Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Is biometric voting coming to the US?

Photo of biometric voting equipment


While many nations are rapidly incorporating biometrics into voting technologies, US Congress, states, and local jurisdictions are not actively supporting new biometric voting technology despite concerns of voting machine cyber tampering in the 2016 US general election.

One major concern is privacy, of course. Could votes be personally identifiable? How secure would voter information be against hacks and breaches? Security for biometric voting systems is already being field tested in many countries around the world. We benefit from all that experience. Some testing is going on in the US. For example, a mobile biometric blockchain voting application is being tested for members of the Armed Forces overseas.

In the US, cost, standards, and the time and work required to affect such a sweeping change are formidable obstacles. Aside from the cost of equipment and data storage, maintenance of the equipment, and timely tech support are important concerns. The time and cost to train election staff also needs to be factored in.

In a recent analysis of current voting equipment, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the predominant type is optical/digital scanners (63%), followed by direct recording equipment (32%), with about 1% hand counted paper ballots. Based on survey responses from election jurisdictions, about 28% of the population voted with newer equipment that was first used 2012 to 2016. Most, about the half the population, voted with equipment first used between 2002 and 2006.

Due to the age of our voting equipment, much of it will need replacing soon. The GAO identified four key factors that states and jurisdictions consider when deciding whether to replace voting equipment:

  1. The need to meet federal, state and local voting system standards and regulations
  2. The cost to acquire new equipment and the available funding
  3. The ability to maintain equipment, and support from vendors
  4. The overall performance and features of the voting equipment

Elsewhere in the world, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), as of 2016 more than 50 countries adopted biometrics in elections, varying widely by region. In Europe, biometrics systems were not used in elections. In Africa and Latin America, about half the countries used biometric technology in elections. IDEA also found that 35% of over 130 surveyed Electoral Management Bodies collected biometric data, such as fingerprints or photos, as part of the voter registration process.

If implemented well, biometric voting technologies have been shown to provide many benefits: alleviating long lines; less time required to register and vote; streamlining and speeding the election cycle; improving confidence about the accuracy and reliability of registry roles; improving e-voting security; reducing multiple registrations and voting; and mitigating impersonation, identity theft, and exploitation of the identities of deceased voters.  


Congress, states don’t seem inclined to incorporate biometrics in new voting technologies

Anthony Kimery, Apr. 16, 2018, for BiometricUpdate.com


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Monday, April 9, 2018

Know your FBI Identity History Summary before applying for nursing school

Photo of woman lawyer who looks to be holding a digital scales of justice

Do you know what’s on your criminal history record?


Don't let inaccurate or outdated information in your identity history hold you back in your nursing career. With a fingerprint-based FBI Identity Summary History (IdHS) check, you’ll find out if you have any blemishes on your record. It may be possible to have a disqualifying offense expunged from your record before applying for a nursing license.

Accurate Biometrics is a trusted resource with 18 years’ experience fingerprinting for nursing licensure. Unfortunately, we have seen graduating nursing students denied a nursing license because of an offense on their record.

Not long ago, a nursing student drove many miles to our corporate office in Illinois to get the results of an FBI IdHS check – a copy of her criminal history record on file with the FBI. This student had just completed her RN licensure program, and even had a nursing job waiting for her upon graduation. But when she applied for her nursing license, it was denied.

The student contacted Accurate Biometrics to find out why her license was denied. Through an FBI Departmental Order (556-73) she found out she had an “open” record in another state from a seemingly minor event that occurred years ago. She was denied a state nursing license because she had a disqualifying criminal record in another state that appeared on her FBI background check and prevented her from getting her professional nursing license.

If nursing students are concerned, it would benefit them to check the status of their criminal history record through a Departmental Order. A Departmental Order is the formal request for the IdHS report that allows you access to your criminal history on file with the FBI. No matter what state you seek licensing­ in, if the states requires a fingerprint-based background check, chances are high that your fingerprints will be also be run through the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) database. The CJIS database maintains all criminal history activity reported by the states.

A fingerprint-based background check search will let you know if a disqualifying criminal conviction exists that would prevent you from being licensed in your profession. A name-based background check (the kind that doesn’t require fingerprinting) won’t give you complete and accurate results.

Accurate Biometrics is a direct FBI channeler. We have the expertise to help you navigate through the Departmental Order 556-73 process to ensure you have a clear record to work in the medical field. We currently process fingerprints for Illinois, Florida and California nurse licensure. We also accept out-of-state and international fingerprint cards for processing.

If something shows up in your criminal history background record, you may be able to apply to have it expunged. For state records, contact the headquarters or website of your state police for expungement information. If a record is expunged from a state record, it should also be removed from the FBI record. With a Departmental Order, you can follow-up and make sure that the record was removed from the FBI record.

To challenge the results of your FBI Identity History Summary, or rap sheet, contact the
the FBI’s CJIS Division, which is responsible for the storage of fingerprints and related IdHS record information. The CJIS does not have the authority to modify any IdHS record information unless specifically notified to do so by the agency that owns the information (usually the Court of Record where the charges were filed).

