controversy

Florida County Becomes New Front In Uber, Lyft’s Biometric Background Check Fight

Florida County Becomes New Front In Uber, Lyft’s Biometric Background Check Fight

Florida’s Hillsborough County is moving to implement new regulations for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, reports the Tampa Bay Times. A subcommittee of the county’s Public Transportation Committee voted to proceed with new legislation establishing a special category for ride-hailing companies called ‘transportation network companies’, or TNCs, and setting out specific regulations for such…

Boston Police Commissioner Decries Lack of Fingerprinting for Uber, Lyft Drivers

Boston Police Commissioner Decries Lack of Fingerprinting for Uber, Lyft Drivers

The Massachusetts House and Senate have approved new legislation concerning the certification of Uber and Lyft drivers, and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans has gone public with his concerns about their lack of any requirement for a fingerprint-based background check. While the regulations require Uber and Lyft drivers to be officially certified and to have…

Biometrics Expert Helps Police Spoof Fingerprints for Smartphone Access

Biometrics Expert Helps Police Spoof Fingerprints for Smartphone Access

Police in the US have successfully spoofed a murder victim’s fingerprints in order to gain access to his smartphone. It’s result of a collaboration recently initiated with Michigan State University biometrics researcher Dr. Anil Jain, one of the world’s most well-respected biometrics experts. Police believed that the murder victim’s Samsung Galaxy S6 may contain clues…

Unsealed Documents Illustrate Biometric Password Legal Tension

Unsealed Documents Illustrate Biometric Password Legal Tension

A federal judge ordered an accused pimp to unlock his iPhone via Touch ID fingerprint scan in 2013, unsealed court documents reveal. As 9to5Mac reports, this is only the second known federal case in which a suspect has been ordered to unlock a device via fingerprint scan, an order that some warn could be unconstitutional,…

FBI ‘Pilot Project’ Has Collected 434,000 Iris Scans

FBI ‘Pilot Project’ Has Collected 434,000 Iris Scans

The FBI has been running a secret iris scanning program, according to a new report from The Verge. Officially designated a pilot program, it has largely escaped substantial oversight and public knowledge. It began in 2013 as a close collaboration between the federal law enforcement agency and the California Department of Justice, envisioned as a…

Biometric Screening System Now Running Smoothly: South African Minister

Biometric Screening System Now Running Smoothly: South African Minister

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister has been seeking to reassure travelers that problems caused by the implementation of biometric screening at the OR Tambo International Airport have now been resolved. The problems were, more specifically, delays: The Department of Home Affairs and airport authorities had the biometric passenger screening system installed last week, delaying flights and…

Traditional Taxi Services Call for Biometric Background Checks for Drivers

Traditional Taxi Services Call for Biometric Background Checks for Drivers

America’s Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) and National Limousine Association (NLA) are calling for fingerprint-based background checks for all drivers for hire. In a joint statement announcing their collective stance, the organizations highlight the safety benefits offered by such biometric background checks, which can help ensure that passengers are in good hands when hiring…

GAO Report Sheds Light on FBI’s Secret Biometric Program

GAO Report Sheds Light on FBI’s Secret Biometric Program

The FBI has developed a powerful biometric identification system without proper oversight, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report has revealed the FBI’s FACE—Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation—program, a facial recognition system that scans images obtained from civilian databases. FACE has access to over 411.9 million images collected from…

Strict Biometric Screening for China Region Seen as Discriminatory

Strict Biometric Screening for China Region Seen as Discriminatory

Chinese authorities have issued special biometric requirements for aspiring travelers in the Xinjiang region’s Ili prefecture. Regional police have reportedly announced that all residents must provide DNA, fingerprint, and voiceprint biometric data, and must also submit to 3D body scans, in order to apply for travel documents. The strictures follow measures enacted last year in…

