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Liveness detection, FIDO2 and RSA grab headlines but Idex Biometrics tops this week’s news

Liveness detection, FIDO2 and RSA grab headlines but Idex Biometrics tops this week’s news

RSA Conference managed to go ahead this week, and grabbed a fair share of headlines, as did FIDO2 and passwordless technologies and the specifics of biometric liveness detection. The big winner of the week’s headlines on Biometric Update, however, was Idex Biometrics, which may just have seized a leadership position in a major emerging market for the biometrics industry.

The top story of the week was Idex Biometrics announcement of a breakthrough technology for biometric smartcards which could lower the cost of manufacturing, along with the latency of the transaction process, to levels enabling the fervently awaited mass-market adoption of fingerprint payment cards. CTO Anthony Eaton discussed the new BSoC with Biometric Update on the eve of its unveiling and explained how the company’s off-chip fingerprint sensor approach enables the integration. Idex Biometrics also named a new CEO, reported its 2019 earnings, and announced a design win and supply agreement for its new smartcard BSoC during a very busy week.

Active and passive liveness detection technologies are detailed in a new white paper from ID R&D, which Senior VP John Amein chatted with Biometric Update about over email, in another widely read story. What the different options are, there pros and cons, different use cases and the importance of ISO/IEC presentation attack detection (PAD) standards are discussed in the white paper.

Biometric registration for voters in Burkina Faso and for ID cards in Côte d’Ivoire, along with efforts to reopen closed borders in the ECOWAS region were among the top news in digital ID from Africa this week. A proposal to improve the integration of Mano River Union with biometrics, meanwhile, could help tackle financial and governance challenges national ID schemes have yet to meet.

Nok Nok Labs VP of Products Dr. Rolf Lindemann told Biometric Update in an interview that the company’s new SDK for biometric authentication to IoT devices addresses a critical weak point in the burgeoning IoT industry. Securing edge devices will be particularly important if the evolving IoT is going to hold vast amounts of personal and sensitive data, as expected, which Lindemann says will attract attackers.

The legal landscape for biometric data also continues to evolve. Differences in the standing criteria for civil suits between federal and state courts has led to the dismissal of a pair of biometric privacy lawsuits filed under Illinois’ BIPA. One of the cases also included a novel defense strategy, and both may find their way to county courts soon enough.

Two different companies launched USB security keys with fingerprint biometrics for Azure AD access at RSA, both leveraging the FIDO2 protocol. Several other stories related to RSA also came out this week, covering more passwordless technologies and this year’s Infosec Awards. Last week TypingDNA announced it would demonstrate typing biometrics at the event. An interesting experiment was conducted at RSA this year, TechRepublic reports, with a team of journalists and other attendees playing the role of black hats attempting to disrupt or cast into doubt the results of a simulated election with deepfakes and other digital tools. Law enforcement and city officials defended the election system of the fictional city, and mostly succeeded in minimizing the chaos caused by the pretend malicious actors.

Deepfake videos have been created and disseminated by the Delhi BJP to influence the Indian election by having an official deliver a video speech in a language he does not speak, marking the entrance of deepfakes into real elections, according to Vice. The article considers the significant implications of deepfake use, even for such benign-seeming purposes.

A system for cloaking digital images from facial recognition systems with practically invisible pixel-level changes has been jointly developed by researchers at Universities in the U.S. and China. Tests shows the “Fawkes” software was at least 95 percent effective at blocking facial biometric matches.

The ongoing furor around Clearview AI has prompted privacy commissioners in Canada to begin developing guidance for the use of biometrics by law enforcement, as well as investigate whether scraping publicly available data from the net violated the country’s existing data protection law.

A case study of a hospital that adopted facial recognition from Alcatraz AI as the sole factor for entry to its highest-security area despite initially intending to also use access cards, was also read by many people this week. The technology has worked so well the LA-area hospital is planning to expand its use in the near future.

Moscow is attempting to leverage the facial biometric capabilities of its massive CCTV network to track people with coronavirus and enforce quarantines, with thousands of people in the city currently restricted to their homes after returning from China. Coronavirus is even causing data privacy concerns in China now, The New York Times reports.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, holds a face-off on the question of whether the U.S. government should halt its use of face biometrics between AI Now Institute Founder Meredith Whittaker and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Vice President Daniel Castro.

On the other side of government biometrics, the FBI’s increasing use of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) fingerprint biometrics system for criminal investigations and employee background checks is examined in a fascinating article by Federal News Network. Performing the 200,000 daily match attempts with the automated technology allowed the Bureau to recently move 20 percent of its Biometric Identification and Analysis Unit to “higher-value work.”

Kaizen Technologies CEO Ashok Krish recommends replacing legacy customer verification processes with AI-based behavior tracking with a mix of voice biometrics and contextual intelligence to secure transactions and make customer experiences smoother in a Forbes Business Council post this week. Also arguing for passwordless authentication this week is Nymi Co-founder Karl Martin, who goes a step farther by telling University of Toronto News that people should not accept storage of their biometric data in the cloud. Martin takes a relatively critical view of biometrics, but from a position of greater expertise than many others.

If you want to share a news item, opinion, interview, report, rant or joke with the biometrics and digital identity community, let us know through the comment section, social media or email.

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