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Insider perspectives and government engagement top this week’s biometrics and digital ID news

Insider perspectives and government engagement top this week’s biometrics and digital ID news

Insider perspectives on biometric security, and airport and event applications were the top theme of the week for the most frequently read stories on Biometric Update. After something of a week off, facial recognition and controversy around biometrics came roaring back this week, with the U.S. government urged to take caution, and governments needing to step up, as the Thai government has done, to push biometric aviation systems forward.

Our top story for the week is a feature diving into the future of security-focused biometrics applications, particularly for online access control and authentication. Insiders from Infinity, IriTech, Precise Biometrics, Idemia, and Mastercard share their perspectives, revealing common ground but also significant differences of opinion.

Emmanuel Wang of Idemia also shared his thoughts on the progress towards airport deployments of biometrics, in particular as part of a single token vision of travel, for a brand focus article. Along those same lines, another popular article this week covered the partnership between Finavia, Finnair, and Sandbox of Trust to investigate the portability of biometric data for air travel.

A blog post by Idemia Digital Business Unit VP of Ecosystem Engagement Ea Chaillioux delves into the potential boost digital identity systems can give to financial inclusion efforts, taking the Jharkand State Cooperative Bank in India as an example.

This week in facial recognition controversy, the SIA warned U.S. Congress not to rush a blanket moratorium on facial recognition use, but to engage with stakeholders to develop a clear picture of what the situation really is, and therefore what kind of rules need to be put in place. A Huawei representative, meanwhile, urged the industry to listen to the range of concerns held in Europe about facial recognition’s impact on privacy. Blink Identity CEO explained to Biometric Update in a widely-read article why she shares some of the concerns of a campaign to boycott technology like her company’s, but those concerns do not actually apply to Blink, which does not operate in the way described by the campaign.

The popular MegaFace training dataset seems to include images which the owners did not consent to being used in that way. Many of the images were likely acquired under licenses or agreements that enable their use for facial recognition algorithm training, but others could create liability under statutes like BIPA.

On the positive side, Thailand is the latest country to announce it is launching a facial recognition system at its busiest airports for the check-in and flight boarding processes for increased efficiency and security. Also in the airport space, Hans Miller, who was among the first employees of the TSA, talks about biometrics and the Mobile Passport app that’s available today to speed up airport processes for Americans who chose not to pay for Global Entry in an interview this week with CN Traveler.

The fallout continues from the recent U.S. ban on a number of facial recognition companies from China, with impact felt in the U.S. government, among directly and indirectly affected companies, and around the world. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under Barak Obama Michael Posner writes for Forbes that U.S. companies and investors must develop human rights policies and meet human rights issues in China head-on when dealing with the country.

The advance of public facial recognition in Russia is also examined this week in the context of the larger surveillance system by Bloomberg. The Russian government is betting that citizens will happily trade off privacy for greater security and convenience, according to the report. Over the course of nearly three hours with Joe Rogan, Ed Snowden does not say much about biometrics, but his perspective may be of interest to anyone who follows the surveillance industry.

Amid the strained trust of biometrics in many circles, the International Committee of the Red Cross has published a new policy for processing biometric data. It sets conditions for sharing biometric data, and expresses a significant level of anxiety about the collection and handling of such sensitive personal data.

On the other hand, BehavioSec VP of Products Jordan Blake writes in a widely-read Biometric Update contributor piece about the value of behavioral biometrics for ensuring compliance and building customer trust.

Pindrop CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan expands somewhat on an argument he made to Biometric Update earlier this year, that voice biometrics can be used to detect deepfakes, but also warns that voice data could be the next honeypot of breached data, in an opinion piece for Help Net Security.

A pair of legal experts with government experience argue that a new Fourth Amendment framework for voiceprint technology is necessary, in an editorial for Just Security. Under the framework they propose each query of a database for voice biometric verification would be treated as a separate “search,” given the potential for unreasonable search capabilities otherwise presented by the combination of voice recognition and speech recognition.

The U.S. Department of Justice has changed its regulations around DNA collection to allow federal agencies to collect DNA data from detained immigrants, and the department, DHS and the FBI have been preparing for the expanded data collection.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has been reconvened by an executive order from President Trump, and its first seven members named in an announcement reported by the American Institute of Physics. The council includes representatives from IBM, Dow, biotech company Cyclo Therapeutics, S.C. Johnson & Son, Bank of America, HP Labs, and an academic. Corporate America’s embrace of digital transformation rolls on, with McDonald’s gobbling up artificial intelligence and machine learning companies over the past year, as it attempts to digitize its marketing and introduce personalized marketing through license-plate recognition, The New York Times reports. The use of facial recognition in retail and voice recognition to replace staff are referred to, but the article focuses more on fast-food chains reimagining themselves as ecommerce companies.

A policy analyst from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change says the UK government’s newly announced plan for a voter ID system avoids tackling the broader problem of digital identity in Britain in an editorial for NS Tech. He advocates for a decentralized system based on digital wallets held by users.

Please share the great articles you find that the biometrics and identity communities need to know about with Biometric Update through the usual channels, and we’ll give you a shout-out (unless you do so anonymously).

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