Privacy Advocates Defeat Bill Challenging Biometrics Regulation

Privacy Advocates Defeat Bill Challenging Biometrics Regulation

Privacy advocates are warning about the dangers posed by unregulated use of biometric technology in the wake of recent legal maneuvering in the US government. Just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, a bill was introduced into the Illinois General Assembly aimed at altering the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act so that its provisions would only apply…

FBI Moves to Exempt NGI System from Privacy Legislation

FBI Moves to Exempt NGI System from Privacy Legislation

America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to exempt its Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric database system from national privacy legislation. First launched back in 2013, the NGI system is used for biometric identification by law enforcement authorities as well as government bodies conducting background checks on applicants for certain kinds of jobs. Last autumn…

How Hundreds of Terror Suspects’ Biometric Profiles Were Deleted

How Hundreds of Terror Suspects’ Biometric Profiles Were Deleted

A new report from the UK’s Biometrics Commissioner is highlighting the complexities of managing biometric data. In the particular case of Alastair MacGregor QC’s investigation, it has become apparent that the records of hundreds of individuals suspected to be terrorists  have been deleted, due in large part to technical issues. Current legislation requires that biometric data collected…

Growing Demand for App That Matches Pics to Social Profiles

Growing Demand for App That Matches Pics to Social Profiles

A Russian app that searches a popular social networking site to match faces to smartphone photos is proving increasingly popular in its home country. Called FindFace, the app was recently highlighted in an art project that used it to match pictures of Moscow subway riders to their profiles on the VKontakte social network. It’s based on…

Shutterfly Settles Biometrics Privacy Case

Shutterfly Settles Biometrics Privacy Case

Shutterfly has come to terms with an Illinois man who had filed a lawsuit against the company’s use of biometric identification with respect to his person. The plaintiff argued that Shutterfly’s use of biometric identification on his image, which was uploaded to the site by a third party, violated his privacy rights as he had…

Atlanta Airport Seeks Biometric Background Checks for Uber Drivers

Atlanta Airport Seeks Biometric Background Checks for Uber Drivers

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, more commonly known as the Atlanta airport, is seeking to impose mandatory fingerprint-based background checks on unlicensed taxi services such as Uber and Lyft. The airport submitted the plan to Atlanta’s city council for consideration this week. Predictably, Uber and Lyft have come out with public objections against the proposal,…

Barbados Gov’t Delays Launch of Biometric Border Screening

Barbados Gov’t Delays Launch of Biometric Border Screening

The Barbados government is treading carefully as it prepares to implement biometric border screening. The country’s Immigration Department has pushed back the implementation date in order to more closely examine sensitive issues related to the project. Originally, the biometric border screening was set to go live on April 1st of this year, with multiple fingerprint…

Indian Gov’t Seeks to Open Aadhaar Data to Security Agencies

Indian Gov’t Seeks to Open Aadhaar Data to Security Agencies

India’s ruling government is attempting to pass legislation that will leverage the data associated with its Aadhaar program for security purposes. Aadhaar is, of course, the country’s national citizen ID program, which has now collected the biographic and biometric data of nearly a billion citizens. The program’s initial aim was to make the distribution of…

UK Report Sheds Light on Authorities’ Management of Biometric Evidence

UK Report Sheds Light on Authorities’ Management of Biometric Evidence

A new report from Britain’s Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material has shed light on UK authorities’ collection of biometric evidence, and raised some eyebrows. The report revealed that a national counter-terrorism database contains biometric data—DNA and fingerprint samples—of about 7,800 persons. It also illustrated the effects of 2012 legislation requiring the…

Google the Latest to Run Up Against Illinois Biometrics Law

Google the Latest to Run Up Against Illinois Biometrics Law

Google has now fallen into the same legal trap that ensnared Facebook and Shutterfly. The company now faces a lawsuit over alleged violations of Illinois legislation covering biometrics and privacy. The lawsuit pertains to Google’s use of facial recognition with its Google Photos app. A Chicago resident claims that a user took multiple photos of…

