It is common practise for students within UK Universities to sit exams from home via an online test. Within this situation the only verification that the student is who he/she says they are is through their University login. This has caused an increase in online cheating within University exams. Thanks to new biometric soltuions this may be about to be a thing of the past.
The solution asks to imagine taking a university exam in your own home, however in this situation you will be under the watchful eye of a webcam or with software profiling your keystrokes or your syntax to see whether it really is you answering the questions. The system could even involve a login via fingerprint.
Online university courses have become the Next Big Thing for higher education, particularly in the United States, where millions of students have signed up for courses from some of the most upmarket universities.
With spiralling costs and student loan debts crossing the trillion dollar barrier this year, the online university has been seen as a way of reaching many more people for much less money. However, the possibility of cheating at home is a major flaw within the online university courses. This has dramatically lessened the credibility of these courses.
The Open University in the UK has been a major supporter of learning from home. They feel it is an important attraction of online courses that students can study where and when they want and with the recent university fee increases this seems like the perfect solution for those unable to afford accommodation on top of other costs.
The university understands the current problems of fraud saying “It’s a common problem across the sector – how do you know that the individual taking the exam is the right person?” says Peter Taylor, chair of the Open University’s academic conduct group.
EdX is offering real exam centres for online students
“We’re looking at whether we can do online examinations, so the student doesn’t have to come in to a hall, they just need to be sitting in front of their computer at a particular time when the exam is released to their computer,” says Prof Taylor.
“Their computer would be locked down so that it can’t use other materials. If you’ve got an appropriate webcam – that can provide you with effective invigilation.”
“I’ve not yet seen systems which I’m confident about at the moment – but I don’t think it will be too long before these problems are resolved.”
One member of the organisation states how current systems identify their students…
“One system we looked at meant that you had to type in a particular phrase – and the rate and the particular way you type is effectively a signature of the individual.”
These are not distant-horizon ideas – Prof Taylor says he would expect such technology to be in place within the next five years.
EdX, an online university project set up earlier this year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, wants to make more use of the exam hall rather than less. Students taking edX online courses will be able to sit their final exams in an international network of test centres, run by Pearson Vue. These will be formally supervised on-screen exams, using the edX website, and those who pass will receive a “proctored certificate”, showing it has been achieved in an invigilated setting.
There are talks of using identification methods such as fingerprint readers within laptops or iris scanners through the webcam. Biometrics could be diverging into a completely new market here!
Harvard is among the new wave of top universities offering courses online
There are many benefits of online testing besides the financial savings. These include the instant feedback of online testing and the interactive, multimedia aspects of the lectures improving interest levels.
- It has attracted students remarkably quickly – 1.6 million have signed up in the first year, taking courses from more than 30 top universities.
- When the University of London’s international section joined last month, 9,000 students signed up in the first 24 hours.
There are debates that this process will not provide sufficient feedback required by students. There are arguments that the human brain must be involved within some stage.
there are many marking methods currently in place withheld universities at the moment. Many universities have been experimenting with peer assessment, where students grade each others’ work, following guidelines set by the teacher. This allows for the marking capacity to grow with the class size – but it also depends on the reliability of fellow students. This could potentially be implemented within the online courses in the form of blogs and discussion centres.
How do you feel about online university courses monitored by biometrics? Does the costs saving outweigh omiting the lack of detailed human feedback? Would this eliminate university cheating? Let us at ievo know!
Helston College is introducing a new biometric fingerprint system for children as a cashless method of paying for lunch.
The fingerprint scanner system will be completed and running on the 14th November. One difference of this system is that it will require a parent to give consent to use their child’s biometric data.
The school are reassuring parents in every way that the system is of their best interests too. The Headteacher Pat McGovern has written a letter to parents assuring that all information of the children will remain within the school.
“The biometric information taken is an algorithm and not the actual finger print,” he said, in order to prevent parents from fearing that their children were being “fingerprinted.” It is unfortunate that biometrics has received an unfair portrayal in this light as the system is much more secure than other methods of identification. This is Helston’s reasoning for providing such extensive reassurance for parents of the system.
Parents are also able to opt-out of the system and children will be provided with another identification method such as a four digit PIN code. The school do not want to force this method upon parents until parents are comfortable.
Mr McGovern said: “The preference of the college is to use biometrics as this is more secure and faster than other methods of identification.”
Biometric Fingerprint Readers are an increasing security feature within UK School and this growth is expected to continue.
One of the rumors leading into the Apple iPhone 5 event was that the new smartphone would incorporate fingerprint scanning technology. As of yet this has not been included within the new phone. Is this a mistake missed by Apple?
Smartphones and tablets store gigabytes of data. They have banking apps, and apps that access credit card or investment accounts. They connect to email, and social networks. If a mobile device falls into the wrong hands, it’s possible that sensitive information and data could be compromised. That’s why your smartphones and tablets need to be locked down and protected.
