China expands biometric collection program in Xinjiang

Authorities in China’s Xinjiang region are gathering DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans and blood types from all residents between ages 12 and 65, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports. Some of the data is being collected under a program “Physicals for All,” which provides free annual medical examinations. Biometric data is also being collecting from those considered a threat to stability, known as “focus personnel,” and their families, regardless of their age. Previously, all passport applicants in the region have been

Researchers develop fast new DNA identification technology

A new method of identifying people based on their DNA has been developed by researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center, which could lead to inexpensive real-time DNA authentication. The findings were announced by Columbia, and are detailed in the journal eLife. The new software is designed for use with a MinION, a credit card-sized device which captures DNA strands with microscopic pores and reads nucleotide sequences, and is typically used to study bacteria and viruses. Its

DNA analysis techniques could dramatically improve facial recognition accuracy

The techniques of genomic analysis could be applied to facial recognition to substantially increase accuracy, according to an article by Associate Professor of Pattern Recognition at Kingston University Jean-Christophe Nebel in The Conversation. Nebel sights the use of facial recognition by UK police at the Notting Hill Carnival in August, which resulted in approximately 35 false matches and one “erroneous” arrest, as typical of the accuracy limitations of current facial recognition technology when dealing with “real-life situations.” The effectiveness of

Independent organization to investigate Scottish police’s use of biometric data

A new independent group will begin investigating the Scottish police’s use of acquiring and storing of citizens’ biometric data, including mugshots, fingerprints and DNA samples, according to a report by The Herald. The move comes a couple months after reports that Scottish police began considering implementing new technology that could compare fingerprints left at murder scenes against a national biometrics database using a mobile phone. The group will be headed by John Scott QC, whose previous work led to Police

RCMP currently examining use of DNA familial searching

According to a recent article in the Ottawa Sun, using family-member DNA searches could help solve Canadian cold cases. With the advent of highly detailed and accessible genetic databases, police forces can now search for DNA samples that are extremely similar, but which are not identical, to identity an unknown perpetrator. Utilizing this technique, law enforcement officials can attempt to analyze “familial matches” in DNA databases, in order to seek out other family members who are the real suspects of

Scientists working on using DNA for computers

Scientists at Brock University believe that DNA will eventually be used to enhance the memory capacity of computers. DNA can generate binary codes just like computers do, and do not require electricity or materials such as silicon, aluminum and cobalt to do so. As a result, scientists at Brock have been examining ways that DNA can utilized to enhance computing capacity. In fact, chemist Feng Li, graduate student Xiaolong Yang, postdoctoral fellow Yanan Tang and undergraduate student Sarah Traynor have

Home Office to fund UK police’s joint forensics and biometrics program

The UK’s Home Office announced it will provide more than £26 million in additional police transformation funding in support of 28 projects or technology plans over the next three years, including a joint forensics and biometrics program, as well as a national data analytics focus, according to a report by Government Computing. The funding, which was allotted in the 2015 Spending Review to help boost law enforcement technology use, will help the projects gain stronger traction for a more collaborative

U.S. Army Special Operations Command seeking new biometric technology

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM) ( has posted a request for information (RFT) to evaluate selected exploitation technologies from March 27 to 31 at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, according to a report by Sofrep. In a November 7 Federal Register notice, SOCOM invited industry, academia, individuals, and government labs to submit technology nominations for which SOCOM will provide input. The event is designed to improve collaboration between SOCOM and technology providers as well as to identify technologies that

UK wants access to biometrics data stored in EU security databases post-Brexit

A senior counter-terrorism officer said that Britain’s access to data in Europe-wide security databases, following the Brexit vote, is “mission critical” in regards to protecting the public, according to a report by Belfast Telegraph. Helen Ball, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, brought up the issue of returning Islamic State fighters in her discussion about law enforcement arrangements with the EU post-Brexit. The future of several tools and arrangements is in jeopardy following the Brexit referendum vote, including the

PAE awarded $66M forensics and biometrics contract from U.S. Navy

PAE has been awarded the Naval Expeditionary Forensics and Biometrics (NEFB) task order by the U.S. Navy under its SeaPort-e IDIQ. The task order is for a four-year duration and has a total value of about $66 million if all options are exercised. Under the contract, PAE will provide the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division with CONUS, OCONUS and shipboard services to support the Weapons Control and Integration Department’s forensics and biometrics requirements. The company will provide a wide