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Biometrics research, facial recognition, authentication and access control trending this week


Here is a recap of the most popular biometrics industry news that appeared on BiometricUpdate.com this past week.

Research and development

Researchers at Mu’tah University in Jordan are using an artificial intelligence algorithm and biometrics to identify a person using hand geometry and more specifically, the “V” signs terrorists sometimes make when posing for photos or videos. Ahmad Hassanat and his team told the MIT Technology Review: “Identifying a person using a small part of the hand is a challenging task, and has, to the best of our knowledge, never been investigated.”

Michigan State (MSU) researchers, Anil Jain and Kai Cao, have discovered an inexpensive and quick method to unlock a mobile phone protected by fingerprint biometrics using an off-the-shelf printer, special photo paper and conductive silver ink. The researchers detailed the process in a technical report and explained how this method can generate fake fingerprints more rapidly than previous methods using latex or wood glue.

A Canadian research project is looking at the use of iris recognition to help homeless people get around the problem of accessing healthcare without proper identification. The Lawson Research Institute is one of the largest hospital-based research institutes in Canada and is committed to furthering scientific knowledge to advance health care around the world.

Valencell has secured $11M in Series D financing and plans to use the funds to continue its triple-digit growth and accelerate its innovation in accurate biometric wearable technology. This round of funding will help the Valencell team accelerate R&D and growth initiatives to take advantage of the rapidly expanding biometric sensors market.

Financial services

Wells Fargo & Co. will soon let corporate clients sign in to its commercial banking app using either EyeVerify’s Eyeprint ID system or via a facial and voice recognition system. The bank will also be introducing fingerprint authentication to sign into its mobile banking app for non-business customers. Using biometric authentication to sign in replaces the need for corporate clients to use a user name, password, corporate ID number and a code from a security token.

MasterCard is using Daon’s IdentityX platform as one of the authentication technologies behind MasterCard Identity Check. MasterCard Identity Check takes a layered approach to security, including device cryptography, geolocation, and biometric verification that gives consumers a safe and easy way to make payments online and helps merchants reduce cart abandonment.

Toronto based authentication solution firm Nymi collaborated with NXP Semiconductors at this year’s RSA Conference to demo physical access, logical access and contactless payment capabilities of the Nymi Band. NXP provides Nymi with the Nymi Band’s secure element and NFC components that enables physical and logical access and payment functionality in a secure, single solution.

Nigeria recently identified and removed more than 23,000 non-existent or ‘ghost’ workers from its state payroll by auditing biometric data and bank verification numbers to identify holders of bank accounts into which salaries were being paid. These cases of fraud were identified with the help of the automatic biometric identification system of the Nigerian banks, supplied by the German company DERMALOG.

Facial recognition

Consumers and privacy experts are raising concerns about the extent of surveillance in some high-end retail stores and what is being done with the data being collected. The surveillance technology, which includes software able to recognize individual shoppers’ faces, poses a number of risks according to privacy expert Geoff White, counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Google has become the latest technology firm to face legal action after being accused of violating the 2008 Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act over the use of facial recognition technology and photo sharing. The Illinois statute requires companies that gather biometric data to notify people about the practice before collecting data, and to publish a schedule for destroying the information.

Border security

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is testing Unisys‘ biometric identity solution in an outdoor, pedestrian environment at the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego as part of its pilot project to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. In this phase, which began in February and will run until May, selected non-U.S. citizens submit their machine-readable or RFID-enabled travel documents as well as facial and iris biometrics as they are exiting the United States. In related news, Unisys has appointed a 20-year veteran of the FBI to lead its newly formed Justice, Law Enforcement and Border Security initiative.


Tore Etholm-Idsøe, CEO of NEXT Biometrics and fingerprint sensor expert, appeared on the National Public Radio (NPR) syndicated talk show “Here & Now” to discuss the growing use of fingerprint technology in daily life, including in smart cards, PCs, tablets, access control for homes and businesses, smart phones and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.


This past week, the Indian government introduced legislation that will add a privacy protection framework to Aadhaar. The proposed bill demands that the UIDAI take all necessary steps to ensure the confidentiality of identity data within the system. This will include storing all Aadhaar data in a centralized database known as the “Central Identities Data Repository”.


BiometricUpdate.com had the opportunity to interview Mark Lockie, event director for connect:ID, and he discussed the conference’s new format, what attendees can expect from the conference and exhibition, and key topics that will be covered over the three days. connect:ID 2016 is set to take place at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC from March 14 through 16.

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