Judge Sides With Facebook on Biometrics Issue

Judge Sides With Facebook on Biometrics Issue

Facebook has won an important lawsuit over its collection of biometric data. The case was brought forward by Illinois resident Frederick William Gullen, who cited state legislation requiring that companies obtain individuals’ consent before capturing their biometric data. Gullen’s image was uploaded to the site by a friend, who tagged his name to the picture,…

Biometrics Year in Review: The Role of Public Perception

Biometrics Year in Review: The Role of Public Perception

Last year was one of unprecedented visibility for biometric technology. With major innovations in mobility and consumer electronics bringing post-password tech to the masses, and with the increased international threat of terrorism once again spurring on the initiatives to biometrically secure borders, biometrics were among the mainstream topics of 2015. But with increased optics comes…

Comelec Proceeds With Voter Deregistration Over Biometric Non-Compliance

Comelec Proceeds With Voter Deregistration Over Biometric Non-Compliance

With its newly-won Supreme Court backing, the Philippines’ Commission on Elections is proceeding with its deregistration of voters who failed to submit their biometric data in anticipation of this year’s national elections. Comelec has now deregistered 300,000 voters in the Eastern Visayas region, an area that had appeared to be problematic in terms of biometric…

Shutterfly Biometrics Case to Proceed in Court

Shutterfly Biometrics Case to Proceed in Court

A federal judge has ruled that a court case against Shutterfly over its collection and storage of biometric data can proceed. It’s a blow to the photo sharing company, which had previously asked for a dismissal when the case was brought forward by a Chicago resident upset about Shutterfly software’s automatic identification of him, using facial recognition…

Valencell Lawsuits Accuse Apple, Fitbit of Patent Infringement

Valencell Lawsuits Accuse Apple, Fitbit of Patent Infringement

Update: A spokesperson from Fitbit has approached FindBiometrics with the company’s official statement regarding Valencell’s lawsuit allegations described in the article below. It is as follows (-PBC): “As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has independently developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower its customers to lead healthier, more…

Court Battle Continues Over Biometric Voting in Philippines

Court Battle Continues Over Biometric Voting in Philippines

The battle over biometric polling continues to play out in the Philippines’ Supreme Court as civil organizations led by the Kabataan Party-list argue vehemently against the Commission on Elections’s (Comelec) “no bio, no boto” policy. The complainants have filed a new petition urging the Supreme Court to uphold its temporary restraining order (TRO) on Comelec’s move…

Philippines Supreme Court Denies Petition to Extend Biometric Registration Period for Voters

Philippines Supreme Court Denies Petition to Extend Biometric Registration Period for Voters

The Philippines Supreme Court has denied a petition to extend the biometric registration deadline for eligible voters. The case came about in the last days of the registration period, which ended October 31st, as Commission on Elections (Comelec) registration sites were overwhelmed with voters seeking last-minute registrations. While registration had been open for 17 months,…

Philippines Supreme Court Orders Halt to Disenfranchisement of Unregistered Voters

Philippines Supreme Court Orders Halt to Disenfranchisement of Unregistered Voters

The Philippines Supreme Court has ordered a temporary halt to the country’s Commission on Elections’ efforts to deactivate the voting eligibility of citizens who failed to register their biometric data on time. It’s the latest cliffhanger development in Comelec’s long saga of biometric voter registration. Next year’s national election is to be the first requiring…

Regional Government Voices Opposition to Australian Facial Recognition Project

Regional Government Voices Opposition to Australian Facial Recognition Project

The government body of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is raising red flags over the federal government’s National Facial Biometric Matching Capability database. Initially a supporter of the Facial Verification Service being instituted to aid police forces in the country, the ACT government is now calling for more thorough evaluations of the system’s privacy implications.…

Unregistered Biometrics See 100,000 Filipinos Lose Voting Rights in Davao City Alone

Unregistered Biometrics See 100,000 Filipinos Lose Voting Rights in Davao City Alone

