eSSL Biometric Secuwatch

August 14, 2008

Cyber cafes to be monitored in India

Indian police places biometric systems and CCTV in more than 150 cyber cafes in order to catch cyber criminals in the act

The growing threat from criminals and fraudsters who use cyber cafes has been getting out of control in many parts of the world, but authorities in India have come up with a unique system which they are looking to trial very soon. The system uses a mixture of biometrics to take thumb prints as users log on, live photographs, and the users name and address records to keep track of who is using workstations, and more importantly, when. The Indian Police recently organized a demonstration of the system to more than 150 cyber cafe owners and while it went down fairly well, there are some concerns about privacy. Many cyber cafe owners are aware that some users will log onto view sites of an adult nature, but it is more the criminals and the fraudsters who are the target of the authorities. A number of cafe owners, however, are concerned about the creeping “big brother is watching” scenario, something which some say has long gone beyond the Indian stage in the United Kingdom.

Cyber crime is a growing business around the world but catching the criminals in the act is proving more and more difficult. While this latest move in India has prompted some concerns it seems likely that some kind of compromise will be reached in the end. 



August 12, 2008

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October 5, 2007

Biometrics to keep tabs on lazy cops

AHMEDABAD: The days of traffic policemen playing truant while on duty are now numbered. Ahmedabad traffic police will soon install 50 biometric devices to check the ‘lazy’ policemen from dodging duty.

The biometric attendance recording gadgets would be installed at traffic pickets to ensure the punctuality of the staff. The move comes at a time when the city traffic department is looking to add to its staff strength.

“Our proposal has been cleared and the pre-requisite sum has been sanctioned by the state government for acquiring the biometric devices which will be soon in place at traffic pickets in the city,” said additional commissioner of police, traffic, Manoj Agarwal.

The biometrics device uses a touch-screen-based technology which will read thumb impressions and match them with the original records. Each device would cost somewhere between Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000.

Finally, the long drawn problem of shortage of manpower in traffic police department will also be addressed soon, especially since the state government has sanctioned additional 800 traffic personnel for the Ahmedabad traffic police.

The traffic department already has 50 power bikes and will soon get 50 wireless handsets.Agarwal said, “The state government has approved our proposals for increasing traffic posts given that the city is expanding fast and so is the population.”

Talking about the training schedule for the traffic personnel, he said, “We will be recruiting personnel from police department from constabulary positions. Their traffic management skills will be honed before being posted.”


September 23, 2007

Biometric Fingerprint Time Clocks

Buddy punching—not the violent connotation, but equally malicious and punishable under most corporate guidelines on proper employee behavior—is the practice of cheating time clocks by punching in the attendance card or swiping the ID of a co-worker in his absence.

Attendance monitoring used to mean endless paperwork, sifting though documents and manual computation. That has changed with the onslaught of biometric fingerprint time clocks that have high-tech applications but simple implementation.

There are several brands in the market, and they offer basically the same features, although some may be a bit more sophisticated (they allow several program schemes adaptable per employee specifications). A device can be programmed to quickly identify special work-schedule arrangements made for certain employees, for example.

A biometric fingerprint time clock generally is composed of three major components that make it work: scanner (on which one places a finger for the print to be scanned); software (that transforms the scanned information into digital format); and database (where authorized fingerprints are stored in digital format).

Biometric fingerprint time clocks may be installed on each side of a door to facilitate close monitoring of employee ins and outs. The biometric clock is wired into the door latch, allowing it to mechanically open and shut it. But if it’s just attendance monitoring you desire, one unit for your whole office may suffice. A device is capable of storing large amounts of data.

Once installed, you will have to get each employee to register a fingerprint. You may need to have your IT (information technology) employees help you with this. They will create a master list of names and their corresponding fingerprints. Additional programming is needed for flexi-time employees who do not subscribe to the general work-schedule hours.

After completing the database, the device ready. Employees will only need to put a finger on the scanning interface of the time clock. The print will be processed, and if it matches an image stored in the database, the door will open mechanically. If not, access will be denied; there’s no prying open the door or getting around the system.


