Name: Taha Arif Ali
Member since: 2005-07-16 10:51:28
Last Login: 2009-02-26 10:02:55


Lead Developer for Transaction Processing Terminals, Aerocar, Karachi, Pakistan Contact:

Recent blog entries by AntiMatter

7 Nov 2006 (updated 30 Apr 2008 at 12:29 UTC) »

Implementation of Biometric based authentication technology has always been a holy grail for Transaction Processing giants like NCR and Diebold,

but they have not been able to put the technology around for masses. A research [1] conducted by NCR for the usability of Biometric ATMs has revealed that implementation of such a technology would introduce following non-trivial issues: (1) Acceptence of biometric technology (over PIN) by the customers. (2) Implementation of effective enrollment process. (3) Vulnerability of the biometric devices used.

The above results were concluded from the factors like Failure to Enroll, Failure to Acquire, False Accept Rate and False Reject Rate. While NCR has high concerns over the introduction of biometric technology in ATMs, it recognises the fact that users are more than happy to access their accounts through biometric means of authentication[2].

The architecture of the Linux-based Biometric ATMs running at Tameer Microfinance Bank deals with the above mentioned issues with a very proactive and preemptive fault tolerance approach. The technology under discussion has been set up for the under-previleged lot of the society; people who could hardly write their own names. It has taken some time to educate these people about the new technology, but the realisation of the fact of being previleged is creating a wave of curiosity and enthusiasm in their lives. NCR conducted its reasearch on the well educated and selected users and were not comfortable with the consequences of this technology. However, in this case, real time analysis of the key factors like Failure to Enroll, Failure to Acquire, False Accept Rate and False Reject Rate shows that even the most common and simple users, with unequivocal fingerprint orientation, are quite comfortable to use this technology.

[1] Usability of large scale public systems: Usability and biometric verification at the ATM interface; Lynne Coventry, Antonella De Angeli, Graham Johnson, April 2003, Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM Press.

[2]Westin, A. Biometrics in the mainstream: What does the U.S. public think. Privacy and American Business Newsletter, 9,8, December 2002.

29 Oct 2006 (updated 1 May 2008 at 10:17 UTC) »

This is about the evolution that is taking place in the Pakistani Banking industry. Tameer microfinance bank, has now been set up for more than an year now. This is the first Pakistani Bank whose entire IT infrastucture is based on Open Source technologies. The most exciting thing about this microcredit bank is that they have for the first time introduced ATMs in general and Biometric ATMs in perticular, with the help and assistance of technology company Aerocar, into the Pakistani Microcredit Banking Arena. These ATMs are deployed at twelve far-fledged areas of Karachi (Business centre of Pakistan).

These ATMs are completely based on Open Source technologies with Linux running at the heart of all affairs. Most of the ATMs at the moment are running on windows implementing the famous XFS standard. At present there is no framework, as opposed to windows, for the implementation of transaction processing services on Linux. The present approach deals with this problem with a view to develop a framework to:

(a) Integrate devices from different vendors into the linux. (b) Integrate vendor independent communication protocols for transaction processing.

This type of low cost indigenous biometric solution could encourage safe and secure financial transactions for the banking industry in general and microfinance banking industry in perticular. As the microfinance banking mostly deals with the low income and illiterate sector, who are not very comfortable with pin numbers, fingerprint authentication is the natural choice for them.


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