Archives For Security

Picture: Ben Mortimer

Picture: Ben Mortimer

The technology of ‘Minority Report‘ is closer than you think, according to Russell Brandom writing in www.theverge.com.  A company called AOptix recently unveiled its latest creation, pitched as a game-changer in the world of iris recognition. In less grandiose terms, it’s basically an iPhone case for cops, providing military-grade biometric scanning on the move. The AOptix shell is built to provide everything an officer needs to process a suspect on the spot. There’s a fingerprint scanner on the back, the capacity for facial recognition, and the new guest at the party: an iris scanner. The camera’s a little tricky — you have to hold it a little less than a foot away, and keep it steady for a few seconds — but otherwise, using the Stratus is like taking pictures with a heavier, clunkier iPhone. Crucially, it’s small enough to hold with just one hand, so the officer using it can still reach for his gun.

The Stratus has only been on the market a few weeks, but AOptix is already pitching it for use at border crossings and in airport security. The US Department of Defense is interested too, and provided a $3 million grant for AOptix to develop the tech further. Once it’s normalized, scanning your iris could become as routine as swiping a credit card. “We really feel it’s going to be an inflection point in the biometrics industry,” AOptix marketing director Joey Pritikin told The Verge. “We can do business, we can conduct health care, we can go to disaster areas. This will really open up new markets.” After years of lurking in the margins, AOptix thinks iris scanning is ready for the big time.

Outside of the West, it’s already there. Hundreds of millions of Indians have already been iris-printed, along with thousands of Iraqi civilians and anyone who goes through customs regularly in Dubai. It’s the gold standard of a modern ID program, easier than fingerprinting and more stable than facial recognition. All you have to do is look at the camera and open your eyes. And unlike in retinal scans, the scanner doesn’t need to be up close. It’s just a photograph, taken in infrared, which in theory could work if taken from across the room.

If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you saw something like it in Minority Report, where omnipresent eye-flashers identify everyone who walks through a public plaza, targeting ads at them and feeding the police information about their every move. Even Pritikin acknowledges the precedent, saying, “Tom Cruise did not do us any favors.” But within the industry, the product is less exotic, just the latest and best solution to the persistent problem of quick, reliable identification. What does the world look like when proving ID is as easy as taking a photograph? Like it or not, we’re about to find out.

Iris Scanner (Picture: Ben Mortimer)

Iris Scanner (Picture: Ben Mortimer)

If you find yourself flying into Dubai, you can see it in action. The city’s airport recently made the switch to an automated two-gate customs system, also made by AOptix. Scanning your passport opens the first gate; an iris print opens the second. Once the system is fully deployed, the company says it will bring wait times down from 49 minutes to 22 seconds. A private company called Clear is already trying this on an opt-in basis in the US. In exchange for a quick iris scan, their service will let you skip security in half a dozen American airports.

The bargain is simple enough: In exchange for one more biometric, you get to skip an hour in customs, or the indignity of a TSA checkpoint search. And as an ID technology, it simply works better. It’s less invasive, harder to fake (although still possible), and more effective at everything we want ID tech to be good at. Of course, that same effectiveness makes a Minority Report future all the more plausible.

For countries with national ID programs, this Orwellian scenario is already starting to play out. In collaboration with MorphoTrust, India has already iris-printed 350 million of its citizens as part of its national ID program, and they’re on track to scan all 1.2 billion. This year, Mexico will roll out the first iris-matched ID cards in the world as part of a $25 million program. In both cases, the ID will help stop fraud and provide poverty assistance, helping solve half a dozen urgent humanitarian issues at once. Despite these good intentions, this kind of mass identification has civil libertarians very worried.

“The concern is that biometrics will be used for the mass tracking of individuals,” according to Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union. “If that kind of ID system becomes routine and widespread, it turns us into a kind of checkpoint society.” Even in India, the system is still only used at police stations and government offices, but once the print is connected to a universal ID, it’s easy to imagine iris scans becoming as commonplace as pulling out a driver’s license.

For now, we’re left with less invasive devices like the Stratus, an iris camera aimed squarely at US law enforcement. The FBI is already building an iris system to track persons of interest, and it’s not hard to see them using a Stratus-like device to collect prints. Iris cameras haven’t landed in the hands of beat cops yet, but AOptix is trying its best to get them there. The path of the technology, from the military to local law enforcement, is almost complete. The only question is what it will look like when it gets here. Source: http://www.theverge.com

 

Advertisements
High security bolt seal on Shipping_container.

High security bolt seal on Shipping container. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The International Seal Manufacturers Association has informed that ISO is conducting an up-or-down ballot on an important revision to ISO17712. The revision addresses the difficulties with implementing Clause 6 of ISO 17712:2000.

The essence of the revision is –

  • The revision removes the requirement for independent lab testing for tamper evidence.
  • The revision adds a mandatory requirement for development and approval of tamper evident improvement programs. The programs must pass independent audits in accordance with ISO 9001 and ISO 17712 Normative Annex A, “Seal manufacturers’ security-related practices.” Audits would review the results of any internal testing related to tamper-evident features.

The mandatory requirement applies to high security “H” seals, which are most relevant to marine containers. Indicative “I” and Security “S” seal participation is optional in this proposed amendment.

The ballot is for ISO FDIS 17712; a FDIS is a Final Draft International Standard. Ballots are cast by national standards bodies such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the British Standards Institute (BSI), “one nation, one vote”. Each national body determines its vote by its own procedures, usually based on a poll of its members. Since the ballot closes 23 December, we expect the results to be known early in January. 

