Fingerprint payment cards, biometrics for autos and industry pandemic response top news this week

Fingerprint payment cards, biometrics for autos and industry pandemic response top news this week

How a fingerprint biometrics provider will navigate the next phase of its business, new entrants into the market for identifying and detecting people in vehicles, and SIM cards being reactivated in Tanzania were among the week’s top stories on Biometric Update. The wave of announcements of new biometric and digital identity products being developed and deployed for coronavirus outbreak mitigation also continued, and was joined by considerations of the impact on the market and civil liberties.

The broad transition in the fingerprint sensor market is reflected in changing leadership at many leading companies in the industry, and new Idex Biometrics CEO Vince Graziani told Biometric Update in his first interview since taking over the company that it was essentially restarted by previous Chief Executive Stan Swearingen. “It’s time to go into full commercial mode,” Graziani says.

Cadillac is planning to launch facial recognition to its Escalade, CT4 and CT5 models as part of its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system, but Chinese auto-maker Changan already has a similar system out for its UNI-T. Hyundai Mobis, Analog Devices and Cisco spin-off Jungo Connectivity, and Yandex also are also bringing technologies for detecting or identifying people to an automotive biometrics market that appears to be heating up fast.

Tanzania’s gradual progress toward full biometric registration of SIM cards continues, with a third of those previously deactivated back on their networks. Registration of civil servants in Liberia and investment in South African firm Contactable is also in the week’s news out of Africa.

Nethone Chief Product Officer Aleksander Kijek writes in a guest post that with PSD2, SMS authentication is no longer good enough, and that replacing it with behavioral biometrics can not only protect against fraud, but also be part of a forward-looking approach to utilizing data to better understand users. Also in fraud prevention this week, a new cybersecurity publication is launching, as the Association for Computing Machinery will begin publishing “Digital Threats: Research and Practice” (DTRAP) as a peer-reviewed open access journal for digital threat prevention, identification, mitigation and elimination. The first issue covers the 2019 FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams) Conference. DTRAP is inviting contributions to a pair of regular columns; “With the Benefit of Hindsight” and “Leaving the Laboratory: Putting Research into Practice.”

For those interested in AI innovations and biometric authentication, an upcoming segment on Advancements with Ted Danson will feature Aerendir and its neural tapping technologies during Q3, 2020. The show airs on CNBC, and will give CEO Dr. Martin Zizi, who recently spoke to Biometric Update, a chance to talk about returning biometrics to user control.

Biometrics are just one group among a range of AI technologies that governments around the world are deploying or considering as they attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, and normal cautions regarding data privacy (such as they are) may be cast aside, according to our most widely-read story of the week. Facial recognition is one technology which may be used, along with location tracking, social media mining and others.

There are now 100,000 cameras in Moscow’s surveillance camera network hooked up to facial recognition algorithms, and they are watching for the thousands of residents on compulsory quarantine, the Bangkok Post reports. China’s government meanwhile has launched a requirement that citizens use a color-coded rating system for COVID-19 contagion risk added to Alipay, CPO Magazine reports. The new QR Health Code, which is hosted on Ant Financial’s Alipay app platform and also available through other platforms including WeChat, is live in 200 cities, and will roll out across the country, applying green, yellow or red status to individuals, who the report says have in some cases been mystified by and receive only vague explanations for their status.

This represents the blunt end of the surveillance advance that civil liberties advocates are worried about in light of pandemic containment efforts.

Zoom is enjoying a boom in popularity as a way for people to connect not just for work, but socially, but Consumer Reports Director of Privacy and Technology Policy Justin Brookman suggests the company should update its terms of service to ensure that video data it collects is not used to train facial recognition. The video conferencing service offers fairly typical terms, but many users, particularly new ones, may not understand what they entail, the group writes.

COVID-19 was also behind a popular article on the suggestion by House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters to disburse government aid to individuals using a digital currency backed by a state ledger and digital ID. A proposal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi originally contained a similar provision, which did not make it to the final draft.

The impact of the outbreak on the biometrics industry is examined this week by ABI Research, as part of a report on the digital services sector. The adoption of facial recognition for surveillance, the improvement of the technology to identify faces partially occluded by masks, and the addition of fever detection technology to systems could all boost the market. Indeed, an app from the Polish government, a trial of biometric payments in Russia, and access controls at the King’s Palace in Malaysia have all been put into place, while India continues to scale down some biometric operations. New facial recognition and fever detection technologies have also been developed by Silent Sentinel, Polysense Technologies, and CaliBurger’s parent company in response to the pandemic.

To help organization’s involved in various forms of assistance during the crisis, Jumio is offering free biometric identity verification with ID proofing and liveness checks. Healthcare, online education and philanthropic organizations are examples of potential beneficiaries. Yoti has a similar offer among the week’s top articles.

The outbreak may also postpone and alter the European Union’s digital strategy and related legislation, The Financial Times reports. No change has been agreed to yet, but a spokesperson states that the regional government will have to adapt to new priorities and the different functioning of institutions.

Please let us know of any editorial, forum debate, video or announcement that you would like to share with the biometrics and digital ID communities in the comments below or through the usual channels.

This post was updated at 5:28pm on March 30, 2020 to clarify that the Health Code app is hosted on the Alipay platform, rather than called “Alipay Health Code.”

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