The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) will deactivate the eligibility of a little over 100,000 voters in Davao City for next year’s national election. Voters across the country were required to register their biometric data in anticipation of the 2016 election, which will rely on biometric voter identity authentication, but the window for registration closed…

Facebook Requests Dismissal of Biometrics Lawsuit

Facebook Requests Dismissal of Biometrics Lawsuit

Facebook has filed a motion to have a potential class action lawsuit against the company dismissed. The lawsuit was filed over the company’s collection and storage of individuals’ facial biometric data. The company pursues these biometric activities in the service of its ‘tag suggestions’ feature, which is designed to automatically identify the faces of people…

Indian Teachers Protest Biometric Attendance Tracking

Indian Teachers Protest Biometric Attendance Tracking

Protesting teachers are staging a major sit-in at India’s Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology. About 150 teachers participated in a demonstration against the government’s proposed implementation of biometric attendance tracking. According to the Business Standard, the Guru Jambheshwar University Teachers Association (GJUTA) has called the state’s measure “anti-academic and anti-teacher,” while GJUTA President Dr. Anil Kumar…

Education Month: The Roundup

Education Month: The Roundup

August is quickly coming to a close and with it goes Education Month at FindBiometrics, a four week event in which we placed a special focus on biometrics in schools. In our featured articles section we examined the overall education sector based on recent news, delved into the controversy that can plague implementations of student…

FBI Goes On Record re: NGI Facial Recognition

FBI Goes On Record re: NGI Facial Recognition

The FBI is taking measures to mitigate potential backlash from citizens over its use of facial recognition technology. In a letter to the New York Times, FBI Science and Technology Branch’s executive assistant director Amy Hess clarifies how the Bureau’s Next Generation Identification system works, and why it is not the surveillance apparatus that some may…

Civil Rights Group Investigating Police Use of Biometric ID

Civil Rights Group Investigating Police Use of Biometric ID

A civil rights advocacy group is putting a spotlight on police use of biometric technology. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s main line of inquiry revolves around public records requests, mostly with respect to the San Diego Police Department. In a blog post, EFF researcher Dave Maass explains that recent media stories about police using biometric recognition…

Education Month: The Kids Are Alright

Education Month: The Kids Are Alright

Controversy In The Classroom Few debates over biometrics get as heated as those that happen in the realm of education, and for good reason: children are the future after all, and they are the one of the only demographics that relies on other people to make consensual decisions on their behalf, which places a lot…

News Roundup: Education, Facial Recognition, Innovation

News Roundup: Education, Facial Recognition, Innovation

Last week at FindBiometrics we began our featured look at biometrics in education while facial recognition was the modality that made the most headlines. That was partially thanks to some continued industry controversy, which we covered as consumer and government applications rounded out the news. Education and Identity August marks the start of back to…

Facbook Brings Biometrics Lawsuits To California

Facbook Brings Biometrics Lawsuits To California

Facebook has maneuvered its legal conflicts over biometric data collection onto its home turf. This week the three class action lawsuits over its face tagging features were transferred from Illinois to California. The lawsuits were filed over alleged privacy violations stemming from Facebook’s collection of facial biometric data for use in its photo tagging features,…

Police Scotland Investigated Over Use of Facial Recognition

Police Scotland Investigated Over Use of Facial Recognition

Police Scotland is coming under intense scrutiny for its use of facial recognition technology. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has tasked the HM Inspector of Constabulary to investigate the police service’s use of the biometric technology to determine whether it has broken the law and violated civil liberties. The development follows Police Scotland’s recent admission to…

Education Month: The Primer

Education Month: The Primer

It’s August, and in North America that means it’s back to school season, which for some students includes the daily use of biometric technology. Education is a huge area of application for biometrics all around the world. From attendance tracking for both teachers and students, to access control, to meal cards, strong authentication can serve…

Shutterfly Seeks Dismissal for Privacy Case

Shutterfly Seeks Dismissal for Privacy Case

A major biometrics lawsuit could soon be thrown out, if a federal judge in Illinois accepts Shutterfly’s argument. The online photo-sharing company is asking that the suit be dismissed as its collection of biometric data clearly does not violate state law. Of course, the judge could disagree. Illinois law essentially requires companies to obtain written…