If the iphone5 were to have included this fingerprint scanner technology, it would be a game changer for smartphone security.
Most smartphones are locked with a simple four-digit PIN if they’re locked down at all. The four-digit PIN is better than nothing, but it’s certainly not the most secure option available. iOS devices have an option to require a more complex alphanumeric passcode, which would be much more difficult to guess in most cases.
Android added an ability to unlock the mobile device using facial recognition. Facial recognition can’t be guessed or cracked in the same way a password can–only you have your face. However, that isn’t entirely true. If you happen to have a reasonable headshot photo of the individual, you can just hold your picture up to the phone and unlock it.
You can’t do that with a fingerprint, though. And, the fingerprint authentication can be extended beyond simply unlocking the device itself. If developers have access to the fingerprint scanning capabilities through an API, or if the smartphone OS has an ability to store credentials and passwords in a sort of locker that is accessed via the fingerprint, then the fingerprint becomes a more secure means of accessing apps and other sensitive information on the device as well.
Improving the method of authentication will help prevent unauthorized access to data should the smartphone be lost or stolen. It’s important that you don’t rely only on locking the device, though. You also need a cross-device security platform in place to guard against malware and protect your data from other malicious attacks
The rumours surrounding fingerprint scanner access to smartphones’ have generated a hugely positive reaction which suggests the idea that this is the next step for smartphones. It seems reasonable to assume that Apple didn’t spend $360 million for a biometric company takeover if it doesn’t have any use for the fingerprint scanning capabilities it’s known for….
ievo are looking forward to seeing how this industry will change over the next year!
Biometric finger scanners might be the new solution for students who frequently forget or lose their CATcards.
Tim Lewis, associate director for campus recreation, thought of the idea when trying to find a way that would grant students access into buildings without having their CATcards through the access control system.
“Because there is only one other school in the nation that we could find utilizing biometric finger vein scanners, we were nervous about the functionality and ease of using this technology,” Lewis said.
The Biometric fingerprint reader uses near-infrared light through a camera to identify each student’s unique veins.
Lewis said he felt more comfortable that he made the right decision about the project when he saw the positive response coming from faculty and students.
“I am excited to admit we couldn’t be happier with the scanners,” he said “They have performed to our expectations through the first few weeks of school.”
The scanners are installed in the Patrick Gym, where students can use the biometric devices to register their ‘identity’.
Nicole Todd, assistant director of campus recreation has seen a positive response thus far.
“From what we’ve seen this first week of the semester, the students, faculty and staff have been really excited about the scanners,” Todd said. “Aside from the ‘wow factor’ that comes with new technology, it allows an alternative door access method.”
The fingerprint reader will take two to five minutes to register a student’s identity in the computer. Once the student has registered it will only take two seconds to scan into the gym.
Junior Rachael Haab was optimistic about this new technology.
“I feel like it’s a lot better because you don’t need your CATcard, which makes going to the gym easier,” Haab said.
ievo will have more very exciting news to post about biometrics in gyms very soon!
A scanner that can take fingerprints from people on the streets in seconds are to be introduced by West Midlands Police next week following a successful pilot project.
The hi-tech mobile fingerprint scanners allows police officers to cross-reference fingerprints against the police national computer, instantly alerting officers if scanned prints belong to a convicted criminal.
But concerns have been raised by civil liberty group Big Brother Watch who compared the scheme to ‘the ID card system.’
West Midlands Police Chief Inspector Darren Walsh, who is leading the project said “The scanners cut bureaucracy and save countless police hours by keeping officers out on the streets rather than hauling suspects through potentially drawn-out custody procedures.“
“Traditionally, if officers had suspicions about an individual we’d need to take them to a police station, go through the custody process, and fingerprint them at the station which could take hours. The MobileID kits quickly confirm whether an arrest is necessary and frees-up officers to be on the streets protecting the public.”
The police force said the devices are used to check prints against the national database and doesn’t permanently store scanned images.
At ievo we feel this is only the beginning for biometrics within the UK Police….
The DVLA have signalled that the paper section of the driving licence is to be replaced by 2015.
The plan is to have all driver information on one smart card which could include the licence holder’s photo, any endorsements as well as iris and fingerprint software.
The DVLA do appear slightly uneasy about public reaction to this proposal. It is well aware that the previous government’s proposal to introduce electronic card access failed due to public outrage, and the idea of having almost the same data appearing on a driving licence could provoke a similar reaction.
The DVLA is committed to abolishing the paper section, but it is not yet committing itself to what will replace it. The DVLA told industry publication, Fleet News, that ‘the UK has yet to decide whether or when a chip might be added’ to the driving licence, but it was ‘continually looking at ways to improve the security of the driving licence’.
