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Business and development opportunities top this week’s biometrics and digital ID news


Telpo TPS980 face recognition machine

During a week of mostly good news for the biometrics industry, top stories on Biometric Update broadly follow themes of major revenue opportunities and improving identification systems in nations with developing economies.

Controversy around facial recognition generated the most-read and third most-read stories of the week, but in a refreshing change, the latter is a story of the technology being used responsibly, according to best practices, and working effectively to help the NYPD apprehend a suspect in a bomb scare. Even the story of Sweden issuing its first penalty under GDPR to a school for using facial recognition, the fine was minimal, and no harm appears to have been caused (don’t tell any BIPA lawyers). Facial recognition is also being used at U.S. children’s summer camps, and a Washington Post article explores the benefits and unsettling potential psychological ramifications related to surveillance, oversharing, and personal autonomy.

Amazon still drew attention for its surveillance practices, as its doorbell business Ring disclosed its partnerships with law enforcement agencies, previously thought to be “more than 50”, now number 405, PCMag reports.

Rank One announced a strong showing at the Department of Homeland Security’s Biometric Technology Rally, with its facial recognition algorithm quickly matching high volumes of subjects accurately, particularly with an acquisition system entered by Tascent. DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also each looking for biometric monitoring technology for people held in federal facilities.

The incredible opportunity facial recognition offers for businesses is shown by Megvii preparing for its IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which could be months away, but is expected to raise up to $1 billion. The impact of trade conflict between China and the U.S. may become clearer, meanwhile, as the U.S. government’s interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule banning contracts from several Chinese surveillance and biometrics companies recently took effect, Security Sales & Integration reports.

Facial recognition also makes up a large slice of the auto biometrics market, which continues to progress, and is forecast to be worth more than $300 million per year by 2024.

The airport market continues to grow, though the uncertainty that often comes with government involvement is shown by a deal between Australia’s Home Affairs Department and Idemia, which extends the life of the country’s Morpho smartgates, but seems to overlap with the intended scope of a Vision-Box contract.

More privacy regulation could be coming, with the European Commission considering new regulations to give citizens control over their biometric data. The impact of biometrics on privacy in Botswana, Morocco, Kenya and Nigeria has also been a source of recent concern, though a number of biometric service delivery and financial inclusion projects have also moved forward.

Opportunity is knocking for biometrics companies in Malaysia, where the government is about to launch a nine-month study on how to carry out an ambitious plan for a biometric national digital ID system, and specifically for Gemalto in Thailand, which has ordered 15 million biometric passports from a consortium including the Thales Group company.

Biometrics for cybersecurity could benefit some companies which are not immediately obvious, such as Diebold-Nixdorf, which holds a 35 percent share of the ATM market and has been experimenting with FIDO-enabled systems, according to Forbes. WebID Solutions Co-CEO Frank S. Jorga also argues in a recent editorial for Entrepreneur that eIDAS regulation will increase competition and cut administrative costs, citing a European Commission estimate that businesses could save €11 billion (US$12.2 billion) per year.

Senegal is attempting to provide health care to all its citizens for only $6 a year, but needs to be able to identify them. VOA interviews VP of Product and Programs Yash Shah and Founder and CEO Bruce Hanson of Credence ID, which has been contracted to help the country’s health agency implement a biometric identification system.

MOSIP is intended to make ID systems more affordable and easy to implement by freeing governments from vendor lock-in, and Tech5 says it is the first ABIS vendor to complete a full integration of the open-source platform.

Aadhaar will be used for targeted benefits delivery under the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), but a court ruling blocks it from being used as a requirement for social media account opening, and it continues to be considered as a mechanism for improving elections, as India continues to work through the uses and limits of its biometric identity system.

Next Biometrics VP of Sales for EMEA Petr Klupka argues in an International Card Manufacturers Association blog post for the ICMA that the company’s large and flexible fingerprint sensors are the most secure and practical option for the biometric payment card market. HID Global Senior Product Marketing Manager and Mobile Security Expert Fabrice Jogand-Coulomb writes in Intelligent CIO that digital identity can save national economies money, but should be implemented with regard to different private sector verification needs.

If you see an article, social media post or video that the biometrics and digital identity communities need to know about, please let us know through the usual channels.

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