Friday, 29 July 2011

Forget the indelible ink, the time for the fingerprint biometric system has come

biometric authentication

Electronic identification of an individual on the basis of his or her unique biological or physiological characteristics (together called Biometric Signature) such as facial features, fingerprints, hand geometry, retinal patterns, voiceprint.

What are Biometrics?
Biometrics are automated methods of identifying a person or verifying the identity of a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Examples of physiological characteristics include hand or finger images, facial characteristics, and iris recognition. Behavioral characteristics are traits that are learned or acquired. Dynamic signature verification, speaker verification, and keystroke dynamics are examples of behavioral characteristics.

Types of Biometrics
Fingerprints: The patterns of friction ridges and valleys on an individual's fingertips are unique to that individual. For decades, law enforcement has been classifying and determining identity by matching key points of ridge endings and bifurcations. Fingerprints are unique for each finger of a person including identical twins. One of the most commercially available biometric technologies, fingerprint recognition devices for desktop and laptop access are now widely available from many different vendors at a low cost. With these devices, users no longer need to type passwords – instead, only a touch provides instant access. Fingerprint systems can also be used in identification mode. Several states check fingerprints for new applicants to social services benefits to ensure recipients do not fraudulently obtain benefits under fake names. New York State has over 900,000 people enrolled in such a system.

Iris Recognition: This recognition method uses the iris of the eye which is the colored area that surrounds the pupil. Iris patterns are thought unique. The iris patterns are obtained through a video-based image acquisition system. Iris scanning devices have been used in personal authentication applications for several years. Systems based on iris recognition have substantially decreased in price and this trend is expected to continue. The technology works well in both verification and identification modes (in systems performing one-to-many searches in a database). Current systems can be used even in the presence of eyeglasses and contact lenses. The technology is not intrusive. It does not require physical contact with a scanner. Iris recognition has been demonstrated to work with individuals from different ethnic groups and nationalities. Please read more here Biometric Authentication Technology: From the Movies to Your Desktop

Interesting Reads:

Surhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia (SPRM) as part of their effort to achieve free and fair election will be introducing the biometric system based on MyKad fingerprint authenthication much like the existing ID/fingerprint authentication system when we do our banking transaction nowadays. Personally I believed it is a good idea and will stop some elections hanky panky like phantom voters especially.

Biometrics certainly beat the indelible ink suggested by Ambiga "Bersih2" Originally conceived as a check against phantom voters, it may be used as a tool for cheating. It is applied to the voters’ relevant finger before he/she goes to the polling area so that he will not be allowed to vote.

KUCHING: Phantom voters will no longer ‘exist’ in electoral lists once the biometric system is used to verify registered voters’ identity, said Election Commission (SPR) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

“Over the years, SPR has been receiving allegations and accusations on the existence of phantom voters and it has never stopped.

“In fact there is no end to this. This system will demolish its existence,” he told a press conference after chairing a briefing on the biometric system, postmortem on the recently-concluded state election and SPR’s monthly meeting yesterday.

He added that the system was not a new invention as it was presently used by the Home Ministry, National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) Immigrations and Police.

Abdul Aziz also pointed out to claims that some voters voted more than once and allegations of the existence of dead voters’ names in the electoral roll.

Saying that SPR had tried to use indelible ink, Abdul Aziz said the move had to be shelved as the system unfortunately could not accurately determine the identity of voters.

“For SPR, we just want to see the documents, whether the bearer of the identification card (IC) is genuine, carried by the owner and not forged. Voters also cannot carry other voters’ IC and register for that matter. By this way voters cannot cheat the system,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said the system would be a standalone, whereby it would not be connected to online networking to prevent it from being sabotaged.

“The system will have no networking and stand alone. It would be very expensive to make it online as well.”

He said the introduction of the system was part of an effort mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to seek the best possible way for a fair and just election process in the country.

He added that the system was on its final phase and more trial tests and demos would be conducted to ensure its smoothness.

However, Abdul Aziz said it needed to be further enhanced before it could be used for the coming general elections, indicating a mock election would be conducted soon to test its efficiency.

To a question, he said SPR welcomed queries from individuals, groups or political parties who want to know more about the system, adding it had a fruitful meeting with Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) leaders recently.

“They (PAS) are fully supporting the idea and soon more political parties will come and discuss with us,” he said.

The cost of the system has yet to be determined.

State SPR chairman Takun Sunggah was among those present during the press conference.

I am all for the voter biometric identification system using the MyKad as template base. It is almost foolproof and is a giant leap towards a free and fair election, one man one vote system.

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