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Access control readers - Expert commentary

The EU called for a ban on police use of facial recognition but not commercial use. Why?
The EU called for a ban on police use of facial recognition but not commercial use. Why?

Recently, the European Parliament called for a ban on police use of facial recognition. In the US, too, some cities have restricted police use of facial recognition. The first question that comes to mind is - why ban police from using technology that is allowed to private companies? Point of difference The key difference between the way police use facial recognition and the way commercial facial recognition products work is that: The police get a picture of a suspect from a crime scene and want to find out: "Who is the person in the picture?" That requires as wide a database as possible. Optimally - photos and identities of all the people in the world. Commercial facial recognition products such as those used by supermarkets, football stadiums, or casinos answer different questions: "Is the person in the picture on the employees' list? Is the person in the picture on a watch-list of known shoplifters?" To answer these questions doesn't require a broad database but rather a defined list of employees or a watch-list of specific people against whom there is an arrest warrant or a restraining order. Use of facial recognition AnyVision helps organisations leverage facial recognition ethically to identify known persons of interest "Facial Recognition Apps Should Be Provided to the Police with an Empty Database". This is exactly the subject of the open letter sent by AnyVision, to the British Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Prof. Fraser Sampson, titled: "Facial Recognition Apps Should Be Provided to the Police with an Empty Database". AnyVision recently raised $235M from Softbank and another leading VCs is a visual AI platform company that helps organisations across the globe leverage facial recognition ethically to identify known persons of interest, including shoplifters, felons, and security threats. Ethical use of facial recognition AnyVision CEO Avi Golan wrote, "The ethical use of facial recognition is a thorny one and requires a nuanced discussion. Part of that discussion has to explain how facial recognition works, but, just as important, the discussion must also involve how the technology is used by police departments and what checks and balances are built into their processes.” “We recommend building their watchlists from the ground up based on known felons, persons of interest, and missing persons. Some facial recognition solution providers have scrapped billions of photos and identities of people from social networks, usually without their consent." "Unfortunately, this method of facial recognition has justifiably angered privacy groups and data protection agencies around the globe and damaged the public trust in accuracy and reliability of facial recognition systems.” Preventing invasion of citizen’s privacy We believe an unjustified invasion of citizens' privacy can be prevented, false arrests can be reduced" “We believe that lists of suspects should be limited and justified. In this way, unjustified invasion of citizens' privacy can be prevented, false arrests can be reduced and public confidence in technology can be increased.” Golan added: "AnyVision is willing to share its industry insights and best practices from our vast research experience with leading global players, including name-brand retailers, global hospitality and entertainment companies, and law enforcement agencies from around the world.” Balancing public order and crime prevention “If the regulations set forth by Surveillance Camera Code of Practice are committed to the principles outlined above, then law enforcement agencies can strike the right balance between the need to maintain public order and prevent crime with the rights of every person to privacy and non-discrimination before the law." Recently Clearview AI CEO told Wired; the company has scraped 10 billion photos from the web - 3 times more than was previously known.

Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics
Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics

Household adoption of smart home systems currently sits at 12.1% and is set to grow to 21.4% by 2025, expanding the market from US$ 78.3 billion to US$ 135 billion, in the same period. Although closely linked to the growth of connectivity technologies, including 5G, tech-savvy consumers are also recognising the benefits of next-generation security systems, to protect and secure their domestic lives. Biometric technologies are already commonplace in our smartphones, PCs and payment cards, enhancing security without compromising convenience. Consequently, manufacturers and developers are taking note of biometric solutions, as a way of levelling-up their smart home solutions. Biometrics offer enhanced security As with any home, security starts at the front door and the first opportunity for biometrics to make a smart home genius lies within the smart lock. Why? Relying on inconvenient unsecure PINs and codes takes the ‘smart’ out of smart locks. As the number of connected systems in our homes increase, we cannot expect consumers to create, remember and use an ever-expanding list of unique passwords and PINs. Indeed, 60% of consumers feel they have too many to remember and the number can be as high as 85 for all personal and private accounts. Biometric solutions strengthen home access control Biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control Doing this risks consumers becoming apathetic with security, as 41% of consumers admit to re-using the same password or introducing simple minor variations, increasing the risk of hacks and breaches from weak or stolen passwords. Furthermore, continually updating and refreshing passwords, and PINs is unappealing and inconvenient. Consequently, biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control. Positives of on-device biometric storage Biometric authentication, such as fingerprint recognition uses personally identifiable information, which is stored securely on-device. By using on-device biometric storage, manufacturers are supporting the 38% of consumers, who are worried about privacy and biometrics, and potentially winning over the 17% of people, who don’t use smart home devices for this very reason. Compared to conventional security, such as passwords, PINs or even keys, which can be spoofed, stolen, forgotten or lost, biometrics is difficult to hack and near impossible to spoof. Consequently, homes secured with biometric smart locks are made safer in a significantly more seamless and convenient way for the user. Biometric smart locks Physical access in our domestic lives doesn’t end at the front door with smart locks. Biometrics has endless opportunities to ease our daily lives, replacing passwords and PINs in all devices. Biometric smart locks provide personalised access control to sensitive and hazardous areas, such as medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, safes, kitchen appliances and bike locks. They offer effective security with a touch or glance. Multi-tenanted sites, such as apartment blocks and student halls, can also become smarter and more secure. With hundreds of people occupying the same building, maintaining high levels of security is the responsibility for every individual occupant. Biometric smart locks limit entry to authorised tenants and eliminate the impact of lost or stolen keys, and passcodes. Furthermore, there’s no need for costly lock replacements and when people leave the building permanently, their data is easily removed from the device. Authorised building access Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door, but also throughout the entire building, such as washing rooms, mail rooms, bike rooms and community spaces, such as gyms. Different people might have different levels of access to these areas, depending on their contracts, creating an access control headache. But, by having biometric smart locks, security teams can ensure that only authorised people have access to the right combination of rooms and areas. Convenience of biometric access cards Additionally, if building owners have options. The biometric sensors can be integrated into the doors themselves, thereby allowing users to touch the sensor, to unlock the door and enter. Furthermore, the latest technology allows biometric access cards to be used. This embeds the sensor into a contactless keycard, allowing the user to place their thumb on the sensor and tap the card to unlock the door. This may be preferable in circumstances where contactless keycards are already in use and can be upgraded. Smarter and seamless security In tandem with the growth of the smart home ecosystem, biometrics has real potential to enhance our daily lives, by delivering smarter, seamless and more convenient security. Significant innovation has made biometrics access control faster, more accurate and secure. Furthermore, today’s sensors are durable and energy efficient. With the capacity for over 10 million touches and ultra-low power consumption, smart home system developers no longer have to worry about added power demands. As consumers continue to invest in their homes and explore new ways to secure and access them, biometrics offers a golden opportunity for market players, to differentiate and make smart homes even smarter.

Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) – what you need to know about modern and future proof access control security?
Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) – what you need to know about modern and future proof access control security?