DebTech is the technology business unit of De Beers, one of the top ranking diamond mining companies in the world. DebTech specialises in the development, manufacture, supply and worldwide support of innovative products and services for applications in diamond exploration, sorting and security.

The Scannex full body, low dose, X-ray scanning system was developed during the early 1990s for the primary purpose of deterring the theft of diamonds by diamond mine employees. The Scannex unit has application in many areas where contraband detection is required, such as airports, international sports events, prisons, border control and other high security installations.

The system produces high resolution and high contrast full body X-ray images of personnel. A single scan takes approximately ten seconds and the person being scanned remains stationary and is protected from the moving parts of the machine. The X-ray level required per scan is equivalent to that experienced on a two hour international flight. This allows an individual to be scanned up to 200 times per year and still not exceed the US Department of Health recommended safe limit for public exposure. The images are displayed on digital monitors and trained image analysts are able to identify items of a nonanatomical nature that may be concealed on or within the body.

To assist in the identification of foreign objects, human anatomical features are de-emphasized in the displayed images. This has the additional advantage of protecting the dignity of the individual being scanned. The display software comes standard with several image enhancement functions to further assist identification of suspect items. The display system is designed such that the viewing monitors can be located remotely from the scanning booth. This not only contributes to the protection of the scanned subject’s privacy but also decreases the opportunity for collusion between the scanned subject,the scanner operator and the image analyst. Up to four monitors may be connected to a single scanner to increase the rate of people being scanned. At the De Beers Namibian operations up to 90 scans per hour have been regularly achieved through one unit.

The Scannex system is optimised to differentiate diamond,a material with relatively low X-ray absorption properties, from human anatomical features. This also enables the system to indicate the presence of other materials with similar low X-ray absorption properties, such as explosives, drugs, plastic fluid containers and syringes. Metallic items, including knives, guns and detonator wire are very prominent in the full body images by virtue of their significantly higher X-ray absorption properties.

For counter terror and border control applications that do not require the high performance characteristics of the original Scannex unit, DebTech is currently developing a smaller footprintand lower capital cost addition to the Scannex range. This is planned to be available late 2012. For the full report click here! Sources: Port Technology International and debtech.com

The following article is very pertinent to any organisation or group considering cloud computing. Soft-marketing tends to delude would-be users into believing they will have full control over their data, and as such, is fully secure. Even in the international Customs and Border Management space there is lots of talk on this subject, yet very little substance. Unfortunately, organisations and individuals are slaves to the technology they use which fashions not only their work ethic but attitudes as well. It is no longer true that technology is a ‘tool’. More time and money is spent these days on technology choice than on training and education. In fact technology is so important it influences law-making and business operations, rendering human discretion obsolete in many instances. Therefore it is imperative that organisations involve business and legal experts in their systems development. 

The recent spate of hackings and electronic security breaches serves to highlight the endemic threat and associated cost of cyber crime. Globally, organisations are forced to reconsider their cyber security measures as cyber criminals become more audacious and technologically innovative. Crimes can take place in both the physical and the electronic medium, with the possibility of technology infrastructure being used as both a “subject” and an “object” of a crime.

The criminal justice system faces a number of challenges in the successful prosecution of cyber crimes. While the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002 does create a framework for criminalising cyber crimes, including hacking, it does not provide any concrete preventative measures to combat cyber crime. The technical and often remote nature of cyber crimes, including multi-jurisdictional issues where cyber criminals are operating abroad, often prevents prosecutors from being able to present viable cases and bring cyber criminals to book.

Fortunately, the South African government has acknowledged that more proactive measures are required to address the scourge of cyber crime. Cabinet has recently approved a National Cyber Security Policy published by the Department of Communication. The policy creates, among other things, a platform for the creation of a number of structures that would be responsible for analysing and responding to the threat of cyber crime with the ultimate objective of mitigating the effects of cyber crime in South Africa. The State Security Agency has been tasked with responsibility and accountability for the implementation of cyber security measures. It is hoped that this policy and the measures it intends to implement results in the prevalence of cyber crime in South Africa being effectively addressed and countered. Organisations should, in addition to any measures being taken by government, continue to carefully assess their cyber security measures proactively, including by implementing robust systems, particularly in instances where personal data is processed (which includes the collection, recording, transferring or storing of such personal information). The Protection of Personal Information Bill requires the implementation of “appropriate” security safeguards where an individual’s personal information is processed. What will be considered appropriate will need to be determined on a case by case basis and with reference to steps taken in foreign jurisdictions, which may provide guidance in interpreting this requirement.

On account of the fact that there is no way to precisely document the far reaching effects of cyber crime, individuals, organisations and government must ensure that a more cautious and prudent approach is adopted to manage security in any electronic environment. Source: SAPA

Smartag Solutions, a homegrown total radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions provider, will handle 1.3 million containers at all Royal Malaysian Customs (JDKM) checkpoints in Malaysia starting June.The company has entered into a two-year agreement with the government to implement and operate the Container Security and Trade Facilitation System using its RFID solutions at the JDKM checkpoints.

This is the first electronic and electrical Entry Point Project, under the 12 National Key Economic Areas to monitor containers and facilitate clearance within domestic ports and selected high volume routes. The enhancement of container security using the RFID track and trace system reduces the risk of terrorism, dangerous chemicals and contraband from reaching borders while increasing the efficiency of container movement through Customs checkpoints.

The system allows users to use the RFID seal to secure their containers when entering, leaving and moving within the country. Smartag Solutions is expected to handle 50 per cent of the total transactions at the Customs approved by JDKM, or 500,000 containers. Source: BTimes.com

Related articles