The UK Government has already signalled its intention to bin the paper counterpart of the licence from 2015, while a driver’s address will no longer appear on the existing photocard from 2013/14.
A DVLA spokesman said: “This will mean that a driver will no longer have to return the driving licence to the DVLA when they change address or receive points.”
Used much in the same way as access control systems, these smart cards seem feasible and user friendly. The only problem would be getting the population used to biometric data and how it is being used. Many may already be away of fingerprint technology and the like, but many won’t be. Therefore, if they are to enforce these changes it would be a good idea to teach people how this form of biometric security works and how it will affect their everyday lives.
Different types of biometric devices are formed on a regular basis, from the strange to the outright genius, they are created in order to make our everyday lives that little bit easier. Not quite a biometric system just yet, the new NPointer Application allows one to use their hand as if it were a mouse linking up to their computer.
The Lithuanian-based Neurotechnology, a company focused on high-precision biometric identification, artificial intelligence, object recognition technology and software development products announced Monday the availability of its NPointer application, which utilizes simple biometric recognition to control a computer without having to use a mouse.
You will be able to use your hand as a mouse, linking up to your computer, using a new form of biometric technology
The program, available on the company’s Web site as a free download, requires just a webcam and the NPointer software to function on Microsoft Windows-based machines.
To utilize the program, all the computer user has to do is place their hand on their desk and computer vision technology allows hand movements to be recorded via webcam and then translated into pointer movements that are displayed on screen. NPointer emulates actions one would normally perform with a mouse including clicks, double-clicks, drags, scrolls and the like. Just like a biometric product.
Additionally, the program is designed to cater to a disabled population, as it can also function using movements from a person’s head or arm, which allows numerous opportunities for those living without access to the world wide web.
However, because (as it seems) this is the first motion detection technology of its kind specific to computers, it would be interesting to test how quick it is to responses. If you ever had one of the first touch screen phones, you probably tried to smash it into pieces a couple of times out of sheer frustration because of freezing and lagging.
This is not to say that this clever form of biometric is unreliable, it is revolutionary, but it will be interesting to see how it evolves and obviously improve to cater for a wider market.
Neurotechnology is something ievo® are extremely interested in, we have written blog posts about it numerous times and we look forward to seeing what these futuristic companies are going to come up with next!
Earlier this week, I wrote an article about trends in biometric security devices and when the technology could potentially reach the tipping point for the mass security market. Bojan Cukic, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at West Virginia University and site director for the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR) at WVU, believes that it is still unclear whether or not biometric solutions will replace traditional access control systems in many applications. However, Cukic does feel that biometric technology will become more commonplace in the future.
“I honestly feel in five or 10 years, we will not be talking about biometrics because it will be ubiquitous,” he said. “It will be part of systems and applications which we use every day and we may or may not be aware that it is improving the security of these systems. Computers will monitor our activities and when they become unusual, they will warn us or warn the administrator about it.”
Another interesting point made by Cukic during our conversation was the fact that current biometric security systems rely upon users providing a biometric identifier – be it a fingerprint reader or an iris scan – to get a quality read. The inherent flaw in this approach, according to Cukic, is that people nowadays are not accustomed to spending time cooperating with technology and that future systems may be able to pick out the best identifier on its own, a process he referred to as “unconstrained acquisition.”
That ability could be here sooner rather than later as researchers at the University of Calgary recently announced that they have developed a way for security systems to combine different biometrics. According to a statement, this new algorithm, which was created at the university’s Biometrics Technology Laboratory, can “learn new biometric patterns and associate data from different data sets, allowing system to combine information, such as fingerprint, voice, gait or facial features, instead of relying on a single set of measurements.”
Professor Marina Gavrilova, the founding head of the lab, said the security system they developed simulates the decision making processes of the human brain.
“Our goal is to improve accuracy and as a result improve the recognition process,” Gavrilova said in the statement. “We looked at it not just as a mathematical algorithm, but as an intelligent decision making process and the way a person will make a decision.”
However, the use of biometrics has raised concerns from privacy advocates. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has announced plans to hold a hearing next week on the privacy implications of facial recognition technology. Social media giant Facebook, which recently purchased facial recognition firm Face.com, has also come under fire for using face-detection technology for photo-tagging.
While I still think we are quite a long way from the future world depicted in the film “Minority Report” where advertisers can scan our eyes to deliver targeted marketing campaigns or police can use tiny, iris-scanning robots to determine our identity, I believe that widespread use of biometrics on a smaller level is close at hand. Whether it’s using facial recognition to tag photos or placing a finger on a reader to gain access to a laptop computer, biometric technology for security and recreational uses appears to be here to stay.
