Thursday, June 21, 2018

Biometric ID to end catfishing in online dating

Stylized graphic of online dating app
Photo credit: LoveBlock

LoveBlock is introducing a technology based on Blockchain to create Biometric IDs for the authentication and security of members of online dating platforms. LoveBlock hopes to revolutionize online dating with their new technology.

When users join a dating platfom, they provide personal information and upload a unique photo or video. As part of the LoveBlock verification process, they would then be required to submit a real time photo or video where they might be asked to hold up a certain number of fingers or recite a sequence of numbers, etc. 

The photos or videos are scanned, matched and verified. The biometric information becomes part of a member’s Biometric ID, which is encrypted and saved on the Blockchain.

If a fraud is reported by a member of the dating app and verified, the information will be recorded and become part of the scammer’s Biometric ID. The user would also be blocked from the LoveBlock network.

LoveBlock plans to reach out and connect with other dating platforms to exchange this information. This cooperation between dating platforms will greatly reduce fraud and enhance security for all members. 

LoveBlock technology is develop by the LB Team, based in Singapore:
https://www.loveblock.one/

The LB Team is working closely with the dating app Luxy, with over 2 million users worldwide.
https://www.onluxy.com/



Loveblock’s Security System To Wipe Out Scammers In The Online Dating Industry

By Jillian Godsil, June 18, 2018, for Irish Tech News



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Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Biometrics now required to travel, study, work or immigrate to Canada

Slide demonstrating fingerprint data collection
Photo credit: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Every year Canada welcomes millions of visitors, and hundreds of thousands seeking to study, work or become a permanent Canadian resident. Starting in the summer of 2018, visitors, students, workers and immigrants will need to provide fingerprints and facial scan biometrics. There are a few exemptions, including US nationals.

The scope of the program has grown, as the number of countries participating has increased from 30 to about 150 countries, including applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The biometrics data is collected at Visa Application Centers (VACs) managed by private companies and international organizations.

Beginning July 31, 2018, applicants will pay an $85 fee CAD ( about $69 USD) for the biometric data collection service to help defray the cost of the program.

Mathieu Genest, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, emphasizes that applicant privacy concerns are of key importance, “The government of Canada takes its privacy obligations very seriously, and safeguards have been built into policies, procedures and technical systems.”

Biometrics data from the program will be shared with Canada’s international intelligence partners: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The data will be stored for 10 years, or destroyed if permanent residency is granted.

For an informational video visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/video/biometrics-summer-2018.html

To find a Visa Application Center visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/contact-ircc/offices/find-visa-application-centre.html

For detailed information on Canada’s expanded biometrics program, visit this Canadian Government website page: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/campaigns/biometrics.html?utm_source=slash-biometrics_biometrie&utm_medium=short-url-en&utm_campaign=biometrics


Ottawa expands program to collect fingerprints, photos from foreign nationals coming to Canada

Kathleen Harris for CBC News, June 5, 2018


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Robots: helping to improve care of the elderly



Allowing robots to help care for the elderly may seem cold and lacking in the human touch, but in Japanese media, robots are depicted as helpful and friendly. Many Japanese view them positively. With an aging population, over 1 in 4 are at least 65 years old, and a dwindling work force, Japan needs creative solutions. Lessons learned from Japan’s experience will benefit other countries with aging populations, including the US.

While robots will never replace human caregivers, they help meet a variety of needs. They can be companionable, such as Paro, the furry white seal that makes seal cries when petted. They can aid the disabled, such as Tree, an upright robot that crawls the floor showing a senior where to place the next step and offering balance support. They also help staff, such as HAL (Hybrid Assisted Limb) which provides back support and powered assistance when lifting people.

Robots are not cheap. For example, Paro the robot seal took over 10 years to develop and received over $20 million in government support. It currently costs 400,000 yen ($3,800 USD). Most facilities using robots have relied on local and central government subsidies.

At Tokyo’s Shin-tomi nursing home, using robots hasn’t reduced personnel costs or working hours, but they have made the work environment safer, and boosted the morale of both staff and residents, making them feel supported.

The global market for robots for the elderly and disabled is currently small ($19.2 million in 2016), and made up mostly of Japanese manufacturers. Future market growth will be exponential: demand in Japan alone is expected to reach $3.8 billion by 2035, when about 1/3 of Japan’s population will be 65 or older.

Japan also hopes to supply a lucrative export industry to places such as Germany, China, Italy and other countries facing aging populations.



How robots could help care for Japan's aging population

Malcolm Foster for Independent, UK, April 9, 2018. Photography by Kim Kyung-Hoon. 


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Friday, May 18, 2018

New DNA test predicts hair, eye and now skin color

Photo of artistic composite of faces
Photo Credit: Science Daily

An international team of scientists has created a new DNA tool that is able to predict skin pigment color as well as hair and eye color from a DNA sample of low quantity and low quality, as might be found at a crime scene or in archeological remains.

