Friday, January 19, 2018

PIN & signature free: New biometric fingerprint-based VISA card

Visa has announced trials of a new EMV* dual interface (on-card biometric chip and contactless enabled) payment card. The U.S. pilot program is with the Mountain American Credit Union which serves five central states. “The world is quickly moving toward a future that will be free of passwords, as consumers realize how biometric technologies can make their lives easier,” says Jack Forestell, Visa’s head of global merchant solutions.

For biometric authentication, a cardholder places a finger on the sensor. The fingerprint is checked against a fingerprint template that was created upon enrollment. The card has built-in green and red lights to indicate a successful or unsuccessful match. The fingerprint template is stored locally on the card for data security and cardholder privacy.

The card can also be used at contactless enabled terminals, allowing the cardholder to tap and pay quickly. Either way, fast convenient payment is made without having to sign a receipt or remember a PIN number. The biometric card is compatible with existing payment terminals that accept contactless- or chip-based payments.

Visa sponsored a recent survey of 1,000 Canadians. The results were favorable towards biometric technology.

* 59% of consumers were familiar with biometric technology
* 85% were interested in using biometrics to verify identity or make payments
* 65% found biometric technology easier to use than passwords
* 57% found biometric technology faster to use than passwords

*EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) refers to a global standard of smart debit/credit payment cards, and the payment terminals and automatic teller machines that can accept them.

Press Here! Visa Begins Pilots of New Biometric Payment Card

Published by BusinessWire, Jan. 14, 2018

Canadians hate passwords, using them wrong, ready for biometrics instead: Visa

By Eric Emin Wood, Jan. 11, 2018 for

Accurate Biometrics
Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Postal News – using biometrics and technology to improve security and service

Photo of a smart phone showing the USPS Informed Delivery app
Informed Delivery photo courtesy USPS

With 600,000 employees and over 150 billion pieces of mail to process and deliver in a year, improving technology is vital for the United States Post Office (USPS) to manage employees and meet customer needs. Last year, USPS introduced a new service, Informed Delivery, with a cell phone app that gives users digital previews of household mail and easy tracking of package deliveries.

Through new applications and new verification systems – from two-factor, to behavioral, to biometric – the post office has improved delivery accuracy and overall security. 

The USPS is well beyond the manual entry of identification information. For package delivery, postal carriers use bar code scanning/tracking devices with geo-location and frequency distribution analysis that makes sure that the device is in “the right hands at the right location in order to do the right transaction.” A warning message pops up on the device if package activity doesn’t match the delivery plan.

At postal headquarters and in retail stores, two-factor authentication to authorize computer users. Besides password protection, hard or soft digital tokens are used for authentication, such as a 6-digit code sent to a cell phone or other verification device.

The USPS is using fingerprint and facial biometrics in partnership with the State Department and other government agencies. The post office benefits by securely validated employee background checks. On its part, the USPS is working on an identity management strategy that it will offer to other government agencies, as well as expanding its biometric data collection. The post office is in a unique position to gather facial capture data from the 5 million passport applications it processes annually. 

USPS keeping identities safe one delivery at a time

By Steff Thomas, Jan. 9, 2018, for Federal News Radio

New USPS Service Gives You A Peek Into Your Mailbox Before You Get Home

By Cecilia Mazanec, Mar. 27, 2017, for

Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Facial recognition speeds check-in, boarding at Australian airport

Photo of passengers using self-service kiosks at Brisbane Airport
Photo credit: Brisbane Airport

Air New Zealand began facial recognition trials last March at Brisbane Airport using Smart Path technology provided by SITA. Passengers checked in at self-service kiosks that used facial biometrics to create a “single secure token” linked to the passenger’s travel documents. Boarding passengers walked through an automatic gate using facial recognition technology to verify that the correct passenger was boarding. No printed pass, passport or other travel document was required. The result? A 70% reduction in processing times for check-in and boarding.

According to SITA Asia Pacific president Sumesh Patel, passengers surveyed want a fast, easy and secure airport travel experience. The challenge is reconciling passenger demand for an efficient, seamless journey with the need for increased airport security.

SITA's 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights report found airports projecting to spend $8.4 billion USD on their 2017 IT budgets, a 20% increase from the $7 billion spent in 2016. Airlines planned to spend $24.3 billion on IT technology in 2017, an increase of 11% from 2016.

SITA found 97% of airlines planned to offer self-service check-in, boarding, and mobile flight status options by 2020. The increase in automated or self-service comes at a time when the number of airline travelers is expected to reach 7 billion by 2035 – double the 3.5 billion current number of travelers. The bulk of that growth is expected to be in the Asia Pacific region.

Brisbane airport is looking ahead to using biometric technology for automated baggage check-in and border crossing. The self-service baggage drop system is already in place and begins testing this quarter. Planning on the use of biometric technology in border crossing is underway with immigration authorities. 

Facial recognition trial saving time at Brisbane Airport

By Jordan Chong, Jan. 4, 2018, for Australian Aviation

Air Transport IT Trends Insights 2017

SITA surveys and reports,

Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Facial recognition tech to enhance security at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Photo of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Mascot candidates
Japanese students are currently voting on 2020 Olympic Mascot finalists

Facial recognition technology will be used at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to provide security and streamline the entry of athletes, officials, staff and news personnel to Olympic venues. Spectators won’t be subject to facial scanning, but their bags will be checked.

