Posts Tagged ‘Biometrics’

Secrecy News:

As of last (month), there is now a U.S. Government national security agency called the Biometrics Identity Management Agency (BIMA).  It supersedes a Biometrics Task Force that was established in 2000.

Though nominally a component of the Army, the biometrics agency has Defense Department-wide responsibilities.

“The Biometrics Identity Management Agency leads Department of Defense activities to prioritize, integrate, and synchronize biometrics technologies and capabilities and to manage the Department of Defense’s authoritative biometrics database to support the National Security Strategy,” according to a March 23 Order (pdf) issued by Army Secretary John M. McHugh that redesignated the previous Biometrics Task Force as the BIMA.

Biometrics is generally defined as “a measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) [or] behavioral characteristic that can be used for automated recognition.”

“Biometric data [are] normally unclassified,” according to a 2008 DoD directive (pdf).  “However, elements of the contextual data, information associated with biometric collection, and/or associated intelligence analysis may be classified.”

“Biometrics-enabled Intelligence [refers to] intelligence information associated with and or derived from biometrics data that matches a specific person or unknown identity to a place, activity, device, component, or weapon that supports terrorist / insurgent network and related pattern analysis, facilitates high value individual targeting, reveals movement patterns, and confirms claimed identity.”

“Biometrics is an important enabler that shall be fully integrated into the conduct of DoD activities to support the full range of military operations,” the 2008 directive stated.

“Every day thousands of [biometric] records are collected and sent to the Department of Defense (DOD) Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) to store and compare against existing records,” a 2009 DoD report (pdf) said. “The technology is improving such that a submission from theater [e.g., in Afghanistan] can be searched in the DOD ABIS and a response sent back to theater in less than two minutes.”

“Realtime positive identification of persons of interest enables Coalition forces to target, track, and prosecute known or potential adversaries,” the DoD report said.

Arapahoe wins federal grant for biometric ID system

KDVR  Denver | Feb 5, 2010

by Dave Young

Arapahoe County will become the first law enforcement agency in Colorado to begin identifying criminals, missing children and seniors using biometric analysis of the human iris.

A technician from the software and hardware developer demonstrated how their device analyzes the iris, which has 235 identifying points of reference, versus a fingerprint’s 65.

“Fingerprints change but irises stay stable throughout your life,” said Patricia Lawton of Biometric Intelligence and Identifying Technologies, “Which is why it’s a great biometric to identify somebody with.”

Lawton helped develop this new technology application.

She said the iris is 12 times more reliable for identification than a fingerprint.

A National Sheriff’s Association technology grant allows Arapahoe County to be first in the state to apply it to law enforcement.

A deputy helped us demonstrate how it works while Lawton scanned his eyes.

“He won’t tell us who he is,” she said as the deputy held a digital scanner in front of his face and images of his two eyes revealed on a laptop computer screen.

“The camera’s taking a digital photograph of his eyes, the saturation the focus the quality the camera’s talking to him telling him whether or not he’s in range,” Lawton said as on-screen graphics illustrated each item she described.

“In six seconds the information has come back that this is who he is,” she said as a photo image of the deputy appeared on the screen.

The developers say in government studies so far, with more than two million cross matches, there’s never been a false positive with their device.

After initial testing, Arapahoe County will share the technology with other law enforcement agencies across the state who will eventually share criminal and inmate ID records.

“Particularly after we’ve done it for a period of time after a year,” said Arapahoe Sheriff Grayson Robinson, “We will have upwards of 20-thousand inputs into this database.”

Robinson said it will also be used to help track missing kids and seniors who’ve been registered by family members.

“We see this as the future,” said developer Lawton, “This will be the first step when you come in, we’ll match your iris to your records and your records will come up. “

A record that’s impossible to fake.

Customs and Border Protection agent Jesus Gomez checks a passport at the vehicle crossing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California. Getty Images

The biggest objections to the biometric cards may come from privacy advocates, who fear they would become de facto national ID cards that enable the government to track citizens.

ID Card for Workers Is at Center of Immigration Plan

Wall Street Journal | Mar 9, 2010

BBC | Mar 29, 2010

Children selected to walk through the full body scanners at airports must do so, the transport secretary has said.

Lord Adonis, announcing a consultation on a code of conduct for the scanners, said to exclude children risked undermining the security measures.

Civil rights groups had raised concerns that the resulting images would breach child pornography laws.

The scanners are being introduced after a failed attempt to blow up a plane in the US in December.

The government’s code of practice on the scanners said airport security staff had all been vetted, including a check of criminal and security service records.


Full body scanners may break child pornography laws

Airport strip-search machines “tear apart DNA”

Airport worker warned over body scanner ‘harassment’

Full-body airport security scanners to fry travelers with ionizing radiation

Airport body scanners can store and transmit images of your naked body

Full-body scanners used on air passengers may damage human DNA

The Underpants Bomber: Anatomy of a Cover-Up

Study Looks Into How Full Body Scanners May Do Serious Damage To DNA

Body scanner wouldn’t have foiled syringe bomber, says MP who worked on new machines

Wow. I figured they had just given up on it…

Federal Computer News:

States and territories are getting a reprieve from the looming Dec. 31 deadline for compliance with the Real ID Act drivers’ license standardization requirements. The Homeland Security Department has agreed to extend the deadline for at least 10 states and territories that previously had not informed DHS that they would not meet the deadline. The new deadlines for this group will be determined in the next several weeks, Matt Chandler, deputy press secretary for DHS, said today.

“We did not want to set an arbitrary new deadline,” Chandler said. “We will be working with the states to pick a date.” Guidance will be released shortly, he added.

To date, 46 of the 56 states and territories had informed DHS that they would not be able to meet the Dec. 31 deadline. Those states have been granted extensions for full compliance until May 10, 2011.

Last week, DHS extended the deadline for all states and territories.

In a written statement, DHS officials said they granted the extension in part to avoid disrupting holiday travel. One such disruption would have been difficulties in boarding commercial aircraft. Once Real ID is in full effect, only federally recognized documents, including Real ID-compliant drivers’ licenses, will be eligible for identification purposes in boarding at airports.

On Dec. 16, the National Governors Association wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging her to extend the Dec. 31 compliance deadline.

“With at least 36 states unable to meet the December 31, 2009, deadline for compliance with REAL ID, action is needed to ensure Americans are able to use their driver’s licenses to board commercial aircraft this holiday season,” the governors wrote in the Dec. 16 letter.

Real ID, which Congress approved in 2005, has been controversial because many consider it an unfunded mandate and a possible threat to privacy. Under Real ID, states must collect personal information from drivers, store the information and electronically share it with other states. More than 20 states have passed legislation or nonbinding resolutions that oppose or reject Real ID.

Napolitano has supported legislation under consideration in Congress known as the Pass ID Act, that would loosen some of the requirements of Real ID.

On Dec. 8, DHS officials announced applications are available for $48 million in grants under the Driver’s License Security Grant Program. The program is intended to help states and territories improve security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards in order to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud and enhance the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents.