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Facial recognition lawsuits, regulations, proposals and launches lead biometrics news this week

Facial recognition lawsuits, regulations, proposals and launches lead biometrics news stories of the week

Court cases, hearings and proposals for regulation of facial regulation made up many of the top headlines of the week for the biometrics and digital ID industries. Major new projects are coming online from urban safety to border protection, changes to laws are being considered, and laws are driving changes in practice, but how to protect biometric data privacy while still benefiting from the technology remains hotly debated.

Jumio is settling a BIPA lawsuit for $7 million, and the company’s Global VP of Marketing Dean Nicholls explains to Biometric Update why its work to update its SDKs and help customers operating in Illinois meet their biometric privacy requirements is an acknowledgement of the issue’s importance, even though the company maintains it did not violate the law.

Reports indicate the European Union has turned away from the option of a five-year moratorium on facial recognition in public spaces, though the latest draft of the region’s Artificial Intelligence strategy notes the importance of clear criteria for the legitimacy of mass-scale biometrics system deployments. The proposed strategy will be presented on February 19.

The progress of legal proposals and proceedings around facial biometrics at the national, state and provincial levels this week show differing levels of concern and different options for improving frameworks and practices. Some of those proceedings are likely to show up among next week’s top stories as well.

A guest post on the shifting legal landscape for facial recognition in the U.S., the first of two from Blank Rome LLP Partner Jeffrey N. Rosenthal and Associate David J. Oberly, was also among our most-read stories. Part one provides an overview of the challenges and environment, while part two offers tips and strategies for businesses. The National Sheriff’s Association is working on its own review of facial recognition, and will study technical issues and appropriate guidelines. The group is headed by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gaultieri, “the star cop in Florida politics.”

In Russia meanwhile, Moscow has launched a live public facial recognition network with NtechLab biometric software. NtechLab CEO Alexey Minin says the network is the largest live operation of its kind in the world.

Malaysia’s government is acquiring 16 e-gates with facial recognition for use by its Immigration Department in checks at the Malaysia-Singapore border. Local IT solutions provider Datasonic won the one-year, $1.7 million contract, over 17 competitors.

The shutdown of Kenya’s Huduma Namba project pending data protection improvements was naturally the top story in our African digital ID coverage, which was as usual one of our top stories of the week. Biometric registrations of SIM cards, inmates, and public sector workers around the continent also made headlines.

An editorial in India Legal warns that without improvements in data protection legislation and enforcement, India could follow China down the road to a version of the surveillance state described in George Orwell’s 1984, powered by facial recognition. India’s proposed new data privacy law, and its relation to GDPR, is also considered.

Pakistan’s government is launching a program to deliver cash income supplements to millions of women through a biometric ATM, and one of the country’s largest insurers is introducing a policy to bring accounts with savings and protection functions to remote customers by verifying customer’s fingerprint with NADRA. If successful these biometric programs could greatly increase financial inclusion in Pakistan.

A rare week without a BIPA story among the most read articles on the site may not be repeated soon, and an article on HIT Consultant suggests the healthcare industry is an increasingly common target in Illinois biometric privacy lawsuits. An editorial in The Hill argues that BIPA’s private right of action is a inflection point in state and federal law proposals, and considers the debate. A pair of federal proposals in December come down on either side of the issue.

Biometrics use in healthcare will only increase, according to a Medical Economics article which includes interviews with Imprivata Chief Medical Officer Sean Kelly, RightPatient Co-founder Michael Trader and others. Requirements for ECPS and radiation oncology, among other applications, and changing patient experience expectations are driving biometrics adoption in the vertical.

The Vero devices and cloud back-end provided by Simprints to deliver healthcare to people without formal identification are examined in a Diginomica interview with the company’s CTO and Co-founder Tristram Norman. Simprints leverages Google Cloud Platform, Firebase Realtime Database, Cloud Functions and BigQuery to operate a scalable infrastructure that handles spikes from many devices suddenly coming online after collecting data in offline mode.

The American Department of Defense, meanwhile, is looking for technological capabilities that sound like science fiction; biometric identification through walls in real-time. Technology to find people through walls is known to exist, but putting such identification capabilities into a tablet seems like a longer-term project.

Brivas Co-founder Beau Parry explains in an interview how a technology the company has received a patent for leverages facial recognition, liveness detection and cloud computing for richer authentication decisions in or near real-time. The licensing startup has kept a low profile, but is working with financial services companies and planning for growth.

A portfolio of biometric access control patents has been acquired by Charter Pacific as part of the liquidation of Securicom, and CP Executive Chairman Kevin Dart explained the situation to Biometric Update in an email.

The critical importance of liveness detection to biometric systems for ensuring security and user experience is explained by ID R&D President and CEO, and Forbes Technology Council member Alexey Khitrov in a Forbes article this week. Khitrov recommends enterprises make clear to customers how liveness adds security benefits, especially for passive liveness techniques that users may not even be aware are being used.

Fingerprint Cards Senior Director Lina Andolf-Orup writes for PaymentsSource that 2020 will see more of the pilots of biometric payment cards scale up to commercial launches. The company’s research suggests that with PSD2’s strong customer authentication requirement coming into force in September, half of card issuers in Europe have a biometrics strategy, and 90 percent will within two years.

NEC Corporation of America Vice President of Washington D.C. Office and Federal Business Benji Hutchinson is profiled in Washington Exec, and how he became a high-profile leader in the biometrics industry is explained. Watch for an upcoming Biometric Update deep-dive article featuring Hutchinson’s perspective (though not on Moliere).

Anyone within the broader biometrics and digital ID communities is invited to share a blog post, article, or any other content with others through the comments below, or by contacting us through email, social media, telephone or in person.

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