May 17, 2013
There is much conflicting information being bandied about regarding the immigration reform bill (.744, the ‘Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act’)
Let’s clear the fog.
Mark Lerner is the co-founder of The Constitutional Alliance, and the nation’s leading expert on biometrics and the Real ID Act. He will tell us exactly what is and isn’t in the bill and what it all means for us. Don’t miss this opportunity to get the straight truth about S.744!
Howard and I will also be discussing a variety of important topics and taking your calls.
Your photo in your state driver’s license or ID card IS a Biometric
Mark Lerner explains:
Biometric is defined as: Measurements of the body. There are both physiological and behavioral biometrics. For the sake of this document the focus will be on facial recognition and photographs.
There has been a great deal of conversation and equal amount of confusion about whether a photograph of an individual is a biometric. The answer is “yes”. Whether the photograph is an analog (old Polaroid photos) or a digital photograph, a photograph is a biometric. The question becomes why are digital facial images/photographs now used instead of the older analog photos that were used on driver’s licenses and other identification documents? The simple answer is the accuracy of the matching or comparison between one photograph and another is greatly increased when working with digital facial images.
One way to examine the question of whether a photograph is a biometric is by looking at photographs and fingerprints. It is widely accepted to the point of being undisputed, that a fingerprint is a biometric. Consider that when a person places a finger on a ink pad and then places that same finger on a piece of paper, the result is a fingerprint on the piece of paper. Now let’s look at a photograph. The photograph of a person’s face the equivalent of fingerprint, only the photograph is a representation of a person’s face instead of their finger tip.
Just as there are fingerprints that are not of sufficient quality to allow for computer automated comparisons, the same is true of photographs. It is for this reason that we see standards for the collection of both fingerprints and photographs. These “standards” are the minimum acceptable standards for the computer automated analysis/comparison.
The question of whether a photograph is in itself a biometric is especially important today because of the use of facial recognition software. Facial recognition (software) in its simplest terms is described as follows:
Facial recognition systems are computer-based security systems that are able to automatically detect and identify human faces. These systems depend on a recognition algorithm, such as eigenface or the hidden Markov model. The first step for a facial recognition system is to recognize a human face and extract it fro the rest of the scene. Next, the system measures nodal points on the face, such as the distance between the eyes, the shape of the cheekbones and other distinguishable features. These nodal points are then compared to the nodal points computed from a database of pictures in order to find a match. Obviously, such a system is limited based on the angle of the face captured and the lighting conditions present. New technologies are currently in development to create three-dimensional models of a person’s face based on a digital photograph in order to create more nodal points for comparison. However, such technology is inherently susceptible to error given that the computer is extrapolating a three-dimensional model from a two-dimensional photograph. http://epic.org/privacy/facerecognition/
Today in the United States and in other countries there has been a great deal of discussion about “facial recognition” in particular and more generally “surveillance”.
It is not widely known that all states in the United States are “capturing” a digital facial image/photograph that is facial recognition compatible. Real ID compliant and non-Real ID compliant states use the same standard for the digital facial image/photograph capture. Every state works with AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators). AAMVA has adopted the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standard that is required by the Real ID Act (page 68, footnote 17, Notice of Proposed Rule Making, Real ID Act 2005). In addition, the vendors who have been awarded state driver’s license contracts have adopted the same standard as called for in the Real ID Act 2005.
The following is the wording that articulates the standard for AAMVA, the vendors who have been awarded state driver’s license contracts and the Real ID Act 2005. This wording is taken from page 68, footnote 17 of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Real ID Act 2005.
“The relevant ICAO standard is ICAO 9303 Part 1 Vol. 2, specifically ISO/IEC 19794-5 – Information technology -Biometric data interchange formats – Part 5: Face image data, which is incorporated into ICAO 9303.”
In conclusion, there should no longer be a question in anyone’s mind that the photographs of a person’s face which are contained in every respective state Department of Motor Vehicle photo database is a biometric.