Access control and management of trusted identities are the building blocks of security, safety, and site management policies for many businesses and organisations. The current pandemic has compounded this with the introduction of new policies and regulations, particularly around social distancing and contact tracing. Most organisations will have some form of legacy access control in place, ranging from the most simplistic options, such as locks and keys, to technology-based systems. The issue with legacy systems of any type is that risks, just like technology, evolve. What was secure, convenient, and efficient a few years ago is often found wanting as the threat landscape changes. The standards governing the development and testing of physical access control systems (PACS) have also evolved to improve security and product interoperability. An example is the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), introduced 10 years ago as an alternative to the antiquated and vulnerable Clock-and-Data and Wiegand protocols. However, when it comes to planning infrastructure upgrades or implementing new tools, businesses must carry out due diligence to ensure the solutions are future-proof and deliver the expected level of security. Vulnerabilities and challenges In the early 1980s, Clock-and-Data and Wiegand protocols were widely adopted as the de-facto standard for interoperability between access control readers and physical access controllers. Those de-facto standards were later formalised and adopted into industry standards by the Security Industry Association in the 1990s. Wiegand is unencrypted and unable to protect from “man in the middle” attacks and vulnerabilities  There were weaknesses, though, Wiegand is unencrypted and unable to protect from “man in the middle” attacks and vulnerabilities from the reader to the controller. Not only that, but Wiegand delivers limited range options and is operationally inefficient. It is also easy to target via its learnable language and a host of hacking devices available via online sources. Furthermore, the retrofitting installation alongside a legacy system is complicated for integrators and expensive for organisations, as most readers require dedicated home-run wiring. Extensive wiring on a large-scale project, such as a school or corporate campus, results in considerable — often prohibitive — costs for the installation of a PACS. Legacy access control protocol Despite the well-publicised vulnerabilities and weaknesses, Wiegand is still one of the most common protocols in legacy access control, with estimates indicating it is used in more than 90 percent of installed systems. This not only presents issues about physical security but also raises concerns relating to the protection of personal data. Access control systems not only contain information about who can and cannot use certain doors. OSDP is a communication standard Modern systems include a wide range of personal data, ranging from qualifications and certifications of individuals, home contact details, and even medical conditions or HR and employment information. With the potential fines associated with GDPR breaches, companies need to take this concern seriously. These weaknesses pushed the security industry to adopt a new protocol: Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP). This access control communications standard was developed by Mercury Security (now part of HID Global) and HID Global in 2008, and donated, free of intellectual property, to the Security Industry Association (SIA) to improve interoperability among access control and security products. Since then, it has been adopted as a standard by SIA, becoming the first secure, bidirectional reader/controller protocol to be governed by a major standards body in the security industry. In 2020 OSDP reached an additional milestone in becoming an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard. Why implement OSDP as a standard? OSDP is the only protocol that is secure and open for communication between readers and controllers The growth of networked devices, such as video and access control products, has led to an increased demand for converged solutions. Businesses and organisations recognise the value of implementing an integrated solution to enhance security and add value to technology investment. OSDP is the only protocol that is secure and open for communication between readers and controllers and is also being widely adopted by industry-leading reader and controller manufacturers. It is an evolving, ‘living standard,’ making it a safer, more robust, future-proof option for governing physical access control systems. OSDP offers important benefits: 1) Increased security Implementing OSDP standards can increase security, as OSDP with Secure Channel Protocol (SCP) supports AES-128 encryption that is required in U.S. federal government applications. Additionally, OSDP constantly monitors wiring to protect against tampering, removing the guesswork since the encryption and authentication are predefined. 2) Bidirectional communication Early on, communication protocols such as Wiegand were unidirectional, with external card readers sending information one way to a centralized access control platform. OSDP has transformed the ability for information to be collected, shared, and acted upon with the addition of bidirectional communication for configuration, status monitoring, tampering, and malfunction detection, and other valuable functions. In fact, OSDP is the only open, non-proprietary, bidirectional, secure protocol for communication between card reader and physical access controller. 3) Open and interoperable OSDP adds new technology that enhances its ability to protect incoming and outgoing data collection OSDP supports IP communications and point-to-point serial interfaces, enabling customers to flexibly enhance system functionality as needs change and new threats emerge. They also can proactively add new technology that enhances their ability to protect incoming and outgoing data collection through a physical access control system. 4) Reduced installation costs OSDP’s use of two wires (as compared to a potential of 11 wires with Wiegand) allows for multi-drop installation, supervised connections to indicate reader malfunctions, and scalability to connect more field devices. Daisy-chaining accommodates many readers connected to a single controller, eliminating the need to run home-run wiring for each reader, and the use of a four-conductor cable achieves up to 10x longer distances between reader and controller than Wiegand while also powering the reader and sending/receiving data. 5) User friendly OSDP gives credential holders greater ease of use, with audio and visual feedback such as coloured lights, audible beeps, and the ability to display alerts on the reader. For security administrators, managing and servicing OSDP-enabled readers also becomes increasingly convenient, as OSDP-enabled readers can be remotely configured from network-connected locations. Users can poll and query readers from a central location, eliminating the cost and time to physically visit and diagnose malfunctioning devices. Unlimited application enhancements OSDP streamlines installations and upgrades while saving organisations the expense of replacing readers  OSDP supports advanced smartcard technology applications, including PKI/FICAM and biometrics, and other enhanced authentication protocols used in applications that require Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliance and interactive terminal capabilities. Audio-visual user feedback mechanisms provide a rich, user-centric access control environment. OSDP offers advantages for users, administrators, and integrators, alike. It adds security and real-world efficiencies, and its interoperability ensures that organisations can use systems from numerous manufacturers as they invest in infrastructure that maximises the protection of critical data. For our part, HID Global’s range of HID Signo readers is OSDP verified, ensuring they offer the intended interoperability and security for secure bidirectional communication and provide an easy migration from Wiegand devices. In a campus environment, OSDP streamlines installations and upgrades while saving organisations the expense of replacing readers if a new access control solution is implemented. There are also service and maintenance benefits as OSDP encourages continuous monitoring of system uptime and allows for remote configuration of -- or upgrades to -- a reader. Cost savings upon system upgrade Integrators can also capitalise on the introduction of OSDP by encouraging open standards, which can, in turn, help them build new customer relationships and win more projects. Although upgrading to access control systems that adhere to OSDP standards is a significant initiative, the range of benefits outweighs the cost of upgrading. Increased security coupled with business efficiencies adds value for those administering the system and a high level of interoperability ensures users can deploy systems from numerous third-party manufacturers. Integrators who understand the benefits of OSDP can also help their customers support both current and future technology requirements. When a site’s needs change, OSDP offers significant cost savings as the open functionality makes adding new devices easier and reduces the expense of requiring all readers to be replaced if a new solution is installed. Businesses and organisations transitioning to OSDP will also enhance value in terms of operational costs such as servicing and maintenance.