You can review options for requesting a change or correction at the FBI CJIS website:

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks#Challenge-of%20an%20Identity%20History%20Summary


We are happy to answer your questions. Contact us by way the most convenient for you:
866-361-9944 info@accuratebiometrics.com https://accuratebiometrics.com/by-mail Accurate Biometrics

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What does your smile reveal?

Faces of smiling men and women
Photo credit: © Minerva Studio / Fotolia

Men’s and women’s smiles are measurably different, and can be used to identify gender. Researchers at the University of Bradford used artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the dynamic movement of 109 participant smiles, determining gender with 86% accuracy. The testing done was relatively simple. Accuracy can improved. The team would like to see how AI responds to the smile of a transgender person, or a smile altered by cosmetic surgery. 

The team led by Professor Hassan Ugail used artificial intelligence to study dynamic movement instead of static images. They measured 49 points around the face, nose and eyes, as well as muscle movement during the smile — how much, how far, how fast. As might be expected, women tend to smile more broadly then men.

The emphasis of the research was more about machine learning capability, but researchers believe the dynamic smile of an individual may be unique enough to one day become a next-generation biometric identifier.


Is your smile male or female? Mapping the dynamics of a smile to enable gender recognition.

Published by the University of Bradford, Mar., 14, 2018. Retrieved Mar. 27, 2018, Science Daily.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Biometric ID in Ancient Times?

Photo: Examples of ancient biometrics

We see in prehistoric man attempts to mark a place as one's own, to be remembered, to create something beautiful. Early cave paintings dating back around 40,000 years show human hands stenciled with red and brown pigments. Interestingly, scientists studying the handprints for gender differences find the handprints to be mostly female.

The first recorded evidence of writing is an intricate combinations of lines — called cuneiform — in clay tablets circa 3200 BC from Sumer, a region in what is now Iraq. In a developing society where most people could not read or write, a signature or identifier was needed for official documents. Thus, we see evidence circa 2600 to 2350 BC of fingerprints on clay seals. There is also evidence that ancient Babylonians used fingerprints on contracts circa 1900 BC.

Ancient China had a vast, growing population and needed a useful method of record-keeping to manage society, and keep law and order. From the Qin and Han Dynasties through the Six Dynasties periods (c206 BC to 589 AE), fingerprints were found recorded on a wide array of official documents: engagements, divorces, deeds, records of indenture and army records. They are also found used as a signature on formal confessions — not so different from modern society.

The use of biometrics as identifiers today is often seen as an encroachment of technology on modern life. From a fingerprint in clay in Mesopotamia to a fingerprint on silk in ancient China, the reality is that biometrics were used as identifiers thousands of years ago. Ancients understood that physical attributes could be used to minutely differentiate between people and used the information to great advantage.



Biometrics in the Ancient World: The Secret History of Identity

Crossmatch blog, Crossmatch.com


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Fascinating History of Face ID

Photo contrasting early and modern facial recognition
Photo illustration by Slate.  

For most of human history, face-to-face interactions formed the backbone of society, and faces were relied upon as early standards of identification and trust. Population growth and the urbanization of the Industrial Revolution disrupted the reliability of knowing every face in a small community. Alternatives to recognizing and authenticating individuals were needed.

A primitive first step in adopting the face as a biometric identifier was the written description. Physical descriptions sought to be objective — describing face, hair and eye color; face, nose and lips shape; and identifying facial marks and scars. While better than nothing, the system was inexact and not tremendously helpful.

The next advancement was the to represent the face visually with hand drawn sketches. Better. But it wasn't until the invention and widespread use of photography that capturing facial images became really useful. In society, cartes de visite were all the rage — playing card size photos in sepia tone that were exchanged with family and friends. For police, mug shots were a revolutionary tool to find and apprehend suspects. Criminologists studied mug shots as a tool to advance theories in linking certain physical traits to deviant behavior.

In the late 19th century, a new technique called bertillonage was developed by French policeman Alphonse Bertillon as a promising, standardized biometric identification system. The system involved the meticulous measurement of 11 parts of the body, including the head and face. These measurements, along with mug shots were considered the high tech classification system of its time.

In practice, bertillonage was a nightmare, as prisoners were not cooperative about standing in complicated poses while precise measurements were taken. Fingerprinting began its rise as the gold standard for biometric identification, while other traits such as voice, iris, gait and genetics drew interest and study.

Advances in facial recognition continued. Computers were used to study specific facial markers in the 1960's and 1970's. By the 1990's digital facial software was used by state departments of motor vehicles to prevent ID theft and fraud in driver's licenses.

The 9/11 attacks and the "War on Terror" brought facial recognition back to the forefront as the study of mass surveillance tactics vastly expanded. The FBI developed its Next Generation Identification System. Described as "the world's largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information", it provided law enforcement a search and response system that included facial recognition in 2014. 

