FB pixel

OBIM’s Futures Identity team looks at needs for tomorrow and three decades ahead

Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
OBIM’s Futures Identity team looks at needs for tomorrow and three decades ahead

Dr. Alicia Locker is an academic engagement specialist with the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM)’s Futures Identity Team at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In a recent European Association of Biometrics (EAB) members lunch talk, she explained what OBIM does, and what its current future identity initiatives are trained on in working towards its mission to provide DHS and partners with biometric identity services that enable national security and public safety decision making.

Effectively, OBIM provides biometric matching, sharing and analysis for various components of DHS, including national security priorities and service to immigration. It is the largest biometric capability in the U.S. government, comprising two streams. The Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) is its well-known searchable biometric repository, which contains more than 300 million biometric fingerprint identities, one billion enrolled face images, and 9 million pairs of iris biometrics. The smaller Biometric Support Center (BSC) offers identification and verification services on-demand, 24-7. OBIM also works with friendly foreign governments in Canada, the UK, Australia and elsewhere.

The Futures Identity (FI) team, says Locker, is tasked with positioning OBIM for the future through innovation, capability advancement, strategic engagement and analysis, and architectures and standards.

“OBIM FI spans the full technology readiness level spectrum in the work that we do,” says Locker. “We can do different research, we can examine different studies. We also work with proof of concepts and prototypes for different capabilities. And we do all of this because we have a pretty large remit, which is to think about what is needed tomorrow, all the way to about 30 years from now.”

Four priority waves for now, more on the horizon

Using the metaphor of waves rocking a boat, Locker says FI has focused on four waves in the near-term: an IDENT Exchange Messaging (IXM) conformance tool, a multimodal biometric fusion algorithm, a person-centric identity concept, and OBIM Mobile.

The multimodal biometric fusion algorithm is intended to enhance authentication and identification confidence and to reduce overall transaction time and cost by using different modalities together. “Our hope was we would fuse together different modalities to help improve matching accuracy results, send fewer travelers to secondary screening, and identify more criminals in the U.S. by improving match scores with these different modalities.” She calls it a vendor-agnostic, scalable and extensible micro-service.

Person-centric identity (PCI) is a search tool based on the idea that individuals are the focus of where data is stored. OBIM Mobile is an IXM conformant mobile biometric collection system based on technology developed by the Department of Defense.

FI is about futures, however, and Locker says her team has its sights set on three additional long-term concerns in biometrics: new technologies and advancements, human or behavioral factors in biometric data collection, and how to safeguard the IDENT biometric repository against advancing threats. New tech includes contactless fingerprint capture tools and craniofacial structural progression analysis that looks at how faces change in childhood or adolescence, while the behavioral angle explores improved training methods for human biometric examiners. When it comes to countering emerging threats, FI is working with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab on PAD tech, and also engaging with international government and biometrics organizations to align on goals and principles.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


Biometrics cutting the line of in-person payments innovations: Mastercard

Mastercard sees biometrics for in-store payments as a part of a broader shift towards seamless interactions of all kinds, as…


New South Wales’ government is investing millions in digital identity

New South Wales’ decentralized digital identity program is getting a cash infusion from the Premier Chris Minns’ government, which has…


Innovatrics cuts fingerprint error rate by 20%, upgrades SmartFace platform

Innovatrics has reported its best-yet scores in NIST’s fingerprint biometrics testing, and added a new feature to its facial recognition…


Canadian cruise terminal gets Pangiam face biometrics for ID verification

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have joined forces to implement face biometrics for…


Atlantic Council stresses importance of DPI, data for stronger digital economies

The Atlantic Council has highlighted the importance of digital identity and digital public infrastructure (DPI) in birthing and growing strong,…


Sri Lanka extends bid deadline for national digital ID project

The Government of Sri Lanka has extended the deadline for the submission of bids for the procurement of a Master…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events