September 15, 2007

UK Requires Compulsory Fingerprints from Visa Applicants

BANGALORE: Every person seeking to enter the UK from countries outside the European Union, including India, will be fingerprinted prior to being issued a visa, if a proposed law that aims to tighten UK’s borders is passed by British MPs.

A Bill stipulating this and other immigration reforms — the UK Border Bill — is pending before the British Parliament and there’s an urgency now to clear it after the botched terror strikes in London and Glasgow involving foreign nationals.

When it’s in place, the fingerprint of anyone seeking to enter the UK — for work or as a tourist — will be scanned at visa issuing offices and put through criminal/terrorist databases, before clearance.

“UK has introduced biometric fingerprinting as identification in passports to make immigration at entry points easy. Now, plans are to extend it to those applying for visas,” sources said. But there is a silver lining: There has been no knee-jerk reaction or official slowdown on Indian citizens getting UK visas, so far.

Despite UK PM Gordon Brown’s statements over background checks, a British high commission source said: “No changes have been brought in following the recent events in the UK.” On average, 700 to 1,000 visa applications from India are being processed and cleared every day.

Sources said if the applicant has the specified documents outlining purpose of travel, financial position of the person/sponsor and so on, there is no need for even a personal interview for visa. In most cases, if documents are in order, the visa is issued.


September 13, 2007

40,000 Schools fingerprint system project – India

“40,000 Schools fingerprint system pilot project (eSSL) inauguration by Hon. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi”













The Gujarat state government has initiated a pilot project to ensure full enrolment of all eligible students and to reduce dropout rate in primary schools.

The pilot project covers 680 primary schools, 70 Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) and 4 Block Resources Centres (BRCs) in Narmada district, one of the most backward districts of Gujarat having predominant tribal population and low literacy. It will cover around 2,508 teachers and 76,000 students.

The pilots being implemented by Bangalore based enterprise Software Solutions Lab (ESSL).

In 2003, Gujarat Government had launched “Shala Praveshotsav” (Enrolment Drive) and “Kanya Kelavani Rath” (Girl Child Education Campaign), which has been very successful and is achieving full enrolment of all the eligible students.

However, while the extent of coverage of primary education in the state has been satisfactory, the high rate of dropout is a matter of serious concern.

Having achieved the successful enrolment, the challenge facing the Government is to improve retention and reduce the dropout.

It was discovered that apart from socio-economic reasons, absenteeism of teachers, particularly in tribal areas and remote villages is one of the most important reasons for high dropout rates,

“ All noble initiatives of the State Government lose effectiveness and seriousness, when teachers remain absent without due permission, for a long period. It was, therefore, urgently needed to have a strong and reliable mechanism to monitor attendance of teachers and students,” said a senior official.

A standalone fingerprint biometric machine with external uninterrupted power supply up to 12 hours will be installed in each primary school for recoding attendance of teachers as well as students. At the end of the month, the attendance data is transported to the taluka (Block) HQ in a portable memory device like a pen drive. This attendance data is processed with the help of a software application for getting pay rolls of teachers and other various reports.

The pilot project has great scope of further expansion depending upon its success in Narmada district. The pilot model of biometric attendance system is most likely to be replicated in all other districts of Gujarat if it is tested successfully in district like Narmada.

The expanded project is expected to cover around 40,000 schools, which are to be covered, in a phased manner, in the coming 2-3 years. 

Lift a Finger(print) to Track Employee Time

Automate hourly paid employee timekeeping with eSSL Biometric Time and Attendance System.

“Eliminate Buddy Punching” 

RFID based time and attendance systems have a big loophole: buddy punching. For example: Ram Come Lately, delayed on his way to work, can ask fellow employee Sunil Buddy to swipe Lately’s RFID employee badge through the time clock. The time clock will faithfully record Lately’s attendance before he arrives, and the employer will pay Lately for time that he didn’t work..

