Paranoia... or Precaution?
I cannot help but
be unnerved by the increasing
frequency with which news relating to assaults on privacy and civil liberties
is finding its way into my email inbox. This is far more than a
few privacy advocates railing on about the dangers of technology.
The revelations represent a genuine and significant
shift in prevailing wisdom in regards to how government and commercial
conduct themselves and the level of accountability (or non-accountability)
they are willing to accept.
For more than 20 years, I have been actively engaged in the
development of emerging technologies and the markets that
exploit them. As a technology advocate, I have always
believed that potential benefit or harm
is not inherent in the technology itself but rather it
its application. And while I have had reservations about
some of the applications of some of the technologies and products
I have helped bring to market; the benefits have
clearly and consistently
outweighed the potential danger or harm. I belevied that in the
end it was the best of the technology potential, not the
worst that would triumph and be adopted for mainstream use. Furthermore,
involvement by those who hold this perspective is in fact a crucial
component of making it so.
And while I remain a 'true believer" in the real benefits
that biometric can deliver, I must admit to being
increasingly concerned with motives and perspectives of
some of the individuals and organizations advocating this technology.
For the first time, I wonder about the capability
I am helping to create and if there is a dangerous road we may go down
from which there is no return.
Lest we fool ourselves, the creation of large-scale, broad-based
biomtrically enabled identity infrastructures have genuine and far
reaching privacy and civil liberties implications. The
"greater biometrics community" (of which I consider myself
a proud member) must assume some responsibility for the outcome as we
develop and promote biometrics.
As the mother of a bright and
year old, I like to use the Parent Rule. Simply stated:
How do I ensure that what I
work to create in this world increases my child's opportunity
for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
This is the benchmark I propose while
we busily advance the business of biometrics technology.
This edition of the eUpdate highlights
some of these grave issues as well as reviewing a few somewhat less gloomy
topics in the biometrics marketplace. These include reporting on
momentum building in the voice arena, a progress report on EURODC,
the starting gun for the UK ID card, as well as
developments for NFC which have interesting implications for biometrics,
and finally, some recent reflections on the current sate of the
biometrics market which are a precursor to a paper
entitled "The NEW State of Biometrics" that
Acuity will be publishing later in the last quarter of the year.
Oh, and for those that might not notice, I inserted the word
"critical" before "lens" in the tag line for the
eUpdate. It now reads "Your critical lens on the world of biometrically enabled identification
solutions". A little picayune perhaps, but given some of the feedback
I receive, a little more reflective of the content.
As always, your feedback is welcome.
And please feel free to forward your copy of the eUpdate
to colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.
C. Maxine Most
C. Maxine Most
Acuity Market Intelligence
Acuity Market Intelligence | 640 W Linden St | Louisville, C0 80027| USA
+1 303 449 1897     www.acuity-mi.com.com
The REPS Biometric Directory
The Definitive Resource Guide to Biometrics Industry Players
... shameless self promotion time...
In association with
REPS Consulting Services,
Acuity Market Intelligence is pleased to present
The REPS Biometrics Directory ... the only
interactive industry directory available
in the market today.
This online reference tool is built on a dynamic
searchable database that is continually updated to
provide accurate, reliable, and comprehensive
information on over 650 biometrics industry players worldwide.
An annual subscription provides unlimited access to
the interactive, online database.
Special introductory price of $59.95
for an annual subscription.
subscription pricing is $129.00 per year.
Multi-user and enterprise wide subscriptions are also available.
available at the Acuity webiste.
today for the latest information about biometric organizations.
The REPS Biometrics Directory.
Acuity Market Intelligence
is the exclusive marketing representative for The REPS Biometrics Directory
- a product of Recruitment and Engineering Products and Services (REPS) an IT security
and data protection consultantcy based in Winter Park, Florida.
EURODAC, the first common AFIS within the EU, was
designed to prevent EU "asylum shopping"
where individuals go from one Member Sate to another in hopes
of finding a country that will grant them asylum. The program was
was implemented to support asylum claim processing under
the Dublin Regulation of February 2003 which determines
the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application.
Initial reports indicated the system paid for itself in the eh first
17 days of operations by "asylum shoppers" and saving
EU Member States from providing benefits to those
who did not legally qualify.
the program paid for itself in short order, identifying thousnads of
"asylum shoppers" within the first month of operations.
latest annual report, published this month, indicates that
not only is the program identifying these individuals but
it appears to be having some deterrent effect as well.
In many ways it is a shining example of how
biometric based identification program built around a
centralized database can
solve a fundamental identity problem without
infringing on privacy or civil liberties.
