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:

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:

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:

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

Accurate Biometrics

Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing

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

Accurate Biometrics

Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why did fingerprints evolve?

Close up photo of fingerprint scan
Photo credit: Monty Rakusen/Getty Images/Cultura R

The Guardian recently put forth a reader question for other readers to answer: Do fingerprints serve any evolutionary purpose? Although one reader’s suggestion that fingerprints evolved so that crime novel detectives would have a means of identifying criminals is entertaining, most people thought along the lines of fingerprints improving the grip to aid in climbing, similar to those of primates. (And other animals. Koala bears have unique fingerprints that are very difficult to differentiate from humans.) 

Scientific research from a 2009 study by Dr. Roland Ennos and a team of researchers from Manchester University actually found that fingerprints may hinder the grip on some surfaces. Testing with plastic cups, weight and acrylic glass found that with the rubberiness of skin, ridges actually reduced the friction needed to get a firm grip on smooth surfaces.

The team theorized that fingerprints may better suited to gripping rough surfaces. The ridges of fingerprints may project into the depressions of rough surfaces, providing a higher contact area. Another theory is that fingerprints make it easier to grip wet surfaces. Fingerprints allow a little water run off, similar to the tread of car tires. Friction fails on fingerprints with high levels of moisture, but it fails less quickly than with smooth skin.

Dr. Ennos has a preferred theory on the reason for the evolution of fingerprints. Fingerprints allow the skin to “deform” and thus reduce blistering. This is why we are more likely to blister on the smooth parts of our hand and feet rather than on ridged areas of skin like fingerpads, palms and soles.

A related evolutionary question is why do we have unique fingerprints. We may not know why, but there is research on how they develop. A scientific article in Circulation Research, AMA Journals, explains how the ridges, loops and whorls of fingerprint patterns are formed. Compressive stresses act upon the skin “like the buckling of land masses under compression.” This is why even twins have unique fingerprints.  As twins occupy different positions in the womb, the variations in stress and pressure are enough to create a slight difference in fingerprints. 

Do fingerprints serve any evolutionary purpose?

Published in The Guardian Lifestyle section, Jan. 29, 2018,

Get a grip! Blistering new evidence on why we have fingerprints...

Published in the Manchester University News section, May 29, 2009,

Fingerprints are unlikely to increase the friction of primate fingerpads

Published by Peter H. Warman and A. Roland Ennos, Journal of Experimental Biology 2009 

Wet but not slippery: boundary friction in tree frog adhesive toe pads

Published by W. Federle, et al, Oct. 22, 2006, in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface

Mechanical Control of Tissue Morphogenesis

By Parth Patwari and Richard T. Lee, Circulation Research, American Heart Association Journals, Published Aug. 1, 2008

Accurate Biometrics

Practical solutions for fingerprint collection and processing.