Latest ASSA ABLOY news

ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle offers a secure and cost-efficient access control solution for primary schools
ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle offers a secure and cost-efficient access control solution for primary schools

ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle door entry solution is a simple solution for keeping private rooms very private, in order to allow access only to those who require it and authorised personnel. Code Handle door entry solution The PIN code setting of the Code Handle access control solution allows users to keep control of who has access, particularly important when they want to keep items away from children. In primary schools, Code Handle protects each and every room that staff and security don’t want pupils to access. This ensures that only authorised teachers and support staff, who know the code to unlock the door, can access these rooms. All they need to do is enter the code on the Code Handle‘s keypad and the door opens. Works together with existing locking units Code Handle, by ASSA ABLOY, works in combination with the existing locking units Code Handle, by ASSA ABLOY, works in combination with the existing locking units, already installed in facilities. Users can keep the cylinder or lock, and just change the handle to a battery-powered Code Handle. With Code Handle, there is no need to cable the door, connect it to the mains or install an electronic access control system. The Code Handle door entry solution is perfect for staff offices, kitchens, store rooms, staff toilets, or any other school room that is to be kept private and secure. ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle has various benefits, including: Auto-lock - Staff rooms are used many times, throughout the day, With Code Handle’s auto lock feature, there is no need to remember to lock the door, when exiting. Easy to install and retrofit - All it takes is two screws and two minutes of time, to install Code Handle on almost any interior door. Keyless and convenient - Secure rooms with no keys, no wires and no expensive access control system, with the Code Handle door entry solution.

ASSA ABLOY explains important wireless access solutions for healthcare facilities
ASSA ABLOY explains important wireless access solutions for healthcare facilities

Security at healthcare premises has never been higher on the agenda. Patients expect safety and privacy. Yet many medical locations must be open and accessible around the clock. The protection of drugs, vaccines, equipment and data makes it critical to know who accesses where, and when. Mechanical lock-and-key security was not designed to meet these challenges. Wireless locking devices provide the easiest upgrade or replacement for any access system based on mechanical or magnetic locks. Smartcards, programmable keys or secure mobile keys stored on a smartphone can replace cumbersome physical keys. Online locking systems When access control extends throughout a hospital, healthcare professionals waste less of their valuable time searching for the right key. A personalised credential is pre-programmed to open every door, lock or store they need to access. A personalised credential is pre-programmed to open every door, lock or store they need to access For building managers and healthcare agencies, wireless devices make it cost-effective to add electronic control to many more areas of a building. With online locking systems, facility managers monitor and manage premises in real-time, viewing the status of doors, medicine cupboards and server racks from one software interface. Physical key management Example #1: Upgrading to intelligent physical keys - Physical key management can hinder patient care, as pharmacy nurses at the UK’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham discovered. An older, mechanical system made it difficult to find who held the right keys for medicine stores. Nurses were wasting valuable time searching. Managers identified a better solution: CLIQ® electromechanical locks. With CLIQ, power to each access control lock is supplied by a standard battery inside every key. No wires are required, so this is an easy retrofit solution for doors, cabinets and drug trolleys. Each employee carries one programmable key to open all authorised locks. “The message from nursing staff is that patients are getting medicines much easier and in a more timely fashion,” says Inderjit Singh, Chief Pharmacist at QE Birmingham. “For us, the key return on investment is the quality of service we’re providing.” Swapping mechanical lock The hospital added secure doors without excessive installation or operating costs Example #2: Integrating hardware to extend access control - Swapping a mechanical lock for a battery-powered device can link another door to an existing access control system. It instantly upgrades security for sensitive offices and drug stores. At the Haute Savoie region’s new hospital, managers selected Aperio locking integrated online with an ARD security system. Because Aperio locks are wireless and integrate easily with any access system, the hospital added secure doors without excessive installation or operating costs. Staff no longer waste time hunting down keys. “Having just a single badge — and not having to carry around heavy keys — has been a major advantage,” says Béatrice Dequidt, Health Executive at CHMS. “We have implemented internal HR management procedures, creating badges that are automatically integrated into ARD's operating software,” adds Alain Gestin, CHMS’s IT Systems Architect. Access control system Example #3: Mobile keys to reducing shared touchpoints - Multiple key systems; varied openings including fire doors, glass doors, offices, pharmacies, car parks and lifts; hundreds of workers and contractors whose access permissions constantly change. Faced with these challenges, Hospital MAZ, in Zaragoza, upgraded their mechanical locking to a new SMARTair Wireless Online electronic access control system. Because SMARTair Wireless Online updates in real-time via communications hubs, security managers handle everything from the central system. Staff and contractors carry a single smartcard ID, programmed with individual permissions Staff and contractors carry a single smartcard ID, programmed with individual permissions. At any time, hospital managers can upgrade to SMARTair Openow mobile access without changing lock hardware. This option offers contactless entry for employees, who keep mobile keys updated on their own smartphones. "We have achieved all our objectives with the installation of the system,” says Miguel Angel Hernández Jerez at Hospital MAZ. Electronic PIN lock Example #4: Door security without software - In any busy medical facility, it is easy to leave a door unlocked. With expensive equipment or controlled drugs on the other side, any opening invites opportunists. Installing a Code Handle® electronic PIN lock takes the worry away — without the need for any complex installation or software activation. In Spain’s Basque Country, Fylab chose this simple solution for three consulting-room doors. “I am no artist or handyman, but I managed to fit the handles within 10 minutes,” says Fylab founder, Borja Saldias Retegui. Their Code Handle devices secure both wooden and glass doors, keeping equipment and personal belongings safe.

ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle digital PIN locking device ensures authorised access to school staff rooms and equipment stores
ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle digital PIN locking device ensures authorised access to school staff rooms and equipment stores

Staff and school administrators can relax, when they know private rooms and equipment stores in schools are properly secured. Currently, many teachers must carry around cumbersome keys, in order to ensure that pupils do not enter rooms, which could put themselves or valuable school equipment at risk. With ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle electronic locking solution, this is possible without having to constantly lock and unlock doors with keys. Instead, a PIN is all that is required to ensure authorised access control. Code Handle with built-in digital PIN keypad Adding a Code Handle lock brings a sense of security and privacy to the staff room Code Handle is a locking handle with built-in digital PIN keypad. It upgrades security at any private interior door that opens to a public or busy space. Users simply have to swap the existing door handle for a Code Handle locking solution, in order to add digital PIN security, without keys or any push-button mechanical lock. Adding a Code Handle lock brings a sense of security and privacy to the staff room. Teachers can leave marked work or mobile phones safe in the knowledge that no pupils may enter. A Code Handle makes it easy to separate pupil toilets from PIN-protected staff toilets. Key equipment secured with Code Handle With Code Handle fitted to just a few important doors around the building, school principals can be sure that sports equipment, musical instruments, cleaning stores and kitchens are protected against unauthorised access or theft. Authorised door users do not even need to remember to lock up, as Code Handle locks itself, when the door is closed and for added safety, allows simple, code-free exit from the inside. Easy to retrofit to almost any internal door ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle door entry solution can bring keyless and wire-free digital security to schools ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle door entry solution can bring keyless and wire-free digital security to schools, without disrupting the day for staff and students. Fitting a Code Handle device takes just two screws, wherein an installer leaves the existing cylinder or locks in place, and simply swaps the old handle for a Code Handle device. It is easy to install, even for non-specialists. With the administrator’s Master Code access, a school caretaker or office manager can issue up to nine different 4- to 6-digit PINs to authorised users and amend, or cancel PINs, whenever they choose or deem necessary. Digital security and high-capacity batteries To power the lock’s digital security, standard batteries slot into the handle itself. There is no need to run cables to the door or to connect to the main power supply. Code Handle device also does not warrant the need to use any access control software. Batteries typically last 30,000 lock/unlock cycles, before requiring replacement. A visual indicator on the handle prompts when it is time to change the batteries. ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle is a robust, fire door-compliant (EN 1634) access control solution, with a certified lifetime warranty of at least 100,000 operations. Code Handle’s design also makes disinfecting easier. Unlike mechanical push-button PIN locks, a Code Handle device has a smoother surface, without corners or ridges. Germs have fewer places to hide on this device. A disinfected damp cloth, no direct liquid spraying, is all that is needed to keep the device hygienic and school doors, and stores secured at all times.

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