Facial recognition for travel and onboarding top this week’s biometrics and digital ID news
Stories on biometrics use cases from flight boarding to onboarding, and surveillance to aid delivery made up the most-read news on Biometric Update this week. The industry continues to navigate privacy and communication issues, but also to show strong momentum.
A draft of a major tender for cloud biometrics has been published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with an estimated $960 million blanket purchase agreement (BPA). CBP is upgrading its system to process passenger applications with facial recognition as part of its Biometric Entry procedure. The aviation industry is ready to embrace a single biometrics-based token for all touchpoints in the traveler journey, and deployments, mostly on trial basis, kept up their pace this week.
A blog post from APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) checks in on the attitudes of people in Asia to facial recognition in airports, and finds that despite some critical voices, IBM’s “Future of Identity Report” shows 78 percent of people in the APAC region are comfortable using biometric authentication today, and 94 percent are interested in using them in the future.
Biometric passports and easing border control with biometrics were also prominent among the week’s top digital ID stories from Africa.
The market for facial recognition remote customer onboarding options is becoming more crowded, with Keesing, Konfirmi, and IDnow joining the fray.
On the other end of the computer vision spectrum, ZDNet spotted an image recognition accuracy study of tech giants’ offerings by Perficient Digital, which showed Google taking top spot. Perhaps more interestingly, three out of four systems beat humans for tags with greater than 90 percent confidence.
In more controversial facial recognition news, the technology has been deployed to London’s 67-acre Kings Cross estate, though apparently on a limited basis.
In response, the AI Panel of public relations professional body CIPR urges companies to be transparent about their use of facial biometrics.
“The only way to address the growing public concerns on facial recognition is through ethical, up-front communication,” states Panel deputy chair Kerry Sheehan. “Public safety benefits derived from facial recognition technologies will not be gained if issues around public trust are not addressed.”
Sheehan notes the raft of existing concerns, and the lack of a law on the books in the UK to address the technology, saying it “should never be rolled out ‘by the back door’.”
“Facial recognition technology has and will deliver significant improvements to society and the economy – but the benefits will only be realised if the public concerns are addressed, and that process starts with open communication.”
The World Economic Forum reprints a profile of Microsoft AI ethics head Tim O’Brien and his role, as an increasing number of companies considering ethical issues related to artificial intelligence.
Ever AI is distancing itself from its photo storage app roots by rebranding as Paravision, just as the company claims the top spot in the Child Exp category of NIST’s FRVT.
A different idea for how to collect sensitive data is put forward by LunaDNA, which Forbes reports is offering stock interests for genomes on a ‘data sharing’ basis. Digital privacy concerns are even rising is China, according to an AsiaOne report, where declining to share personal information can prevent individuals from being able to view a restaurant menu or purchase a movie ticket.
Earnings reports are rolling in, and Egis Technology’s 28 percent year-over-year revenue gain received a lot of attention this week. Mobile biometrics companies could receive a continued boost from Google’s rollout of biometric authentication for its services on Android, though the initial launch is modest in scope.
HYPR’s use of biometrics and decentralized data to replace passwords and data honeypots, and Samsung NEXT’s belief in the technology as the most cost-effective way for businesses to defeat hackers and protect customer data are discussed in a company blog post.
Mastercard, meanwhile, is going after mobile payments with a solution leveraging behavioral biometrics in India, a partnership with mobile payment app Mezu, and the Apple Card, which will feature on-device biometrics and also require a one-time code.
The UNHCR’s biometric registration program for Rohingya refugees has surpassed half a million people, which also makes it more than halfway to completion. The agency has now launched its biometrics-based Global Distribution Tool to improve aid delivery efficiency.
The World Bank has published an article outlining the potential benefits of inclusive and trusted digital ID for the world’s most vulnerable people. ID4D Group-supported projects including Morocco’s new digital ID and National Population Registry (NPR) and the careful balance they must strike to deliver their intended benefits without introducing new harms are discussed, and examples given in the style of ID4D’s hashtag campaign #EveryID Has a Story.
“IDs are taken for granted by those who have them,” says World Bank Vice President for Infrastructure Makhtar Diop. “But lack of identification creates barriers for each individual affected and for the countries they live in.”
A major risk made headlines this week, as the discovery of a vulnerability in the BioStar 2 biometric access control system by vpnMentor seems to have come in time to prevent a major leak of unencrypted biometric data.
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