• Researchers developing biometric intent scanners

    Researchers with the Canadian defense department are currently exploring how to analyze an individual’s hostile intent to intercept them before they commit a hostile act; researchers with the Canadian Defense Research and Development aim to push biometric identification to a new level where scanning technology can actually read peoples’ minds; researchers are hoping to use the “biometrics of intent” to distinguish if an individual who appears nervous and is pacing at an airport is simply anxious or actually dangerous; scientists say the goal is difficult, but not impossible; they are still far from achieving their goals and research is in its early phases

  • Identical twins -- the ultimate test for biometrics

    Researchers recently concluded that facial biometric technologies were not accurate enough to distinguish between pairs of identical twins; researchers took photos of over 126 pairs of identical twins in a variety of conditions of varying quality to provide different test conditions for biometric scanners; the photos were tested against three of the highest performing facial recognition and found that under real world circumstances the systems could not accurately distinguish twins; researchers recommend calibrating facial recognition algorithms to analyze minute facial characteristics as well as high-resolution photos to increase accuracy

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  • Biometric industry becomes increasingly consolidated

    As the biometrics market continues to expand, larger firms have begun to acquire smaller companies that are developing cutting edge technology; analysts believe that the industry will become increasingly consolidated in the next three to five years; several key biometrics firms were recently acquired in major deals; L-1 Identity Solutions was acquired by Safran, Cogent Systems was bought by 3M, and ActivIdentity announced that it would become a part of Assa Abloy

  • Tightening airport ID screening loopholes

    Last month a wanted murderer escaped authorities by boarding an international flight with a shoddy fake ID revealing a continuing weakness of airport security; despite being significantly older and bearing little resemblance to the man in the photo, security screeners at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport waived him through; TSA screeners have limited tools at their disposal to verify an individual’s documents and largely rely on a magnifying glass, a blacklight, and their eyes; critics propose implementing a biometric system to verify a passengers identity to prevent terrorists from using forged documents to enter the country

  • VoiceVault releases new version of its voice biometric software

    VoiceVault recently announced the launch of VoiceVault Fusion, the upgraded version of its core product; VoiceVault Fusion now relies on two separate verification engines that operate symbiotically to identify an individual over the telephone, web, or on tablets and smartphones; the new version features increased accuracy, multiple verification methods, and is easier to install and integrate

  • States continue to fight REAL ID

    The battle against the REAL ID act rages on as states continue to oppose implementing REAL ID standards; under the law states would have to remake their driver’s licenses, restructure their computer systems, and create new intra-state data sharing networks; nearly half of the states in the country have enacted anti-Real ID bills including Maine, Alaska, South Carolina, Arizona, and Oklahoma; DHS issued its third reprieve giving states an additional twenty-one months to observe the law; the National Governors Association welcomed the decision; with the recent economic downturn and many states facing budget shortfalls, many states are struggling with the costs of implementing REAL ID standards

  • Biometric ATMs appearing in Poland, U.S. lags far behind

    More banks around the world are installing biometric ATMs that use finger vein scanning technology to authenticate a customer’s identity before they can withdraw cash; unlike current fingerprint scanners, the finger vein scanner uses infrared light to analyze the micro veins beneath the surface of the finger; banks around the world including Japan, Mexico, and Africa have begun installing these new ATMs, but they have yet to appear in the United States; critics worry that the ATMs are too invasive and a study last year found that 50 percent of Europeans would not use them; banks in the United States lack the financial incentive to install these devices

  • Marines integrate biometrics on battlefield

    The U.S. Marine Corps is beginning to implement biometric technologies to help them identify insurgents on the battlefield; members of the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Japan are undergoing training to learn how to gather biometric data; in particular, troops are looking for fingerprints from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to help capture bomb makers; the prints are stored in a database that will soon be shared with DHS border agents to assist with counter-terrorism efforts within the United States; border agents will be able to determine if people entering the country match any of the insurgents identified abroad

  • FBI upgrades fingerprint system

    The FBI recently upgraded its fingerprint scanning system to include faster and more sophisticated technology; the old system could take as much as two hours to match fingerprints, while the new technology can provide results in ten to fifteen minutes; the new system is also more accurate and comes as part of the FBI’s broader technology initiative, which it calls Next Generation Identification (NGI); the next phase of NGI is set to be completed by 2014 and will incorporate latent palm prints and facial recognition technology

  • Biometrics technology gets below the skin

    Businesses and governments around the world are increasingly turning to sophisticated iris scanning biometrics systems that are more secure than traditional fingerprint based technology; the use of iris scanners is picking up steam, despite the fact that it has not been widely adopted as mainstream biometric identification technology; India and Mexico have adopted iris scanning, while Bank of America and residential communities in Japan and Korea have also installed these scanners

  • Web service launched to expedite biometric ID approval process

    As identifying documents like biometric passports incorporate more sophisticated technology, consumers have been forced to comply with stricter application requirements. To help consumers avoid having their photo rejected on passport and visa applications, BioID, a large European biometric company, has launched Pic4Pass.

  • Florida's effective DNA database

    Police in Palm Bay, Florida, four years ago started a local DNA database as a quicker alternative to the state’s backlogged crime labs; the average wait to get results now is fifty-seven days, as opposed to the six- to 12-month turnaround from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — which processes most state agencies’ samples; the kits used by Palm Bay also cost $100, compared to the $800 for DNA analysis charged by other state-approved labs

  • Real ID pushed back a third time

    To prevent massive air travel disruptions, DHS has postponed the effective date of the Real ID Act for the third time until 15 January 2013. Real ID; DHS has met congressional and state opposition in attempting to get the Real ID Act underway; sixteen states have passed laws forbidding them to comply with Real ID, and eight states have enacted resolutions effectively boycotting it altogether

  • DHS to begin using portable DNA screener this summer

    DHS this summer plans to begin testing a DNA analyzer that is small enough to be easily portable and fast enough to return results in less than an hour; the analyzer initially will be used to determine kinship among refugees and asylum seekers; it also could help establish whether foreigners giving children up for adoption are their parents or other relatives, and help combat child smuggling and human trafficking; eventually, the analyzer also could be used positively to identify criminals, illegal immigrants, missing persons, and mass casualty victims

  • California enrolls in biometric system to crack down on illegal immigration

    Last week California became the ninth state in the United States to fully deploy the Secure Communities program, which automatically runs an arrested individual’s fingerprint through a national database to determine their immigration status; each year law enforcement officials arrest an estimated one million non-U.S. citizens; ICE has deported more than 62,500 aliens convicted of crimes under the program; critics of the program believe that use of the system has led to the arrest and deportation of noncriminal immigrants and are also concerned about the mandatory use of the system; a report found that in Illinois 78 percent of all detainees identified by ICE were non-criminals