Category Archives: facial recognition

Chinese Police Now Wear Smart Glasses With Facial Recognition Technology

Police in China wear hi-tech facial recognition sunglasses to nab suspects

Chinese police have found a unique way to identify potential criminals and fight crime. Police in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan Province located in east-central China have introduced high-tech facial-recognition sunglasses to arrest offenders in the province’s railway station, according to the Communist Party’s official newspaper People’s Daily.

Liu Tianyi, at LLVision, the firm that developed the GLXSS Pro smart glasses, says the glasses are so light that the police officers can wear them all day.

The special glasses are currently being used by four officers patrolling a crowded train station in Zhengzhou, Henan province during Chinese New Year, the busiest time for the country’s transport system. More than 389 million train trips are likely to be made between the peak period of February 1 and March 12, which is when people return home for holidays

The glasses have a small camera attached to a smartphone-like device that allows the officers to take photos of suspicious individuals and run the headshot in their database. Using the technology, the database can in real time provide individual’s personal details, including name, ethnicity, gender, address and criminal records. All the information would be transferred back to the officer’s glasses. It also informs officers whether the suspect, the hotel address where they are staying and even their recent Internet history.

“The glasses — which resemble Google Glass — are connected to a police database that can match passengers with criminal suspects,” said a report in the People’s Daily online.

“The facial information captured by the glasses will be sent back to a database for comparison with the information of suspects on the wanted list,” Zhang Xiaolei, an employee at the publicity office of Henan’s Department of Public Security, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

With the help of these high-tech sunglasses, police at the Zhengzhou East Railway Station have nabbed 33 suspects, of which 7 are accused of human trafficking and hit and runs, while 26 are accused of using fake IDs.

However, these programs have drawn strong criticism by human-rights groups and privacy advocates, who say that the implementation of this technology invades on people’s right to privacy.

“Chinese authorities seem to think they can achieve ‘social stability’ by placing people under a microscope, but these abusive programs are more likely to deepen hostility towards the government,” Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, had previously said about different facial recognition technology being used to monitor religious minorities. “Beijing should immediately stop these programs, and destroy all data gathered without full, informed consent.”

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Is the DMV going to scan your face on your next field visit?

Back in 2017, we reported that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are implementing a face recognition technology on some international US airports that scans the faces of everyone, including US citizens, boarding outbound international flights. Now, starting October 1st, 2020, every US resident wanting to hop on a flight (even the domestic ones) will have to present a passport or any other REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card.

What is REAL ID?

After 9/11, the Congress passed the REAL ID Act of 2005, which states that each person applying for a driver license or identification card will have to go through mandatory facial image capture compliant with the REAL ID requirements. Government agencies say this is significant step forward in the battle against crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism as the new images will be compatible for facial recognition searches. Every person getting a license or government identification card will have to provide multiple documents and forms of identification, i.e., SSN card, mortgage statement, birth certificate, passport or permanent residence card, etc. Digital copies of each document will be stored in each state’s DMV database and be possibly attached to people’s new government profiles.

While the bill passed 13 years ago, privacy, operational, and cost concerns have been making multiple states oppose the decision, many saying that this is just DHS’ way to make DMV build them a national ID database. Even strong opponents of illegal immigration have been publicly opposing the bill. Mitchell Seabaugh, a former Republican member of the Georgia State Senate, publicly called REAL ID “a slap in the face of the states.” Back in 2005, Rep. Ron Paul said that “any state that opts out will automatically make nonpersons out of its citizens. They will not be able to fly or to take a train.” This statement is not far from the reality – as of October 1st, 2020, a passport or the new REAL ID equipped driver licenses and government IDs will be required for US residents who want to enter certain federal facilities and military bases or are wanting to board federally regulated aircrafts (including domestic flights).

The new law has slowly been rolling out in multiple states through the US. New York state’s DMV began issuing REAL ID compliant driver licenses last year, and California’s DMV announced that as of January 22nd, they have started issuing REAL ID drivers licenses too. While the DHS has been denying the notion that they are building a national ID system, they admit that the future use of the new credential by third parties will ultimately determine whether the REAL ID credential will become a national ID and whether further protections from Congress may have to be warranted.