Previous DNA tests have had accuracy predicting hair and eye color. The new web tool, the HIrisPlex-S DNA test system, can profile skin pigment to 5 color types: very pale, pale, intermediate, dark, and dark to black. The testing cannot be used to identify race or ethnicity, but more shades of color similar to color swatches.

The tool could be helpful to law enforcement forensics because it’s designed to be used when standard forensic profiling isn’t helpful — when there’s no reference DNA to use for comparison. Eyewitness accounts usually mention hair and skin color. Being able to test hair and skin color from DNA will allow law enforcement to be more objective about witness descriptions.

The team was led by scientists from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) School of Science and Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands. The team is currently offering use of the tool online, free of charge.



Forensics: New tool predicts eye, hair and skin color from a DNA sample of an unidentified individual

Science Daily, May 14, 2018


How Accurately Can Scientists Reconstruct A Person’s Face From DNA?

IUPUI School of Science, May 14 2018


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fingerprint drug testing technology leaps forward

Photo of enlarged fingerprint detail
Photo Credit: undark.com

Lab testing with paper spray mass spectrometry is able to analyze and detect chemicals left behind in fingerprints. Traces of sweat left behind in the ridges of fingerprints can include traces of whatever substances the fingers have touched. Traces of drugs have been found to be surprisingly common in fingerprints of the general population.

In testing by the University of Surrey, with partners from the Netherlands Forensic Institute and Intelligent Fingerprinting, 13% of verified non-drug users tested were found to traces of cocaine in their fingerprints! The testing methodology is so sensitive (to the tens of pictograms, or 0.00000000001g) that it can detect trace amounts of cocaine transferred from a banknote or other contaminated surface. A drug user would have a much higher (100X or more) amount of cocaine in their fingerprint residue, so the test can tell drug users and non-users apart.

An exciting possibility for the future of medical testing is the modification of fingerprint testing technology to detect therapeutic drugs. New fingerprint testing can even detect drugs — prescription or otherwise — that a person has ingested. For patients being treated for epilepsy, diabetes, heart conditions or psychosis, fingerprint testing would be an easy and convenient way to test whether prescribed drugs were being take regularly and absorbed properly.

Intelligent Fingerprinting (Cambridge, UK) has developed the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug detection system. It works using antibodies — similar to a home pregnancy test — to test for specific classes of drugs such as opiates, amphetamines, cocaine and THC (marijuana). The portable fingerprint testing device is currently being used in drug treatment centers, and is being pilot tested by medical examiners in the UK to determine the cause of death.

The company believes the portable test will become very popular in law enforcement — police, probation, prisons, and likely, eventually, roadside testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting  is now marketing the portable fingerprint test in the US and Canada. The popularity and wide spread growth of this type of testing is raising privacy and consent issues. Technology moves fast, and thoughtful ethical and legal resolutions evolve slowly.



The Hidden Data in Your Fingertips

By Melanie Bailey, April 27, 2018, for The Conversation US, published on ScientificAmerican.com


First large-scale study of cocaine users leads to breakthrough in drug testing

Published Sept. 21, 2017, by the University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK 


Fingerprint Scanning Technology Leaps Forward, But to What End?

By Rod McCullom, April 11,2018,  for UNDARK.org


Accurate Biometrics

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Help Protect Your Social Security Account

Photo of a Social Security card nestled in paper money


As National Social Security Month ends, if you haven’t enrolled in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) new MySocialSecurity website, you might want to do so to keep track of your benefits and help protect your social security account. The SSA chose April, tax return deadline month, to be National Social Security Month to create awareness and to encourage us to know more about the benefits we’ve earned.

The SSA has designed the MySocialSecurity website to help you manage your benefits, and to help minimize your chances of identity theft. Previously the SSA has been sending out yearly Social Security Statements. With the creation of the MSS website, the paper statements will now be sent every 5 years instead of every year. 

The MySocialSecurity website will let you view your up-to-date Social Security statement, with estimated benefits based on your earnings history and assumptions on future earnings. You can view estimated monthly benefits from retiring at age 62, to up to the highest monthly benefit you would receive from retiring at age 70. 

You can also access your earnings history, dating back to the beginning of your career. If you see any inaccuracies, there are instructions on how to contact the SSA to correct the information on your account. Your Social Security payments are based on the 35 highest earning years of your career, indexed for inflation — another reason you’ll want to make sure your information is correct.

If you’ve lost your Social Security card, there is information on how to go about replacing it. The MySocialSecurity website has information on your account is protected, and also how to protect yourself against phishing emails. 

Enrolling in the MySocialSecurity website is a great way to keep track of your benefits, and to help you and your loved ones make the most of the Social Security benefit program.

Helpful Links:

MySocialSecurity website:

https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

Account verification and identity protection:

https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/verifyandprotectid.html

How to protect yourself against phishing emails:

https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/internetphishingalert.html



If You Do Only 1 Thing This Social Security Month, Do This

By Dan Caplinger, April 27, 2018, for The Motley Fool


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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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