$340 million allocated for Aadhaar expansion in Indian budget

According to a recent press report, after an extensive review, India’s new national government has decided to retain and expand Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric database. The Aadhaar program, governed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), is currently used to authenticate delivery of social services including school attendance, natural gas subsidies to India’s rural poor, and direct wage payments to bank accounts. The system, a landmark legacy project of India’s long ruling Congress Party, also provides identification to

Indian election to impact Aadhaar

The historic win of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent national election might result in changes to Aadhaar, the world’s biggest biometrics bank. The Aadhaar program, governed by the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), aims to enroll all of the country’s residents through biometrics, in order to distribute 12-digit identity cards for access to social programs. So far, the program has combined enrollment of approximately 850 million people, with 630 million Aadhaar numbers generated. The

Leaks show security flaws in Israeli biometric database project

Documents mistakenly leaked by the Israeli Ministry of Justice show a significant security flaw in the biometric database system set to be deployed in the coming weeks. Reported in Haaretz.com, the leaked documents show emails and correspondence for the database project, which indicate that security breaches are possible. Included in the leaked documents is a letter from the acting head of the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority, in which she says that she couldn’t be sure the system was

EFF sues FBI for facial recognition records related to NGI program

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the FBI over access to its facial recognition records, based on three FOIA requests the group made a year ago. Acording to a statement on the group’s website, since early 2011, EFF has been closely following the FBI’s work to build out its Next Generation Identification (NGI) database, which is set to replace and expand upon the existing integrated automated fingerprint identification system.  The face recognition component of the NGI database is set to launch in

Israel’s biometric database pilot to begin in two weeks

After much ado, Israel’s biometric database pilot will begin in two weeks. According to Haaretz.com, comments confirming this came from Deputy Interior Minster Fania Kirshenbaum earlier this week. Specifically, the database project was slated to begin in November 2011, though lengthy legislative proceedings, an appeal to the high court of justice, as well as a labor dispute have prolonged this process. The labor was resolved two weeks ago, and now database implementation is set to begin. As we reported previously,

U.S. Army looks to move biometrics to the cloud

The U.S. Army’s Intelligence Command has awarded a sole-source contract to bring data to the cloud, and a part of that project includes biometric data. Reported first in Wired, according to a description of the contract, the project “involves the Entity management and tracking system for Biometrics/Human Terrain Facial recognition capability (photos, video) and edge-to-Cloud Enterprise Messaging (Corps/Division Node to/from Handheld.)” Considering the sensitivity of biometric data, cloud storage is murky waters for the industry, as there are many people who

Lockheed Martin announces NGI Increment 3 deployment, includes National Palm Print System

Increment 3 of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification was recently deployed by a Lockheed Martin-led team, and the group says this new increment provides significant improvement in latent fingerprint search accuracy as well as a new nationwide palm print identification system to help solve cold cases. The improvements are the largest so far in a series of phased upgrades to the FBI’s biometric identification services, and incorporate powerful matching algorithms developed by Morpho and supplied by its U.S subsidiary, MorphoTrak.

Could U.S. immigration reform include a national biometric database?

Reports are emerging today regarding the possibility of a national biometric database of U.S. adults, following references to a “photo tool” administered by the Department of Homeland Security in immigration reform measures currently in front of the U.S. Senate. According to a report in Wired published this morning, buried in the legislation – called Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act – is “language mandating the creation of an innocuously-named ‘photo tool,’ a massive federal database administered by the

UN Approves funding to support anti-piracy efforts in Somalia, includes biometrics

The United Nations Trust Fund for the Fight against Piracy has recently approved a package of projects in support of anti-piracy efforts in Somalia and other affected States in the region. The new projects, among other aspects, include a system of biometric identification to support and monitor fisheries resources. “The dramatic decline in pirate attacks is clear evidence of years of hard work by United Nations Member States, international and regional organizations, and actors in the shipping industry,” the United Nations

EPIC files FOIA lawsuit against FBI for details on biometric database

Public interest research group, The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the FBI to obtain documents about the agency’s Next Generation Identification database. The database in question contains biometric identifiers, and is intended to provide an incremental replacement of the FBI’s current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) technical capabilities. According to the FBI’s website, the contract to create this system was awarded to Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions.  According to EPIC’s complaint, the