While the REAL ID technology is not known to scan your face but just picture it, its introduction to the US is almost matching with the timing of the facial scanning boom that we are currently experiencing. Facial recognition is one of the leading selling features of Apple’s most expensive cell phone. Facial recognition will be used by marketers too. Also, just a few weeks ago Washington Post quoted a report from the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University’s law school suggesting DHS might be prone to legal battles because if their face scanning practices.

According to the report mentioned by Washington Post, DHS should not be scanning the faces of Americans as they depart on international flights, but DHS has been doing it anyway. Washington Post quoted Jennifer Gabris, a CPB spokesperson, saying that “the agency takes its privacy obligations seriously, and that U.S. citizens can currently opt out of the facial scanning process”.

Passport-like REAL ID technology is being implemented in the some of the largest states, and in less than three years a REAL ID-compliant form of identification will be compulsory even for domestic air travel. Do you think the next step will be a mandatory face scanning? Are we entering a new era of surveillance and is the outdated SSN credential going to be replaced by REAL ID? Is the US government preparing to create a one-for-all database by launching services such as https://login.gov/? No one knows for sure. What we see is that the government agencies are collecting all sorts of data that one day may leak; be merged into one; or shared with third parties for monetary gain.

Regulating the information will be challenging and keeping so much sensitive data under one roof would put enormous pressure on government agencies. Government databases will be a target not only for hackers but also for foreign states. Protecting your personal information has never been more critical as leaks containing sensitive data of millions of people are not uncommon these days.

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Move away from passwords, deploy Windows Hello. Today!

Something we understood from the very beginning with Windows Hello for Business is our customers would approach Windows 10 in a series of phases. The first phase is to simply deploy the platform itself. From there, additional phases would follow to take advantage of optional Windows 10 technologies that require additional planning and enablement.

Since Windows 10 originally released we have continued to make significant investments to Windows Hello for Business, making it easier to deploy and easier to use, and we are seeing strong momentum with adoption and usage of Windows Hello. As we shared at Ignite 2017 conference, Windows Hello is being used by over 37 million users, and more than 200 commercial customers have started deployments of Windows Hello for Business. As many would expect, Microsoft currently runs the world’s largest production, with over 100,000 users; however, we are just one of many running at scale, the second largest having just reached 25,000 users.

With misused, default, or stolen credentials being the leading cause of data breaches (2017 Data Breach Investigations Report - Verizon) we believe Windows Hello for Business should be at the top of your priority list for what to configure next after your initial Windows 10 deployment. With it you can get your users to a multifactor authentication solution that works on any Windows 10 device – with no password to be lost, forgotten, or compromised. In the content that follows we will explain what improvements you’ll find in our latest Windows 10 releases, including the most recent version 1709, which we refer to as the Fall Creators Update.

Simplifying deployment

When it comes to deployment, the Creators Update (1703) from last spring, was the release that made Windows Hello for Business viable and deployable at scale within complex organizations like ours and many of our customers. Since then we’ve learned a great deal from early adopters and our own personal experiences with 100K plus users within Microsoft. Now with the Fall Creators Update (1709) we believe that Windows Hello for Business is in a position for mainstream deployments across organizations of all shapes, sizes, and levels of complexity. Here are some of the key improvements that are now available.

The first and most important improvement we made is improving the Admin Experience. For a successful rollout, we focused on making it easier to deploy and manage Windows Hello for Business in a variety of environment types. For some time now Windows 10 has supported Azure Active Directory and hybrid environments with Azure Active Directory Connect, enabling many of our customers to deploy Windows Hello in their environments through the cloud. With the Creators Update (1703) from last spring we added support for on-premises Active Directory-only environments enabling all organizations, particularly those in public sector, to use Windows Hello for Business.

In the just released Fall Creators Update (1709) we’ve made significant improvements to the provisioning and enrollment experience to ensure deterministic and instant enrollment. Organizations with existing public key infrastructure (PKI) and certificate deployments can deploy Windows Hello for Business leveraging their current certificate enrollment mechanisms. System Center Config Manager for certificate provisioning is no longer required for Windows Hello provisioning, and this functionality is now provided through Active Directory Federation Server (ADFS) Certificate Registration Authority. With these improvements, users who enroll in Windows Hello are provisioned instantly and can benefit from single sign-on experiences immediately after completing the enrollment process. We have published planning and deployment guides which provide detailed guidance for deploying Windows Hello for Business in your environment.

