Biometrics | Homeland Security Newswire

  • BiometricsImproving speed, accuracy of biometric scanning at security checkpoints

    Balancing speed and security at checkpoints, like airports, is essential to ensuring safe, reliable travel. Many of these checkpoints are increasingly using biometric technology to improve speed and reliability. While recent improvements in biometrics have lowered failure to match rates, many systems fail to quickly acquire biometric information in the first place. DHS S&T is working on designing a standard security checkpoint process to test the ability of biometric identity systems to acquire and match images from a diverse volunteer population within a realistic time constraint.

  • ForensicsBuilding statistical foundation for next-gen forensic DNA profiling

    DNA is often considered the most reliable form of forensic evidence, and this reputation is based on the way DNA experts use statistics. When they compare the DNA left at a crime scene with the DNA of a suspect, experts generate statistics that describe how closely those DNA samples match. A jury can then take those match statistics into account when deciding guilt or innocence. These match statistics are reliable because they’re based on rigorous scientific research. However, that research only applies to DNA fingerprints, also called DNA profiles, that have been generated using current technology. Now, scientists have laid the statistical foundation for calculating match statistics when using Next Generation Sequencing, or NGS, which produces DNA profiles that can be more useful in solving some crimes.

  • Law enforcementFBI wish list: An app that can recognize the meaning of your tattoos

    By Dave Maass

    We’ve long known that the FBI is heavily invested in developing face recognition technology as a key component in its criminal investigations. But new records, obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, show that’s not the only biometric marker the agency has its eyes on. The FBI’s wish list also includes image recognition technology and mobile devices to attempt to use tattoos to map out people’s relationships and identify their beliefs.

  • Face recognitionFace recognition experts perform better with AI as partner

    Experts at recognizing faces often play a crucial role in criminal cases. A photo from a security camera can mean prison or freedom for a defendant—and testimony from highly trained forensic face examiners informs the jury whether that image actually depicts the accused. Just how good are facial recognition experts? Would artificial intelligence help?

  • FingerprintsImproving fingerprinting technology

    Fingerprint capture technology has advanced to the point where high-quality rolled prints soon might be obtained without the manual assistance of a trained device operator. These advancements could help law enforcement collect information-rich prints more rapidly and economically.

  • Big Data & privacyKeeping Big Data safe

    NIST has announced the Unlinkable Data Challenge, created to help the public safety community conduct research using data gathered with personal digital devices and taken from large databases such as driver’s license and health care records. Much of this data includes personal information that can be used to identify its source. Exposing this data risks those individuals’ privacy, but the inability to share it impedes research in many fields, including thwarting crime, fighting fires and slowing the spread of epidemics.

  • ForensicsUsing sweat to distinguish individuals at crime scene

    An average square inch of skin contains 650 sweat glands. That means our bodies leave small amounts of sweat on everything we touch—whether we’re making a phone call, eating supper or committing a crime. Researchers believe investigators can use these tiny, often invisible skin secretions to their advantage.

  • ForensicsTrust worthiness of forensic handwriting in court questioned

    Forensic handwriting specialists are often called on to testify in court about the origins of a few lines of writing, or to determine whether a specific person has written a sentence. A new study indicates that experts are not 100 percent adept at assessing how often specific handwriting features occur in the general population.

  • IDsProposed EU ID cards to include fingerprints

    The EU Commission on Tuesday will propose a law aims at increasing security within the bloc’s borders, including fingerprinting in ID cards. The Commission said that compulsory fingerprinting in ID cards are necessary to countering terrorism in Europe. Fingerprints are already required for EU passports, along with biometric pictures.

  • CybersecurityA new two-factor password method provides better protection

    A team of BGU cybersecurity researchers pioneered a new form of two-factor authentication that provides every user with stronger protection and is accessible to people with disabilities. This new method of authentication, in which ultrasonic vibrations are used in lieu of memorizing six-digit codes, works on today’s phones, laptops and tablets. It allows those with disabilities to log in with dignity and privacy.

  • PrivacyUse of face recognition systems threatens civil liberties: EFF report

    Face recognition—fast becoming law enforcement’s surveillance tool of choice—is being implemented with little oversight or privacy protections, leading to faulty systems that will disproportionately impact people of color and may implicate innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit, says an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) report. Independent oversight, privacy protections are needed.

  • AuthenticationReal-time Captcha technique bolsters biometric authentication

    A new login authentication approach could improve the security of current biometric techniques that rely on video or images of users’ faces. Known as Real-Time Captcha, the technique uses a unique challenge that’s easy for humans — but difficult for attackers who may be using machine learning and image generation software to spoof legitimate users.

  • Biometric exit program DHS’s airport biometric exit program faces budgetary, legal, technical, and privacy questions

    DHS has installed experimental face-recognition system in nine U.S. airports. If DHS’s current plans are executed, every traveler flying overseas, American and foreign national alike, will soon be subject to a face recognition scan as part of this “biometric exit” program. A new report notes that neither Congress nor DHS has ever justified the need for the program. Congress never provided a rationale for it. Congress never provided a rationale for it while DHS has repeatedly questioned “the additional value biometric air exit would provide.” The biometric exit program also stands on shaky legal ground, and to make matters worse, the face scanning technology used by DHS may make frequent mistakes. “The privacy concerns implicated by biometric exit are at least as troubling as the system’s legal and technical problems,” the report notes.

  • Biosecurity“Cyberbiosecurity” and the protection of the life sciences

    Biology and biotechnology have entered a digital age, but security policies around such activities have not kept pace. New research outlines how the evolving nature of biotechnology should sound alarm bells for new ways to keep life sciences assets safe. This could be from accidental cyber-physical breaches, or more nefarious threats.

  • CybersecurityUsing smartphones — instead of body parts — for identification to deter cybercrime

    Not comfortable with Face ID and other biometrics? This cybersecurity advancement may be for you. Researchers have discovered how to identify smartphones by examining just one photo taken by the device. The advancement opens the possibility of using smartphones — instead of body parts — as a form of identification to deter cybercrime.