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