Biometric time systems eliminate buddy punching because they are inextricably linked to the employee, not to a token such as an employee badge or a time card.

eSSL eBiome time clock

The eSSL  eBiome time clock is a wall-mountable box with a optical fingerprint scanner, a monochrome backlit four-line LCD, and a numeric keypad with five menu-control buttons. The clock can be directly hooked up to a PC using a serial port, USB connection, or (the way I tested it) connected to a network via ethernet.

Once eSSL eBiome is installed, operations are fairly straightforward. You set up new employees using the eBiome software on the PC. Their fingerprints are then scanned and enrolled using a password-protected administration menu on the eBiome time clock.

“Easy Time Tracking”

The timekeeping process is simplicity itself. To record the start of work, an employee rests the enrolled finger on the eBiome time clock’s fingerprint sensor until it’s recognized. This requires just a second or two and is acknowledged with both a message on the display and an audio tone. To sign out from work, the employee repeats the fingerprint scan.

eSSL Logo - enterprise Software Solutions Lab

Is the eSSL eBiome Biometric Time and Attendance System worth it?

It’s certainly faster and more efficient to use than paper-based manual time tracking systems, and it’s probably more accurate than nonbiometric time systems. If you have five or more hourly paid employees, the system is cost-effective. While the ease of installation and the quality of documentation could be improved, once set up the system is simple enough to use–and it can save your business money by tracking time automatically and accurately.

September 9, 2007

Municipal employees use the fingerprint machine for attendance

A NEW METHOD: Alandur municipal employees use the machine installed by the civic body on Wednesday. TAMBARAM: A Bio Metric Finger Print Attendance Machines each for five locations in Alandur Municipality were installed on Wednesday.

This is the first of its kind in any local body in the southern suburb of Chennai.

The move is aimed at regulating the attendance of employees of the health department and also the general staff.

Municipal chairman R. S. Bharathi, vice-chairman A. Duraivelu and Commissioner N. S. Prema were present during the inaugural function near the Hindu Colony Bus Stand.

The new equipment has been installed at a cost of Rs. 4.5 lakhs from the Municipality’s general funds.

The system was launched to check the roll of attendance of around 300 staff and to ensure that they reported for duty on time. Further, it would also be easier for the municipal staff to prepare pay-rolls.

It would be foolproof, they added.

Initially it was decided to allow only 10 minutes for staff to register their attendance between 6 a.m. and 6.10 a.m., but on request, it was extended till 6.30 a.m.

Officials said the equipment used fingerprint recognition technology to record the attendance of staff.


September 5, 2007

Automated Time & Attendance Systems – A better approach

Companies of all sizes use time and attendance processes to gather information about the amount of time employees spend on the job. The most common tracking is the capture of an accurate time each employee reports to work and the actual hours they spend on the job. Other companies track detailed information on each work task or job that is performed during the day.

Time tracking devices were invented many years ago to help ease the burden of manually recording time and attendance data on paper. IBM was originally called International Time Recorder, located in Endicott, NY. Antique pendulum based wall clocks can be found in today’s market that were adapted to manually record data to paper based cards.

Small companies still utilize time clock systems because they are economical and easy to use. Just plug the clock into the wall, set the time and start recording work hours. No special computer skills are required to utilize the equipment. Several leading American manufacturers still produce these clocks which are sold in the office products retail market.

Automated Time & Attendance Systems provide an alternative to mechanical time clock systems or paper-based timesheets.

The time punch clock, or paper timesheet, is replaced with an electronic badge reader. The employee swipes an ID badge through the reader at the beginning and end of the work period. The badge reader data is copied regularly to a PC running a Time Attendance Software application that will automatically create timesheets for each employee.

Other alternatives for tracking time and attendance are biometric time clocks, web-based computer login stations, Interactive voice response (IVR) – telephony, and portable devices such as barcode scanners.

Time & Attendance Software allows companies to track and evaluate the performance and work activities of employees using a single software application. Time & Attendance Software enables employers to store, track and organise the most important employee time related information in one place. Everything needed to track and monitor employee activities and management processes is available on a computer.

