Unified Police identification system for the state of Massachusetts was presented yesterday at Northborough Police Department press conference. Massachusetts is the first state pursuing the effort to get all municipal police to carry photo id cards unified into a template. The new id card is strongly secured against counterfeit with features such as Kinegram, Swiss patented embossed logo that is similar to a hologram at a first glance but uses a different technology, it’s the same one which is used on MA driver’s license. The badge also contains custom department seal, address and phone number as well as department’s head signature. Issue and expiration dates are overlapping the ghost photo.
The cards were funded by Department of Homeland Security and manufactured by MorphoTrust USA, a manufacturer of identification documents for most of the states including Massachusetts. Estimated cost of the enterprose was $320,000. 92 percent of town police departments are already using the new id cards. All officers are required to carry the id card when on duty and present it upon request. The fact that all town police id cards are alike and that the kinegram, the most difficult to counterfeit security feature is the same as on the state driver’s license puts the public in a much safer spot against cop impostors.
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26 to 23 was the result for State Senate vote over election process legislation amendment. Like in other states voting went across partisan lines with exceptions of 3 republican senators who vote against the bill along with all Democratic Senate members. Debate took 4 hours and arguments were exactly the same as in other states: election process integrity improvement and fraud reduction as supporting ideas while the risk of eliminating the poor, elderly and minorities; lack of election fraud history were reasons to vote against. The bill that passed the Senate yesterday is a less restrictive version of election bill passed by the House last summer. If the updated legislation passes the House and becomes a law a register voter would have to present a piece of photo identification in order to cast a ballot. The list of acceptable forms of ID is a bit broader than some states and include PA driver’s license, state photo id card, county or municipal photo id card, student id badge or home-care issued custom id badge. Similar to most other states a voter showing up at the poll without a proper ID would be able to cast a provisional ballot but would have to come back with a valid ID within 6 days. State Department of Transportation will issue a free state photo id card to any registered voter who does not posses any other form of acceptable identification and need piece of ID purely for the reason of taking part in the election process. As in other states the concerns was brought up that while id card can be obtained free a birth certificate which is required to get the id card may cost substantial amount of money in case an attorney needs to be hired to obtain it.
If the bill passes the House quickly April 24th Primary would be the test run with voters being asked to show the ids but not required.
custom ID card
Two states passed the test of new voter id legislation during super Tuesday. Out of the states that conducted their presidential primaries yesterday Tennessee and Oklahoma required photo id card to cast a ballot for the first time since the legislation passed last year have become a law. There have been only a handful of cases when the voters were not able to cast an ordinary ballot due to lack of proper identification documents; some decided to cast a provisional ballot and will have to came back with proper photo id card while some other decided to pass on voting this time. Vast majority of the voters though came prepared and took the part in elections as usual. Election id law opponents argue however that smooth voting is due to high republican voters turnout who are more likely white, more likely to live in bigger towns and making more money. This issue is likely to remain highly partisan and as such no matter what happens there would be multiple interpretations as what it means. Presidential elections in the fall of 2012 will the be the first large national elections for most states which introduced the voter identification requirements but also all those states will have the law in force for over 6 months by then.
Jumio, California based technology start-up, announced it managed to raise $25 million to develop a technology capable of reading identification documents with off the shelf web cams. Yesterday we wrote about a new scanner that can read both contact and contact less cards which also covers smart phone based payment apps. Last year Jumio presented a technology allowing to use webcam just as it was a credit card swiper called NetSwipe. NetVerify is NetSwipe equivalent for identification documents. Both products combined offer merchants positive identification of clients and help reduce fraud. Sensitive personal information is not stored on the computer as it’s transmitted instantly over a secure channel.
Founder of Jumio is Daniel Mattes, Austrian origin entrepreneur living in the Silicon Valley. In the past he took part in Austrian e-government projects, acted as a business angel and co founded Jajah, VOIP service company acquired by Telefonica in 2009. Born in 1972 he graduated in Computer Science & Economics at the University of Linz in Austria.
Previous project of Jumio was funded by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. The current project is mainly funded by Andreessen Horowitz is a venture capital firm well known for investment in social media such as Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga. Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz will sit at the board of directors of Jumio as a result of financing deal.
Dai Nippon Printing and Identive joined their effort to design a reader capable of reading smart id contact card and near field communication devices (NMC). The result is a brand new reader, model NDI711, a compact unit that can do it all in one piece. The demand for NFC devices is growing fast with smart phones population and mobile payment products. It’s worth to note that payment services integrated into smart phone is just the beginning. Medical ID cards, national id cards, device warranty cards, car service books, medication prescriptions and many more are already out or waiting in the pipe. A single Japanese phone retailer has already ordered 20 thousand of these scanners. Just like in the US when you come to a mobile phone store and you want to change plan, upgrade or service phone you’d get multi page forms to fill just to make someone else type what you wrote into a computer based system. Hopefully with NFC widespread this bothersome step can be eliminated. The scanners are based on Sony’s Corporation FeliCa Lite chip technology, the Lite flavor of FeliCa is a derivative of proximity payment card products offered by Sony in Japan for some time already. Japan remains a leader in mobile payment and contact less data transfer technologies.