Post courtesy of second coming herald
Ford Motor Company is in the process of developing a biometric style system for their vehicles in order to enhance their operating gateway ‘Touch’.
The existing version of Touch is built around Ford’s Windows based SYNC communications and entertainment system. Using touchscreen or button controls, or verbal commands, users are able to access the navigation system, place phone calls, control music playback, or perform any number of other functions. For its part, the system is in turn able to notify drivers (both verbally and visually) of things such as incoming phone calls, text messages and emails.
Needless to say, some people wonder if all this instrumentation and access to information will cause drivers to become too distracted from the task at hand – driving. In at least some cases, where drivers are already stressed by what’s happening on the road around them, it certainly could do so. Hopefully, most drivers would know to lay off the Touch-usage while experiencing such stressful driving conditions. The problem, however, is that Touch doesn’t know not to bother them at such times – at least, not yet.
Touch does already have a “Do Not Disturb” feature, which drivers can enable when they don’t want to be distracted by any notifications. The driver must make a point of turning that feature on and off, however. “It’s entirely a manual function, you have to choose to do it,” said Ford Senior Technical Leader, Jeff Greenberg. “Challenges in driving are pretty episodic … I might be negotiating an intersection and I don’t want to be disturbed, then as soon as I’m done, things calm down and it’s ok. It’s unrealistic to expect people to be turning this on and off, that actually just increases the burden.”
Instead, Greenberg and his team envision a system that uses in-vehicle sensors to assess both the conditions around the vehicle, and the driver’s reaction to those conditions. Already, he pointed out, it’s fairly simple to determine the vehicle’s speed, its rate of acceleration, and how fast it’s goinginto turns, along with what the driver is doing with the steering wheel, pedals, and dashboard controls. Additionally, some Ford vehicles now have multiple radar systems and forward-facing cameras that can detect the presence and proximity of other cars on the road. Traction control systems can also be used to determine how slippery the road surface is.
Biometrics systems, which are still in development, could be used to ascertain the driver’s physiological responses to all of these stimuli – what is known as their “driver workload.” These biometric devices could measure parameters such as heart rate, skin conductance (using electrical sensors in the steering wheel rim), respiration (using piezoelectric sensors in the seat belt), along with hand and face temperature (via infrared cameras).
“We want to take information about what’s going on in the cabin – what the driver is doing – information about the vehicle response, about the environment, and we want to combine all of that into a mathematical model that says ‘This is how we think the average person is going to be in this situation,’” he explained. “And then, looking even a little bit farther out, we’d like to personalize that – not just how the average person would respond, but how you would respond.”
Ford has already built many of these “Intelligent Simplification” technologies into a driving simulator. It may be at least a few years, however, before we see such systems making their way into commercially-available automobiles.
ievo manufacture biometric security systems for the access control market, specialising in fit-for-purpose fingerprint technology solutions. If you are interested in either ultimate or micro fingerprint readers, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 643 6632
Biometrics have been used to prove the FBI’s theory that they can help identify unsuitable applicants for American Visas. By using biometric fingerprinting methods, the FBI is able to note that 1% of people applying for US visas should not be granted entry because they fail to meet guidelines due to their history in their native country.
Obviously, the FBI are linking previously registered fingerprints on criminal or deviant databases and matching them against prints taken at point of application. They believe, in turn, that this has and will continue to increase safety in America. Although, interestingly, the biometric databases are subject to standardisation because they do not want to infringe data protection or human rights laws. This is completely legal and as a result, are continuing to use the biometric industry to control immigration.
This coincides with the Indian UID programme that I blogged about not so long ago. Due to sheer size of the population India are starting to create a biometric database on each individual that will act as their NI or Social Security number. This is all well and good, because at the end of the day, the government is supplied with an approximate number of inhabitants and also in America’s case, immigrants. This can help with other funding regarding healthcare and insurance so that things run a whole lot smoother in society.
However, there are people that are concerned about governments create large biometric databases on the entire population. But, referring back to the FBI and their biometric security scheme, their representative said something quite interesting. He said that,
“I think if you look a little deeper you will conclude, as I have, that there’s not a general pubic outcry (which is not to say that there aren’t some who have concerns). You’ll find a few stories in the press and there is a community that is very concerned, frankly inside the government there is a privacy and civil liberties community that is very vigilant about making sure that we comply with the Privacy Act of 1974″
Therefore, is it safe to say that people concerned about biometric databases are a small handful in a somewhat large pool of people? Perhaps the media are only picking up on it because it deviates from the norm which is that wholly people are happy to give across their biometric data if it ensures that in turn it keeps everyone safer and society running smoother.
I hope this little revelation is correct, because governmental databases do not link to security or access control related biometric systems. In fact, with ievo®, only fingerprints taken on ievo® can be used with ievo®, no questions asked!