Companies with large number of employees usually need to install severall Time & Attendance machines. In this case, networking becomes important. RS-485 and RS-422 network protocol is commonly applied for Time & Attendance networking. Some systems use more robust and friendly networking technology such as Ethernet and WiFi.

Prices vary depending on needs, with a small business system costing a few hundred dollars/pounds and larger systems supporting many complex functions costing several thousands of dollars/pounds. A Time & Attendance System will protect a company from potential payroll fraud, provide electronic data and will give employees confidence in the accuracy of salary payments.

September 4, 2007

Biometrics and “Return On Investment”


At this time of tight budgets, the mantra of business is “Return On Investment!” With few exceptions, expenditures are measured against the bottom line. Outlays for capital expenses are strictly evaluated in terms of profitability and the total cost of ownership. The era of purchasing new gadgets due to their “whiz-bang” factor is long gone. How can biometrics provide the sought after “R.O.I.” in this environment?

A biometric hand reader prevents a felon from entering your office or warehouse. Can this preventive measure be assigned a dollar amount? A fingerprint scan stops an unauthorized person from gaining access to your computer system. Can a value be determined?

Confusion about the cost benefits of implementing biometric technology has several origins. For example, a business may have never conducted an audit of its critical data and physical assets. This lapse may cause them to have no idea of their value if those assets are lost or compromised. A company may also be unaware of its down-stream liability if their negligence results in damage to other firms or individuals. The costs of the resulting legal consequences and liability can often be overlooked.

In fairness to many businesses, it is difficult to assign a cost to these types of issues because they represent an uncertain, and hopefully unlikely, eventuality. However, as remote as that eventuality may seem, every day many firms face stunning financial losses due to theft, fraud and legal settlements.

Are there areas of the enterprise that can clearly show the profitability of adopting biometric solutions? Predictably, the greatest profits are realized in the applications that are considered the strongest for biometrics: “system access.”

High on the list of frustrations for many companies is the plague of password problems surrounding their information systems. Denial of access, expired and forgotten passwords, log-on failures and other fiascos affect productivity and consume help desk resources. Biometrics can offer a cost effective cure for this dilemma. A formula for evaluating the R.O.I. can be roughly determined using a simple legal pad. A survey is conducted to determine the amount of time the help desk spends on password and access problems during the course of their day. After collecting this data for 30 days, calculate the percentage of hours spent on access issues against the total hours of help desk operation. This will provide a general baseline for determining the cost of these issues. For some firms it will be miniscule, but for other companies it may loom large and need attention. Surprisingly, many surveys reveal that approximately 30% of help desk resources are devoted to access and authentication issues. Estimated costs can then be calculated by evaluating the help desk’s time spent addressing these problems. If it is 20% of daily activity, for example, calculate that percent as a dollar amount of the total help desk cost. Over the course of a year, it would not be uncommon to have an annual recurring charge of $200 to $300 per employee for access issues. This dollar drain does not even consider that the hours dedicated to these repetitive tasks could be better spent elsewhere by the I.T. staff. This diversion of time and talent results in a double impact on the bottom line.

The introduction of a biometric access solution can provide benefits on different levels often resulting in reduced expenses and stronger authentication. For example, fingerprint-scanning devices for access to data and computer systems are now being adopted in greater numbers. The costs of this hardware and its supporting software can vary from an inexpensive simple fingerprint pad reader or biometric mouse to more comprehensive enterprise solutions involving the use of resident servers or licensing arrangements. A key factor in the business decision to install these technologies is to consider carefully the one-time expense for these applications and hardware versus the ongoing costs of maintaining a current system of access support with its annual and repetitive expenses.

In summary, by utilizing biometric technology to effectively deal with the issue of control and access, the enterprise may create a system that provides safer and more secure authentication at a greater savings to the bottom line- a true case of a better “R.O.I.”

Terrence F. DohenyPresident/CEOBeyond If Solutions, LLC

Terrence Doheny is President and CEO of Beyond If Solutions which provides advanced technologies for access control and information security for the individual and the enterprise.


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