Biometrics Industry News Roundup: Florida Bans Biometrics In Schools

The industry news this past week was overshadowed by a single item out of Florida. After months of debate and anticipation, the state governor signed Senate Bill 188 into law, banning the collection of student biometrics in schools from kindergarten to grade 12.

As you can imagine, this is a controversial move. Biometrics don’t only help speed up lunch lines and track student attendance, but they are a big protecting factor against child abduction. The International Biometrics and Identity Association (IBIA) tried to stop the bill from passing. As soon as it made it to the governor’s desk, findBIOMETRICS was able to interview IBIA vice chairman Walter Hamilton on the subject.

Two days after the bill was signed, the IBIA released an official statement condemning the decision. For more information on how biometrics can make schools better, the IBIA also released a white paper on the topic.

With that out of the way, the week was not without its regular deployments, announcements and innovations.

This was week two in Biometric Software Month, in which we took a look at the untapped infrastructure of potential biometric sensors that lies all around us. Biometric software is capable of transforming any digital camera or microphone (including those on your smartphone) into an identification tool.

A perfect example of this comes in the news from Nuance Communications, that its voice recognition solution is being used to protect phone banking at Banco Santander México. Instead of dialing in pins and passwords or answering security questions, customers just say “At Banco Santander, my voice is my password,” and they can proceed conveniently and securely.

On Friday we reported on a partnership that hopes to add touchscreens to that list of potential sensors. Siam Smartphone and Descartes Biometrics are promising ear recognition on a dual screen smartphone scheduled for launch this summer. Instead of taking a picture of the ear, the user presses their appendage to the screen of her phone to have it measured and authenticated.

Physical access control was in the news this past week too. MorphoTrak USA (Safran) partnered with Identity One, bringing biometric security to the railroad industry with its rugged and accurate Outdoor MorphoAccess 520 biometric reader.

EnterTech Systems announced that its BioConnect application, which is known for attacking adoption barriers in physical access, is now available for Net2: a networked access control solution, allowing for centralized administration and management of doors and users.

Finally, SRI International announced that it has signed with emaratech in an agreement that will see that latter providing Iris on the Move (IOM) technology to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Oman. The technology is ideal for high throughput environments and has applications in border control, time and attendance and obviously standard physical access scenarios.

Be sure to stay posted with findBIOMETRICS as we enter week three of Biometric Software Month with a new feature and another blog post examining this specific kind of application in pop culture. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date and to keep the discussion going.