Biometric card progress, facial recognition regulation and revenues top identity news of the week
A step in the commercialization of biometric payment cards is the most-read story on Biometric Update this week, with the slow march toward regulation and the somewhat less slow jog toward revenues from various applications of facial recognition a common theme in our other top stories.
The launch of a biometric credit card to limited commercial release in Switzerland was read by the most visitors to Biometric Update this week. The card is produced by Gemalto with Fingerprint Cards technology, and issued in partnership with Visa, and is the latest sign that the payment card market is on track for explosive growth.
A new bipartisan bill has been introduced into U.S. Congress which would force government agencies to obtain court orders before using facial recognition, in the latest of a series of early-stage actions. The proposal comes just as Fight for the Future performed biometric facial identification searches across D.C. as a publicity stunt. Across the Atlantic, France’s digital regulator CNIL issued guidance, with examples, to clarify its position on the criteria for facial recognition deployments to be complaint with the country’s human rights rules, in another of the week’s top stories. Some biometrics skeptics are declining to use passcodes instead of fingerprints or facial recognition to unlock their smartphones, The Washington Post reports, and supporting their decision with the usual jumble of misinformation about technology and justifiable lack of trust in data privacy.
CPO Magazine features an editorial this week from ImageWare Systems Business Development Rep Alex Hunter, arguing that because biometric data is easy to hack, regulations requiring oversight and strong security are needed.
One human rights organization that has not had a major share of recent headlines expressing worries about facial recognition is Amnesty International, which has instead been working on a report in which it suggests that the business model of Facebook and Google amounts to perpetual surveillance, and amounts to “one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.” Consumer and government concern over data sharing may finally be increasing too, as NBC Connecticut reports.
In positive developments for the biometrics market, new smart home cameras and different types of locks are being launched to the U.S. consumer market, perhaps indicating a growing sense that enough people are convinced of the convenient security benefits of biometrics to drive demand. Businesses also continue to invest in facial recognition, with a fintech company bringing face biometric payments to Australia, a Spanish grocery retailer launching a similar solution, and a cannabidiol products company buying a controlling stake in a biometric vending machine maker.
The use of facial recognition and other digital technologies by physical retailers in as they try to compete with online retailers is extensively explored by Abacus. The number of people who have bought apparel online who have also shopped at physical stores within the past three months has increased by 5 percent from 2017 numbers, among other indications that the strategy may be working. At the same time, the friction caused by payment detail entry in traditional ecommerce authentication processes is driving online retailers towards biometrics, The Financial Times writes, though not everyone has access to mobile device biometrics, and the modalities that will be used seem uncertain.
A flurry of reports from market analysts forecast growth in several areas of the biometrics industry, and demand for advanced security systems, cloud service subscriptions, and investment by the Pentagon are expected to boost others.
Editorials and opinion pieces are prominent among digital ID news out of Africa this week, along with developments in biometric deployments for telecom regulation, industry grant distribution, and access control. Biometric Update is pleased to report that Women in Identity Co-founder Emma Lindley has raised more than £7,900 (over U.S.$10,100) in her GoFundMe campaign to fund the attendance of more women at ID4Africa 2020. Then she did her part by climbing the tallest mountain in North Africa.
In industry financial news, Viisights has announced an impressive $10 million Series A funding round, which it will use to further develop its AI computer vision technology for behavior recognition. The company also has strategic integrator partnerships with NEC and Motorola Solutions.
Third quarter results also continued to roll in, with fingerprint sensor-makers reporting reasons for optimism amid a market which has become, for several reasons, somewhat tumultuous. Precise Biometrics is one of those companies, and its move into other areas, including the newly-announced integration of passive liveness technology into its facial recognition system for physical access control, could be considered a reflection of both the tumult and the opportunity.
Further on the theme of strategic shift, ZDNet offers an interesting interview with a pair of executives from Nuance regarding the company’s new focus on conversational AI and biometrics. Nuance still has a controlling interest in, and a strong relationship with, its auto spinoff Cerence, but has broken down all its internal silos to make the company more unified.
In online ID, Ubisecure CEO Simon Wood writes for ITProPortal that the rise of API-based IDaaS offerings is enabling developers to build SSO and other digital identity tools into their apps to meet business goals without compromising security. The professionalization of the cybercrime industry, complete with a criminal business services ecosystem, is examined in an interesting but disturbing blog post from behavioral biometrics fraud-hunting company buguroo. DarkReading interviews Nok Nok Labs CEO Phil Dunkelberger and HaveIBeenPwned creator Troy Hunt on the future of the password. Hunt offers a “gentlemen’s bet” that we have more of them in five years.
Is former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s new job something to do with online identity? Possibly; according to the Observer, it involves AI and the “contacts, events and groups space.” We’ll reportedly find out in the next few months.
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