticipated Biometric Exit Program RFI

    Last Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its highly-anticipated call to industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. The Request for Information (RFI), issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to add biometrics to confirm when foreign nationals are departing the United States, in order to deter visa overstays, to identify criminals, and to defeat imposters.

  • The accuracy of the FBI’s face-recognition technology may be improved: GAO

    The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS) — a face recognition service that allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over thirty million photos to support criminal investigations. The GAO examined the FBI’s face recognition capabilities, and the extent to which the FBI’s use of face recognition adhered to privacy laws and policies, and the accuracy of these capabilities.