At the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, the identification of people entering the venues was manually checked against a registered ID photo on a monitor, but the process was relatively slow and led to delays and frustration.

The facial recognition technology to be used at the 2020 Olympics was developed by NEC Corp. In testing, the technology has been able to determine whether a person has had cosmetic surgery, and also to differentiate between identical twins. The screening process will move faster and be more secure.

Japan has previously tested facial recognition technology at the Japan House at the Rio 2016 games, and most recently in October 2017, screening passengers at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. 

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will run from July 24th through August 9th, followed by the Paralympics from August 25th through September 6th. The logistics are considerable. The total number of people requiring photo ID registration are expected to be 300,000 to 400,000.

By Kyodo News, Dec. 24, 2017, published online by The Japan Times News

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Do you own your digital identity? your biometric data?

Photo of friends texting

We regularly share more information online that we realize. We post on social media websites, we share our locations on our phones, and we share information when we play games or use apps. Even personal information that we assumed was private is not too difficult to uncover. With a little hacking, where we bank and the answers to our security questions can be revealed.

Google, Facebook and Twitter, among others, have set themselves up as “identity providers.” For example, if you click “Login using Facebook” on another website, you’re allowing Facebook to represent you online. You may not be aware that these companies are collecting and selling your data – and making a profit.

So who owns your digital identity? Right now, no one really does, including you. Currently there are no clear, accepted guidelines for digital identities. The European Union (EU) is developing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to give EU individuals more control over their private information. But until we have clearly defined, accepted standards for use and protection or our digital identities, no one will truly own their digital identity.

Do you own your biometric data? The answer here will put you at ease. Mobile devices that use your fingerprint or facial scan don’t actually use your biometric data for matching. A template is created when you register your fingerprint or facial scan, and that template is what is actually used for access. The actual biometric information does not get sent to any companies.

What about Apple or Google – companies that have access to your device for push notifications or security? No, they don’t have access to your biometric data. All the major players follow the accepted guidelines for security. Your biometric template data is encrypted (protected even from the manufacturer) and the actual biometric image is destroyed. The standalone template is useless if stolen. If your biometric information is securely encrypted and stored, your data is safe. You are in control of your biometric data.

Who Owns Your Identity?

By John Callahan, June 15, 2017, for Veridium | Identity

Who Owns Your Biometric Data?

By Ian E. Muller, Sept. 7, 2017, for Veridium | Data Privacy

Photo credit:  verkeorg

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Do fingerprint patterns change, making records outdated or inaccurate?

Photo of fingerprint match analysis example

In law enforcement, operational practice has shown that fingerprint patterns have remained extremely stable, so much so that it has been basically taken for granted that fingerprint patterns don’t change over time.

Research was conducted at Michigan State University (MSU) to test whether the traditional assumption was true. MSU Professor Anil Jain and former Ph.D. student Soweon Yoon analyzed the fingerprint records of 15,597 subjects apprehended by the Michigan State Police multiple times over a time span varying from 5 to 12 years.

The results are in. Per Profession Jain, “We have now determined, with multilevel statistical modeling, that fingerprint recognition accuracy remains stable over time.” 

Although fingerprints have been used by law enforcement and forensic experts to identify people for over 100 years, until now there has been little scientific research to support the accuracy of fingerprinting, leading to repeated court challenges over the years. It is good that a long held assumption has been tested, and even better, in this case, that the research supports many years of practical experience.

Stuck On You: Research Shows Fingerprint Accuracy Stays The Same Over Time

By Kim Ward, Anil Jain, June 29, 2015, MSU Today | Science & Technology

Research article  “Longitudinal study of fingerprint recognition” 

By Soweon Yoona and Anil K. Jain, pdf of the original article from the July 14, 2015 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

New research proves that fingerprint accuracy remains unchanged over time

By Justin Lee, June 30, 2015, for

Thursday, December 7, 2017

US Homeland Security Biometric Air Exit tracking to expand in 2018

Photo showing face recognition scanning of a woman's face.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been testing a Biometric Air Exit tracking program. CBP or its airline partners take photos of boarding international passengers for departure to confirm that each passenger is the true bearer of the travel visa. For privacy and personal data security, the facial images and their templates are deleted from the CBP system by the end of the flight. The data is deleted from the overall CBP IT system within 14 days.

Currently, trials are ongoing in five areas: Atlanta, Washington DC, Houston, Chicago and Las Vegas. In 2018, CBP will begin a widespread expansion of the program, working with stakeholders to get commitments needed to deploy the biometric exit technology.

Two main issues that have been delaying expansion have been resolved. One solution to greatly improve the efficiency of the process was to be able to query a temporary database of photos, instead of the complete federal database of photos, when checking the identity of the passengers. 

The other solution involved resolving the installation of a technology whose footprint didn’t fit the airline boarding gates. The CBP collaborated with the airlines to resolve the problem. The airlines developed a new interface so that a large system doesn’t have to be installed at the boarding gates.

The CBP expects to have Biometric Air Exit technology installed nationwide within four years. The next trials will involve expanding biometric exit technology to land ports of entry. Fingerprint biometric trials are expected to be in place by the end of 2017, with facial recognition trials to begin in 2018.

By Mark Rockwell, Nov. 28, 2017 for | Homeland Security
Official website of the Department of Homeland Security