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Idemia to build biometrics-backed digital identity service in Egypt, supply TSA trials, joins Kantara



Idemia is planning to expand its business in Egypt and establish a shared services center in the country, CEO Yan Delabrière told Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat in a recent meeting. The company also agreed to work with Egypt Post to build digital identity services backed by fingerprint biometrics and citizen IDs.

The minister welcomed Idemia’s plans during a discussion on enhancing collaboration with the government on artificial intelligence, digital identity, and other relevant applications, and noted that the ministry is focused on collaborating with private sector partners on digital transformation and secured infrastructure. The ICT Minister also requested that the company increase its capacity to export IT services from Egypt to serve customers elsewhere in the world, a suggestion welcomed by Delabrière, according to the government announcement.

The meeting was also attended by several other high-ranking officials from the Egyptian government. Delabrière stated that the center for shared services will leverage Egypt’s digital skills, competitive costs, investment incentives and strategic geographical location.

In the U.S., Idemia is supplying the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with new Credential Authentication Technology-Camera (CAT-C) devices featuring integrated cameras for biometric verification against the document being authenticated, Defense Daily reports. The TSA is on track to conduct pilots to evaluate the technology at three airports this summer, according to the report.

Idemia has provided technology for TSA PreCheck enrollments for some time, and the TSA was reported to be planning to add facial recognition to its document checks last year.

The CAT-C devices eliminate the need for passengers to show boarding passes, as the information is automatically transmitted from the Secure Flight program to the device when the government-issued ID document is checked. Idemia is also supplying the facial recognition algorithm that replaces manual comparisons by TSA officers with a local match on the device, TSA Screening Technology Integration Program Branch Manager Jason Lim said at Connect:ID.

At a trial last year at McCarran International in Las Vegas, a camera separate from the CAT device was used to perform biometric checks with document scans.

TSA Assistant Administrator for Requirements and Capabilities Analysis Austin Gould said at the conference that the use of biometrics increases security while speeding checks, plus based on trials so far “(p)eople like it.” He also said that performing local 1-1 matches would help eliminate privacy, civil liberties, and data security concerns. Images are not retained.

Gould told Defense Daily that the agency is considering asking companies to purchase CAT-Cs and gift them to the TSA, as it has done for more than 100 Automated Screening Lanes paid for by airlines.

The pilots will run for one month, and be followed by CAT-C AutoCAT pilots in 2021.

Idemia is also one of six new companies to join the Kantara Initiative, an industry group promoting trustworthy use of identity and personal data, encouraging innovation, standards, and good practices.

“Kantara is unique because it is the only industry organization focused on privacy and digital identity,” says Idemia Senior Vice President of Identity Solutions Matt Thompson. “We are honored to join the Kantara Board of Directors to help support and enhance its mission of developing best practices and trust schemes in the digital identity and privacy space with the goal of building trustworthy networks to ensure that people have control of their own data. Idemia architects contribute to several Kantara work groups developing and refining conformance criteria for Mobile Driver’s License and NIST SP 800-63-3 approval programs.”

Other organizations among the latest group to join Kantara include Easy Dynamics, Folio Technologies, Microsoft, Neocapita Security Consulting and Turning Point.

“Idemia joins the Kantara Board of Directors at a pivotal point,” comments Colin Wallis, executive director, Kantara Initiative. “Kantara has secured the necessary pieces – specifications, trust frameworks and research and development initiatives — to positively impact digital identity and privacy in the daily lives of billions of people. Idemia will play an important role in support of our mission to improve trustworthy use of identity and personal data through innovation, standardization and good practice.”

Kantara issues the Identity Assurance Trust Mark for eID systems, among other specifications.

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