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North Carolina new law for some pain relief medications went into force yesterday. According to the new regulations all schedule II and selected schedule III medications such Oxycontin and Vicodin can only be picked up using an accepted method of photo identification. ID that cut for the new law are limited to driver’s license, state photo ID card issued by the NC Department of Motor Vehicles, a military ID or a passport. All documents have to valid and unexpired to be accepted.
The new strict rules are expected to reduce system abuse and eliminate drugs leaking due to fraud and prescriptions drugs addicts trying to find a loophole in the system by getting the drugs prescribed for family members or even strangers. Family members will still be able to pick up medications for their relatives but their ID will be recorded. State Buerau of Investigations (SBI) one of the authorities who will have insight into the collected ID record, say that over 1,000 people died in the state last year due to drug overdose while the count of prescribed medications rose 400% over past 5 years. The pharmacist will have to keep the record of collected IDs for 3 years. While most agree that the new law will reduce the problem of drug abuse especially when it comes to out of state drug shoppers only few believe it would eliminate the issue entirely.
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We usually write about sophisticated identity thefts or large scale rings but not today. This time we’ll go on the funny side if there is a funny side to this crime. Try to imagine yourself as an identity thief and think of last things you would do. Probably one of that last things that would run your mind is go to the bank and say I’m Robert Redford and I want to open an account. Now believe it or not Ricardo Sergio Freire de Barros, 41 years old Brazilian went to a bank in the town of Recife and tried to open a checking account using a forged national photo id card with fake name and Jack Nicholson photo. The photo is a few years old but you can’t miss it, mr Nicholson as you know him from movies or celebrity press, no room for mistake. One might say it’s good he didn’t try to impersonate Julia Roberts but the suspect was actually being investigated for couple of months by the police before being arrested the very day he tried to use the id card with Nicholson’s photo.
My bet is the guy actually didn’t know Jack Nicholson, although he is a member of a very exclusive club of double Academy Award winner he doesn’t show in light movies, can’t see him in TV series, or in soap operas, very popular in South America.
RF Code, Austin, Texas based company has introduced a new type id badge. The new product code name R142 combines advantages of infra red and radio frequency technologies. It’s slightly bigger than ordinary credit card, roughly 4 inches by 2.25 and quarter inch thick; it’s pretty light too, only about 1.5oz, has 3 buttons and 2 holes (vertical and horizontal). Infrared technology allows for real time tracking of the badge, including the movement. Movement and location tracking might be helpful in localizing and reporting the usage of expensive equipment in hospitals and other places. Custom programmable buttons allow to transmit status change to the system such as ‘diagnostic procedure performed’, ‘help needed’, ‘emergency’, ‘equipment service required’ etc.
The card can also be used for tracking personnel in hotels for example and provide additional layer of security with emergency programmed button. Similar solution was implemented in DC based hotel chain except RF cards were used in that case. R142 can also double as a regular custom photo id badge. Flat surface on one side of the tag allows for attaching a regular credit card size PVC CR80 card. Read range is as long as 300 feet, battery life is estimated for 3 years, RF operates at 433 MHz frequency which is the standard for current RFID cards.
United Healthcare, one of the largest medical insurer in the country has introduced a mobile app for its subscribers. The new app called Heatlh4Me, available only for iPhone smart phone holders at this time provides easy, intuitive access to the services offered by the provider. User can quickly locate urgent care or emergency room facility, pull his medical id card with subscriber identification number and other details which can be emailed or faxed to a health care provider immediately, check account balance and claim status. Moreover the new solution also helps interacting with the company customer service; the user can request a call back from customer service representative using the Easy Connect feature. Physicians can be added to favorites store along with notes. Registered Nurse can be contacted via the app 24/7. Flexible spending account funds can also be monitored thru the app.
App is available for free download from iTunes. Android versions should follow in a few months, no details were provided on Blackberry app availability. Other health insurance companies also released apps for their subscribers but not only medical insurance industry wants to be on mobile market, some health care providers also published their own apps, for example Quest, one of the biggest medical lab provider has its own lab where the patients can look up their lab results along with normal results chart for comparison. Looks like medical provider mobile app segment might remain fragmented for some time before apps covering patients from tip to toe make their way to the market.
custom ID badge
Trivandrum, India: the city corporation has decided to introduce id badges for autorickshaw, a handful of id badges have been handed out during the inauguration by Mayor K Chandrika, 5000 more are to follow within a week. Custom id badges are expected to address the complaints received by city officials on driver’s behavior. Passengers mainly complained on over charge, drivers asking too many personal questions and making discourteous comments. The identification would also prevent rickshaws from other towns providing services in Trivandrum.
A mandatory badge, fixed to a vehicle would contain name of the driver, address, unique badge identification number, license number, district police station, servicing garage. and driver’s blood type which will allow for more efficient medical help in case the driver is injured in an accident. Some useful phone numbers will also be displayed such as police, crime stopping, women’s help line and general traffic help line. Officials say that the women and children will be safer in the rickshaws with fixed id badges, all passengers will safer and more comfortable when able to link face with a name. It took close to a year for various city agencies to reach the agreement on the badges, project was close to be abandoned several times during that time.
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