The Department of Homeland Security turned to face recognition for border security and is now scanning international travelers to make sure the identity of the traveler matches the photo on the passport. Other countries are now using facial recognition for border protection as well. 

Private companies joined the race for a highly accurate and secure authentication system. Fingerprint sensors became widespread for mobile devices and business security. Then last year Apple introduced the iPhone X with a facial recognition systems that's secure enough to determine the difference between identical twins.

Artificial software gets trained on the massive amount of photos uploaded to the internet daily, with applications such as Facebook's DeepFace. We have fears about technology getting away from us. Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology stated, "I know what I touch, and I certainly know if I give fingerprints for a background check. I don't think there's anyone who keeps track of every surveillance or smartphone camera."

It's clear that we we need to be mindful of the information and photos we're sharing online. As technology develops at rocket speed, we need to rethink privacy policies, and set reasonable limits, involving government to protect us from potential misuse. "For without reasonable limits, these systems that attempt to capture and authenticate a version of our bodies may belie our belief that we own them."


What's in a Face ID?

By José Ragas, Mar. 5, 2018, for Slate.com


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Friday, February 23, 2018

Illinois to become Real ID compliant in 2019

Sample photo of Illinois Real ID compliant driver's license
Photo: Office of the Illinois Secretary of State

The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, is intended to prevent identity fraud; to ensure that a person presenting an ID is who they say they are. Real ID compliant driver's licenses and ID's feature anti-counterfeit technology, such as the holograms appearing on some state licenses.

Currently 29 states are compliant, plus the District of Columbia. For a list of compliant states, visit: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id

As of Oct. 1, 2020, all air travelers will need to have a Real ID compliant ID to fly, or else they'll be required to present an additional accepted form of identification. For a list of additional acceptable forms of ID, visit: 
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification

Illinois is currently operating under an extension valid through Oct. 10, 2018. By that date, the state expects to have filed for certification, and plans to start issuing Real IL compliant driver's licenses and ID's in January, 2019. To apply for a Real ID license, IL residents will need to bring in proof of identity, proof of Social Security Number, and proof of address.

According to Nathan Maddox, senior legal advisor at the Illinois Secretary of State's office, Illinois residents are not required to apply for a Real ID. Per Maddox, "If you do not travel in the air, you do not go to federal facilities, or you have a passport and do not want to bother getting a REAL ID, you can certainly get by with just a standard driver's license or identification card." 

Those in Illinois planning air travel this fall (after Oct. 10) will require additional ID. This might be a good time to apply for or renew a passport. The cost for a first time applicant to apply for a passport is $110, plus a $25 application fee. Passports can be applied for at many post offices, and some court houses and libraries. For a link to find a passport facility near you, visit:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/where-to-apply.html


Illinois expected to file for REAL ID compliance

From the Illinois News Network, Feb 1, 2018


What You Need to Know About the New ID Law and Travel

By Shivani Vora, Nov. 8, 2017,  NY Times Online


Illinois seeking one more REAL ID extension

By Doug Finke, Sep. 2, 2017 , for the State Journal-Register


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Monday, February 12, 2018

Can your fingerprint be used to steal your identity?

Woman using fingerprint to unlock smartphone


It’s not difficult to capture a fingerprint, good prints can even be captured with a camera. If someone has your fingerprint, can they gain unlock your phone, laptop computer, or the apps you’ve locked with your print? 

They could guess which finger you use for authentication, and then make an exacting, expensive mold of your fingerprint to be of high enough quality. They would need to steal or have access to your device. And then they would have to deal with the advanced encryption methods used in modern mobile devices.

When you set up your account, a unique algorithm creates a template of your fingerprint. Your print is tested against your locally stored fingerprint template to unlock your device. With this security in place, the difficulty of using a fingerprint copy to unlock your devices and apps is very high. But there is still another level of security.

The next layer of biometric security is liveness detection. An advanced hardware solution recently on the marketplace is the Apple iPhone 8 with 3-D facial recognition for authentication. It’s expected to be 10 years, though, before this type of liveness hardware detection trickles down to lower end devices for the majority of smartphone owners. Right now, only about half of smartphones and devices even have fingerprint detection.

To bridge the gap, solutions are being sought using Artificial Intelligence software. AI is currently being used in self-driving cars and voice assistants. A type of AI, machine learning, is already heavily used in biometric security, helping to prevent bank and commercial fraud. 

The next goal is using AI software in liveness detection; AI algorithms looking for uniqueness such as skin texture, three-dimensionality, the way a person moves the device, even a reflection in the eye. Involving an AI software-based solution would be more universal; it could be adapted to work on billions of smartphones already in use. And could be put in place much sooner than a hardware-based solution.


Biometric Mythbusters: Do Stolen Fingerprints Mean Identity Theft?

By Contributors for TechFinancials, Feb.6, 2018



Is AI the Missing Link in Biometric Security?

By Kevin Alan Tussy, Aug. 14, 2017, a Techonomy Exclusive



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