• 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.

  • Real IDResidents of 4 states may need more than a driver license to board domestic flights

    Residents of four states — New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Louisiana – may soon need more than their driver’s licenses as a means of identification when boarding an aircraft for a domestic flight, DHS says. These states’ licenses do not meet the standards stipulated by DHS under the latest phase of the federal Real ID Act of 2005. Residents from these four states will have to present their passports with them, or some other means of DHS-approved identification, before being allowed on board.

  • RefugeesEuropeans concerned over thriving trade in fake, stolen Syrian papers

    The EU countries trying to formulate a cohesive policy to deal with the hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to enter the EU zone are now facing a new problem: The burgeoning trade in stolen Syrian identity documents. Most European countries are yet to agree to accept more than a token number of Syrian refugees, but Germany and Sweden have made it known that while the EU is grappling with the issue, the asylum system in both countries would offer preferential treatment for Syrians. This preference has made Syrian passports into a must-have document for non-Syrian immigrants who would otherwise not be likely to qualify as refugees.

  • 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.

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  • Real IDSome 200,000 federal building to be affected by REAL ID as of 10 October

    Beginning 10 October, security screeners in roughly 200,000 federal buildings may deny access to visitors who present a driver’s license or identification card from a state which is non-compliant with REAL ID rules. A passport or ID specially approved by the federal government may be used as proof of identity. The Government Services Administration (GSA) says there are 275,195 buildings which are owned and leased by the federal government as of 2014. Enforcement of the REAL ID Act has so far been limited to only 217 of these buildings.

  • ImmigrationCalifornia offers driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

    This year California has begun to offer y undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, and tens of thousands of immigrants have been standing long hours in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles offices around the state to avail themselves of the new document. DMV officials say that of the 883,000 licenses issued so far this year, 443,000 were issued to undocumented immigrants. The officials estimate that by the end of 2017, the DMV will issue more than 1.5 million driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in the state.

  • Visa Waiver programU.S. tightens Visa Waiver Program security measures

    Citizens of the thirty-eight countries which are part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program may travel to the United States without having to obtain an entry visa if they plan to stay in the United States for a period not exceeding ninety days, and if they meet the requirements. Last Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would tighten the security measures which are already part of the program, and add additional security measures to it.

  • 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.