Access to this system
is restricted to the sole purpose stated in the EURODAC Regulation.
The database does not contain personal details relying only on
biometric comparison to check for duplicates.
Each participating state ensures that the national supervisory
authority on data protection independently monitors the
lawfulness of the processing of the data.
Big Brother's Biometrics
Below is a representative list of some of the
headlines that have
found their way into my inbox lately.
- FBI Data Mining Reached Beyond Initial Targets
- Large databases are not safe enough, says stats boffin
- Terror Suspect List Yields Few Arrests
- Secret site houses high-tech law unit
- [Denver] Fusion center watches for terrorism
- Spy Master Admits Error
- Wall St. Sees an Opportunity in China's Surveillance Boom
That last one scares me the most.
Is it just me or is there
something fundamentally wrong with Wall Street getting fat off
investing in surveillance technology used by
one of the most oppressive autohritarian regimes in
The New York Times reports that US Hedge funds are paying for the
development of video cameras, facial
recognition software, and even behavior-recognition software
designed to spot the beginnings of street protests and then automatically notify police.
Over the last year, US hedge funds have put more than $150 million into
Chinese expectation companies with the expectation that the market
will expand from less than $500 million in 2003 to more than $43.1
billion in 2010.
When I read this, I can only wonder
about the capabilities we are
creating, how they are used now, and where this will lead in the future.
We all know the limits of
the technology and we often downplay negative outcomes based on the
assumption that the systems will be well managed and monitored by
organizations and individuals with good intentions.
Sadly, we also all
know this is not the case. Every large-scale identification
system will not be a EURODAC. And even well developed and
managed systems can be put to questionable use by individuals
and organizations with good and bad intentions alike.
What is the answer? I wish I knew. But at the very least,
technology, product and solutions developers and implementors
should do their best to ensure - to the greatest extent possible - that
safeguards are built in to biometric based systems at every level.
In the long run, this
is not just the right thing to do, but sound business practice as well.
While there currently seems to be increasing public support for the use
biometrics by government and commercial enterprises, public trust
is easily lost. A few nefarious or even muddled
deployments could provide fuel for the
anti-biometrics fire and have dire consequences for
the long term viability of the industry ...let alone the legacy of
facilitating control by
anti-democratic regimes around the world.
UK ID Card Off and Running
Speaking of large-scale biometric ID
programs and muddled deployments,the UK identity card
looks to be coming closer to reality. Competition for
the $2 billion biometric national identity card system
began with the publication of a notice in August
inviting suppliers to get involved.
This month about 50 suppliers met with the UK's
Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to review the
up coming procurement. THe next
step will be pre-qualification of suppliers for a "framework agreement"
that allows the IPS to procure what it needs
from a "pool" of suppliers.
As expected, all the big SIs as well as all the AFIS players
are hoping to eat from this $2 billion trough. The real issue,
however, may be the viability of the program itself. Professor
John Daugman of Cambridge University, better known and loved
as "the father of iris",
has raised serious concerns about the ability of a finger based
ID solution to meet the program requirement of "uniquely" identifying
individuals in a population of 60 million people.
Professor Daugman was interviewed by
the BBC and spoke out earlier this month at Biometric Consortium Conference
promising to follow up with a paper on the subject. Those of us that heard
his talk at Biometrics 2006 in London last October were already daunted by his use
of numbers of astronomical proportion to explain the computations
required to assure there are no duplicates in a database of 60 million.
He freely admits
his bias towards iris yet his "objective" claims seem
to have been ignored by the IPS. FOr now, the IPS has closed the door on iris.
This one will be interesting to watch especially as the AFIS
vendors line up to sell their wares and make claims about matching accuracy,
transaction volumes, and speed.
NFC Market Opens Doors
This whole near field communication arena is really
interesting. Mobile phone operators, transportation service providers, and retailers
are testing and launching this
technology for various types of payment processing in
Eurpe, Asia and the US.
- The Dutch retailer - Schuitema - gave RFID-enabled phones to 100 customers, who use the devices to receive deposits from bottle-return machines, make charitable donations and pay for purchases.
- Cellular South is conducting a two-city trial (Jackson and Memphis Tennessee) in which customers can buy goods using RFID-enabled, biometric Kyocera phones.
- Philips and SK Telecom are launching a trial in Seoul, Korea, that will let participants use their mobile phones to download music, unlock doors and pay for goods and services.
- Orange has confirmed it will quickly expand its launch of NFC services to other
cities in France, then to Europe, following its planned “rollout”
of NFC services in the southwestern city of Bordeaux early next
year to pay bus and tram fares, make purchases and accumulate
loyalty points in stores, and download promotional information
from smart tags in posters.
