Speed Read

Facial Recognition: Now Algorithms Can See Through Face Masks (ZD Net, Jan 06, 2021)
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is piloting facial recognition technologies that can see through face masks with a "promising" level of accuracy, meaning that travelers could end up breezing through airports without the need to uncover their mouths and noses at border checks. The trials were organized as part of a yearly biometric technology rally, organized by the Science and Technology Directorate, which is the research and development unit within the DHS. Every year since 2018, the rally brings together experts, technology vendors and volunteers to test top-notch biometric systems, and make sure that they are up to the challenges posed by the use of facial recognition technology in a variety of scenarios.

Facial Recognition And Beyond: Journalist Ventures Inside China’s ‘Surveillance State’ (WAMU, Jan 06, 2021)
Security cameras and facial recognition technology are on the rise in China. In 2018, People’s Daily, the media mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, claimed on English-language Twitter that the country’s facial recognition system was capable of scanning the faces of China’s 1.4 billion citizens in just one second. German journalist Kai Strittmatter speaks fluent Mandarin and has studied China for more than 30 years. He says it’s not clear whether or not the Chinese government is capable of using facial recognition software in the way it claims. But he adds, on a certain level, the veracity of the claim isn’t important. “It doesn’t even matter whether it’s true or not, as long as people believe it,” he says. “What the Communist Party is doing with all this high-tech surveillance technology now is they’re trying to internalize control. … Once you believe it’s true, it’s like you don’t even need the policemen at the corner anymore, because you’re becoming your own policeman.”

The Government Wants To Scan Your Face When You Enter The US. It Hasn’t Gone Well So Far. (Mother Jones, Jan 06, 2021)
Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters. In 2018, the federal government started scanning people’s faces as they drove into and out of the country at the Anzalduas International Bridge, which connects the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Mexico. Customs and Border Protection said collecting these biometric images would enhance security and make identifying travelers more efficient. But less than a year later, a data breach compromised 100,000 facial images and 105,000 license plate images. Nineteen facial images from the breach were posted to the dark web.

New Facial-recognition Technology Can Accurately Identify Travelers Wearing Masks 96% Of The Time, According To A Test Run By The Department Of Homeland Security (Business Insider , Jan 06, 2021)
New facial-recognition algorithms can now identify airline passengers wearing face masks a majority of the time, the US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. At best, the new algorithms identified 96% of masked passengers, compared to almost 100% of unmasked passengers, according to results from the 2020 Biometric Rally, hosted at a DHS-affiliated testing laboratory. For people wearing face masks, the median accuracy was 77%, compared to a median 93% for unmasked participants. The worst rate was 4% for masked passengers and 11% for unmasked, the data shows.

DHS Conducts Tests That Show Facial Recognition Technologies Could Work With Masks (Homeland Prep News, Jan 06, 2021)
Tests conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) showed promising results that facial recognition technologies can accurately identify individuals wearing protective face masks. The tests were conducted as part of S&T’s 2020 Biometric Technology Rally, held this fall at the Maryland Test Facility. The findings could reduce the need for people to remove masks at airports or ports of entry. The tests were done on 582 diverse volunteers from 60 countries using 60 facial recognition configurations. Several different technologies and systems were tested, with performance varying greatly between systems. But overall, the results showed that without masks, median system performance demonstrated a 93 percent identification rate, with the best-performing system correctly identifying people 100 percent of the time.

How To Opt Out Of Facial Recognition At The Airport (CN Traveler , Jan 06, 2021)
Facial recognition technology is one of the fastest growing trends in airports across the world. Biometric scanning systems, which include fingerprint and retina scans as well as facial recognition, are only predicted to become more widespread in the wake of the pandemic as touchless interactions gain in popularity. Now, there are entire terminals in U.S. airports that offer a touchless experience, using passengers' facial scans to do everything from check in for a flight, drop off luggage, get through the security line, board a plane, and be processed by Customs and Immigration. All airlines and government agencies say that participation in facial recognition scans at domestic airports is optional for U.S. citizens. Visiting foreign nationals, on the other hand, are compelled to participate on both arrival and departure as part of Customs and Border Protection’s entry-exit program in place at 27 U.S. airports and counting. (The agency uses the facial scans to ensure that non-citizens have not overstayed their visas, and it stores their images, too.)

Member News & Views

US Department Of Justice Division Leverages BIO-key's PortalGuard Solution For Secure Authentication (BIO-key, Jan 06, 2021)
Today announced that a US Department of Justice division is using BIO-key's PortalGuard IAM solution for secure authentication and access to systems. BIO-key’s PortalGuard IAM solution provides strong multi-factor authentication while reducing user frustration and help desk related costs for customers. PortalGuard meets or exceeds the strictest authentication requirements and facilitates IT resource cost reduction goals. "Our team is extremely proud to support this vital national security program," said Mark Cochran, President of BIO-key - PortalGuard. "The BIO-key team has extensive experience supporting many of our national security and law enforcement agency customers which secure the nation from the many threats they face, both foreign and domestic. PortalGuard enables these government agencies to meet the challenges of an evolving threat landscape while securing their operations in a cost-effective manner."


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