Improving user experience

While early adopters have focused much of their feedback on areas that would help us simplify deployment challenges we’ve also made significant investments to improve the user experience across a number of areas. We recognize that it’s critical for users to develop a strong preference for Windows Hello, so that they never feel compelled to go back to using passwords, and the way we’ll achieve that is by making sure Windows Hello offers a superior user experience. The improvements users can take advantage of are listed below.

PIN recovery

Windows Hello is a multi-factor authentication solution that can be used with a PIN that unlocks a key bound to the device -- something you have and something you know. If users forget the PIN, it’s important to provide a streamlined recovery experience. In the Creators update (1703), we added support for remote PIN reset on corporate owned phones. This enabled IT administrators of hybrid organizations to configure a PIN reset service that enables users to reset their PIN and recover access to the device without losing keys that were previously provisioned.

In the Fall Creators Update (1709), we have added support for self-service PIN reset from the lock screen which further improves the user experience. The user can now safely reset the PIN using Azure Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA) from the same device without having to reach out to the IT Helpdesk.

While we transition to a world without passwords, we realize that many organizations will still need to use passwords in certain circumstances (e.g.: legacy applications). Consequently users may still have passwords set to expire in accordance with IT policies. It’s easy to forget a password that you don’t use frequently; to improve the experience for such users, we introduced the option to use Hello PIN to change expired passwords.

Extending Windows Hello with new capabilities

Along with the deployment and user experience improvements we have also added new capabilities that will extend Windows Hello by providing additional security and usability benefits to users.

Dynamic lock

Introduced earlier this year in the Creators Update (1703), dynamic lock will automatically lock a device when the user is no longer within proximity. If you forget to lock your PC or tablet when you step away, Windows Hello can use a phone that's paired with your device to automatically lock it shortly after you're out of Bluetooth range. Dynamic lock can provide an additional layer of protection to help prevent unauthorized access to an unlocked, unattended device. This is a great improvement over the traditional inactivity/time based lock. Dynamic lock works with any paired phone. While still a relatively brand-new feature that users have to opt-in to, we see over 50,000 dynamic locks on daily basis keeping users safe.

Multi-factor device unlock

Until recently, you could only allow the user to unlock their device with either Face, Fingerprint or PIN. New with the Fall Creators Update (1709), Windows Hello now allows you to raise the bar by configuring Windows such that it requires users to provide a combination of additional factors and/or trusted signals to unlock their PC. For instance you can require users to use both Facial recognition and PIN to unlock their PC. In addition to the Hello gestures, we added support for trusted signals like network location and phone proximity.

Wouldn’t it be great if Windows allows you to authenticate with just Facial recognition because you are at work but when you transition to a less trustworthy location, like a coffee shop additional factors such as the proximity of your phone are added as an authentication requirement? With Fall Creators Update, this is now possible.

Windows Hello has also integrated with Intel Authenticate technology to provide additional security hardening by leveraging hardened Intel factors for network location and Bluetooth proximity, on devices that have hardware that supports Intel Authenticate technology.

Over time we’ve made many improvements to Windows Hello; with the Fall Creators Update we’ve reached a point where it’s ready for large-scale adoption for all of our customers, not just the ones with large IT organizations and big budgets. As you exit phase one of your Windows 10 plans and complete your deployments, we hope you that will put Windows Hello for Business at the top of your "What to do next?" list.

 

Pieter Wigleven

Senior Product Manager, Windows & Devices Group, Security & Enterprise

 

Special thanks to Yogesh Mehta, Mike Stephens, Sam Schumacher, and Karanbir Singh from the Windows Hello for Business team for their contribution to this blog post

 

Learn more about Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Microsoft 365 Security and Management Features Available in Fall Creators Update

Windows Defender Exploit Guard: Reduce the attack surface against next-generation malware

Stopping ransomware where it counts: Protecting your data with Controlled folder access

Making Microsoft Edge the most secure browser with Windows Defender Application Guard

Introducing Windows Defender Application Control

Hardening the system and maintaining integrity with Windows Defender System Guard

Move away from passwords, deploy Windows Hello. Today!

What’s new in Windows Defender ATP Fall Creators Update

Antivirus evolved

 


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