- France-based Veolia Transport, which runs bus, rail and other
transit networks in several European cities and has launched a
mobile-payment trial in France using phones that support NFC technology.
After years of pining, planning, and promise, the mobile payment market
may actually materialize. This is GREAT news for biometrics. As NFC
capability proliferates, longed for mobile applications will spread across retail,
commercial, and government sectors.
Transaction volumes will soar as will fraud, theft, and
ownership (idenitiy) issues. As adoption and comfort levels rise, so to will the
complexity and the value of these transactions. We will become utterly dependent on
our personal mobile devices and highly concerned with both the physical security
of the devices and logical security of the access they offer.
Still think iris recognition on a mobile phone is overkill?
For more information on NFC, visit
the NFC Forum website
The New State of the Biometrics Market
The following is an introduction to a market analysis
brief Acuity will be publishing the last quarter of the year.
The gist of the analysis is an update on the current state of the
biometrics market in terms of technology adoption lifecycles.
Six years ago when I first entered the biometrics market fray,
I offered this classic technology adoption model as a framework for individual
players to leverage market opportunities as well as a means for
advancing industry market development as a whole. Today, I would argue
that the dynamics of the market have fundamentally changed and require
a modified approach to strategic market development.
The market for biometric is in a strange state and will most
likely not follow the typical path of disruptive technology
adoption. Biometrics have been considered
a disruptive innovation on the verge of breakthrough for an
extended period of time. The breakthrough has not happened
for 2 significant reasons. The technology has not delivered
on its promise in terms of capabilities and an appropriate
solutions context has not been developed to leverage the
capabilities that have been available.
Post 9/11 security concerns created an
expectation of rapid market acceleration that never materialized.
In terms of classic technology adoption as defined by Moore's
"Crossing the Chasm" and "Inside the Tornado ", this would translate
to an expectation of rapid Chasm Crossing from early to
mainstream markets, followed by Bowling Alley Development,
and the ensuing Tornado. However, this process did not occur.
Instead, over the past six years the market has essentially passed
over the Chasm and stalled out. This is due to the
failure of market players to develop complete solutions based
on existing technology capabilities. The focus has been on
incremental technology performance improvements. This has
created a market dynamic where biometrics as a class of
disruptive or discontinuous technology has not moved
completely through its revolutionary market development
cycle and yet is now subject to significant evolutionary
or continuous innovation.
While there is clear momentum
towards solution development, this development is likely
to take a linear growth path rather than the exponential
growth path most readily associated with Moore's technology
lifecycle based on disruptive innovation.
Rather than the typical "hockey stick" curve of
recent innovations such as mobile phones or the Internet,
biometrics adoption will mimic the growth curve of ATMS,
which achieved nearly 70% adoption through linear growth
over a period of 20 years.
This has significant strategic market development implications.
It impacts market segmentation, target assessment, and market
penetration planning. Vendors must simultaneously manage
progress towards market expansion into large looming market
opportunities while rigorously and systematically building a
niche penetration strategy. In a more typical scenario,
the niche penetration strategy would precede concern with
larger opportunities and would simply be considered a
process for dominant category positioning to leverage
the ensuing "Tornado" phase.
Rather than taking the mantle of champion of disruptive innovation,
Vendors should consider focusing on providing the evolution that
delivers on the promise of biometrics by providing working solutions to real problems.
Biometrics that actually work. Thus, laying the foundation for the kind
of strategic effort required to establish a near-term market
penetration platform from which large-scale market development
efforts can be launched. Simultaneously focusing on and managing
to near and longer-term evolving market opportunities.
... Stay tuned for more on The NEW
State of the BIometrics Market. eUpdate
subscribers will receive a discount on the 12-15 page analysis breif
scheduled for Q4 '07 publication.
Acuity Presentations & Recommended Events
Want more from Acuity
up-close and personal? Acuity's
Principal, C. Maxine Most, will be speaking at
the Biometrics 2007 in London on October 17 and at the ID World conference
in Milan on November 26. See you then!
Acuity and the eUpdate
are proud sponsors of the following events:
For custom research, analysis or strategic market
development consulting, visit Acuity Market
Intelligence or call +1 303 449 1897
Comments, criticisms, corrections & kudos!
We welcome all feedback:
You're welcome to reprint BMI eUpdate articles. Just email with a link to your publication.
or email include
name, company, country phone & email
New email: send to
include your previous and new email addresses
Copyright 2007 Acuity
Market Intelligence, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
makes no guarantees on the opinions expressed herein. This
publication may be forwarded electronically in it's entirety.
However, no part of this publication may be published in any form
without explicit consent of the publisher.