GAO Report Raises Concerns About Facial Recognition

GAO Report Raises Concerns About Facial Recognition

America’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report urging the federal government to investigate privacy issues relating to the use of facial recognition technology. Announced by Senator Al Franken, who has long expressed concern about this technology, the report notes in a synopsis that “the current privacy framework in commercial settings warrants reconsideration.”…

Facebook Privacy Issues Are Part of Larger Trend

Facebook Privacy Issues Are Part of Larger Trend

Privacy advocates continue to sound warnings about Facebook’s collection of biometric data. The concerns have mostly been brought about by the social media company’s use of facial recognition technology on users. Speaking to Bloomberg, an attorney with privacy rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation pointed to the company’s lack of transparency about the practice as the key…

San Diego School District Cancels Biometric Login System

San Diego School District Cancels Biometric Login System

An initiative to have some students in San Diego schools log in to their school-issued iPads via facial recognition has been unceremoniously canceled. The Encinitas Union School District terminated the contract in late June. Initially, the idea was to have a single, easy-to-use authentication process for students using the iPads, since there had been issues…

OPM Data Breach Saw 1.1 Million Fingerprints Stolen

OPM Data Breach Saw 1.1 Million Fingerprints Stolen

Officials investigating the hacking of US Office of Personnel Management databases have concluded that the data stolen affects 21.5 million people. All victims’ Social Security numbers were stolen, and the fingerprint data of 1.1 million victims was also taken. It’s a security breach that mostly affects government workers, with 19.7 million affected individuals having had their…

Invisible Biometrics Month: Marketing Matters

Invisible Biometrics Month: Marketing Matters

One of the frontiers of invisible biometrics is the marketing space. Contextual information on key demographics is incredibly valuable in a connected world that is increasingly being filled with niches. Meanwhile, getting a new product in front of a target consumer is becoming increasingly difficult with subscription services like Netflix decimating the audience of broadcast…

Some Biometric Data Degraded, None Lost: Comelec

Some Biometric Data Degraded, None Lost: Comelec

The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (or ‘Comelec’) has clarified a false alarm about issues with its collection of voters’ biometric data. While there had been reports that Comelec had “lost” some of the data, agency spokesperson James Jimenez has now made clear that no data had been lost, but a small amount had been degraded.…

Australian Academic Calls for Restriction of Online Biometrics

Australian Academic Calls for Restriction of Online Biometrics

An Australian academic specializing in telecommunications law has authored a new paper arguing for stricter privacy controls online with respect to the use of facial recognition technology. In an article published in the International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Niloufer Selvadurai suggests that a lack of laws regulating the use of this technology represents a…

Facebook Keeps New Facial Recognition App Out of Europe

Facebook Keeps New Facial Recognition App Out of Europe

Facebook is keeping its new Moments app out of Europe due to legality concerns. The issues revolve around the app’s use of facial recognition technology, which could breach privacy regulations in the region. Using the DeepFace biometrics technology originally developed by face.com (which was acquired by Facebook a couple of years ago), Moments scans the…

Settlement Reached Over AuthenTec Insider Trading

Settlement Reached Over AuthenTec Insider Trading

A Swiss man has settled up with America’s Securities and Exchange Commission over alleged insider trading of stocks for AuthenTec, a fingerprint biometrics company purchased by Apple back in 2012. The allegation is that Helmut Anscheringer got a tip from a friend related to an executive at AuthenTec that the company was about to be…

Privacy Concerns Derail Biometrics Standards Group

Privacy Concerns Derail Biometrics Standards Group

A cross-industry working group tasked with developing a code of conduct for retailers and marketers interested in using facial recognition technology is breaking down over privacy concerns. The group was led by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications & Information Association, and brought together not only marketers and merchants but also privacy advocates to try…

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