Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Could biometrics help protect the old and isolated during big freezes?

As ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures continue to grip the UK one important question raises its head again, could we being doing more to protect the elderly and vulnerable in their homes?
Death rates amongst the elderly and vulnerable have shot up rapidly as some succumb to the effects of cold on their health, worries of using heating due to rising costs and lack of contact with family, friends, neighbours and carers. Would a simple to use fingerprint biometric system help to support their safety and security by allowing them to show they have gotten up, are active during the day and gone to bed safely?
A long held dream of Devi Sohanta is to help the elderly and vulnerable to live fuller and safer lives by applying biometrics to help keep contact, maintain security and give these people peace of mind. Devi set up Global Bio Tec to develop technology that could easily go into homes, residential care settings and sheltered housing projects etc. and be simply used by people. After thorough testing and approval by the Secure By Design accreditation programme the Connective Touch range of biometric fingerprint access and communication systems are on the market.
Could a web-enabled biometric fingerprint pad help to connect old people and those who need monitoring by carers in a cheap and effective way that will bring them help promptly if needed and add extra security for their lives?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Fingerprint biometrics, crime or punishment?

Dr. Peter Waggett, project leader for IBM’s Emerging Technology Programme and chairman of the BSI Biometrics Group spoke at a recent Christmas lunch for Global Bio Tec partners, stakeholders and management in Leamington Spa.
The key question during open discussion with Dr. Wagget was do potential buyers and the public hesitate to install and accept fingerprint biometrics because of the historic and cultural links of taking fingerprints with criminality? What do you think?
Dr. Waggett was there in his capacity as a mentor who has helped advise GBT on setting up and developing their Connective Touch range of biometric access control systems.
Helping the market to understand and adopt biometric solutions is a key goal of the Biometric Centre of Excellence that GBT has helped to found. Dr Waggett was supportive of its aims and said, “The centre of excellence can spread the message on how successful biometric solutions can be developed, following research and development, design and production that will fulfil the market’s need for solutions that deliver on their promise.”
After acknowledging the dedication and determination of GBT founder Devi Sohanta to develop fingerprint verified access control systems that can be used with confidence across a wide range of sectors Dr. Waggett discussed the growing acceptance of fingerprint biometrics. Fingerprint biometric solutions currently account for around 40 per cent of current applications. He predicts that this can only grow as other countries follow the US example of requiring all entrants into the country to provide a fingerprint and as the UK progresses to adopting biometric passports.
One of the issues for biometric technology and fingerprint biometrics has been the fact that there have been few standards for solution developers and manufacturers to follow. Dr Waggett noted the work that the BSI group has been doing in this area with the launch of a PAS for Biometrics anticipated in 2011.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Are Biometric ATM Machines The Answer To Identity Theft?

Skimming involves the use of devices that fit on the ATM card slot and read information off a card’s magnetic strip. A small camera on or around the ATM records PINs as customers press the keypad.

Skimming is the latest threat in the identity theft war. Two men in Chicago have recently been arrested for rigging bank ATMs. ATM’s that usually have a fake cover or card slot put into them are more often found more commonly in stand-alone ATM’s or ATM’s in convenience stores.  In an article on tampabay.com John Joyce, special agent in charge of the US Secret Service Tampa field office advises, “Use legitimate bank ATMs. If possible go inside the bank and use the one inside the bank.”

But should we take after Poland’s BPS SA bank who set a European, and Western milestone, by installing a biometric ATM in Warsaw? Given the financial situations in Greece, Spain and Portugal in recent weeks the Euro Zone has plenty of reasons to be down on itself but Poland is showing a financial-sector first this week, becoming the first European country to install a biometric ATM.

The machine reads your fingerprint as opposed to the magnetic strip on a cash card. All that is needed to withdraw money and access personal information is your fingerprint and your pin number. Is this the answer to identity fraud involving ATMs?

The biometric ATM has been designed to only accept the fingerprint of a living human being. This makes it impossible for people to use a copy. As shown in many movies and often mentioned in tests of biometric devices a copy of a fingerprint, fake hand containing the fingerprint of someone else, or in extreme cases the hand or finger of a dead person cannot be used. Not only do these machines take a copy of the fingerprint they also detect the pulse from the finger which is recorded with the image.

The sensor technology employed by Global Bio Tec in its Connective Touch range of fingerprint
reading access control systems can't be fooled as it takes a scan several layers underneath the skin. The fingerprint often associated with criminality is turned the tables on those engaged in identity theft. 

Monday, 6 December 2010

Biometrics preventing child trafficking in India?

The theft of new-born babies and children in India has been a problem for many years now but biometric technology may be about to change this.

The Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital managed by the Pimpri Chinchwas Municipal Corporation, based in Pimpri in the Pune district of India, near to Mumbai has taken new security steps to prevent the theft of new-borns and children from the hospital.

Child trafficking in India has been ignored and overlooked by police and government officials for many years now with children being stolen to be sold, for adoption to other countries, prostitution and begging. Children have been stolen from hospitals, kidnapped from the street whilst they were playing, taken in their sleep and some gullible parents have even given their child away on the back of promises of education and private boarding schools.

The Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital is hoping to prevent this from happening on their premises by installing CCTV cameras and introducing a biometric identification system which will provide matching number tokens to the parent and the child. The steps have been taken to meet with the Bombay high court guidelines on the issue which were recently received by the hospital.
Along with the suggested security installations the hospital has also employed extra security staff for 24 hour surveillance and employed female guards. Within two hours of the birth the biometric information is taken as well as a print of the footprint of the baby.

Will biometric technology prove successful in India’s quest to prevent child theft?