• Germany testing face-recognition software to help police spot terrorists

    Germany will be testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer to see whether it can assist police identify terror suspects more quickly. Volunteers will help police test the software at Berlin’s Suedkreuz station. If the test is successful, the use of the biometric software would be expanded to other locations, and also used to help police identify criminals, not only people suspected of terrorist activities.

  • Face Recognition Challenge seeks better face-identification software

    Have you developed software to identity faces in general web photographs? Can your software verify that a face in one photograph is the same as in another? The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) announced the launch of the Face Recognition Prize Challenge (FRPC). The challenge aims to improve biometric face recognition by improving core face recognition accuracy.

  • Eye tracking technology helps in imposter detection training

    Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screens nearly one million people every day and secures and manages 328 ports of entry all over the country, including in remote areas. Verifying the identity of every single person entering the United States is a vital step in halting human trafficking, drug trafficking, and other smuggling attempts at the border. In addition, security screening prevents criminals and terrorists from entering the country. Imposter detection thus crosscuts the entire Homeland Security Enterprise, as well as state, local, and tribal law enforcement and even front line soldiers in our military.

  • 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.