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Biometrics for online security, access control, pandemic impact top digital identity news of the week


Biometric hardware revenues forecast to hit $19B by 2024 on access control and camera growth

Demand for biometric technology seems to be receiving a boost from the sudden need to conduct as much business as possible remotely, or at least at some physical distance. The industry is responding by adapting its technologies and extending free services to support outbreak mitigation measures. The World Economic Forum also showed up in a pair of the week’s most-read industry news items, for its work on decentralized biometrics for travel ID, and a warning of the increasingly urgent need to eliminate passwords.

Biometrics is one of the 30 industries Research And Markets picks out for a surge in demand as the world adjusts to life in a pandemic, as the week’s top industry story explains. Announcements of new offerings from Digital Barriers and Regula, an approval for Yoti, and a pilot for SuperCom to meet that demand are also covered in the article.

The World Economic Forum’s Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI), which has launched with a pilot for travel between Canada and the Netherlands, is detailed in a new white paper. The project, which includes government and aviation industry partners, as well as Accenture, Vision-Box, and Idemia, and leverages Hyperledger Indy, could point an alternate way to provide strong identity assurance with decentralized biometrics. The WEF also warned that reliance on legacy authentication methods while doing most everything online is a recipe for cybercrime, and says a passwordless approach using technologies like biometrics is the way to reduce risk.

Idemia has launched a new enterprise biometric identity platform for onboarding and digital identity verification for physical and logical access control. The ID.X platform consists of four main modules to help companies solve compliance and fraud challenges for various applications and at various points in customer journeys.

Digital ID news from Africa this past week includes civil society pressure on Kenya’s government to take High Court orders on data protection seriously, the suspension of several systems and registrations, and a major announcement from BIO-key, which will back Nigeria’s push to grow its ecommerce sector with biometrics.

The difference between biometric authentication and identity verification, two terms often confused and sometimes used as if interchangeable, is explained in a guest post by ThumbSignIn VP of Product Aman Khanna. Both are needed to secure identities online, and understanding the role of each can help businesses chose the technology they need.

Redrock Biometrics, Daon, PrivyID, and Nomidio have all stepped up with offers of free technology services for palm and face biometrics and digital signing for essential services, remote workforces, and financial relief in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Governments are launching and pausing different biometric programs in response to the crisis all over the word, with state governments in India, federal governments in the U.S. and Canada, and the Moscow local government putting new measures in place to slow the virus’ spread.

The crisis seems to have provided the training data or the impetus facial recognition providers needed to start offering algorithms that can identify people with partially occluded faces, and Alibaba has shared details on how it developed a biometric access control system to work with people wearing facemasks. The technology, which is based on mask detection followed by “eye recognition,” is being provided free to some organizations. Contactless biometric access control could be set for major growth, and Vision-Box has produced a white paper suggesting that going one better with actual seamless travel through airports could help further reduce the risk of virus transmission at airports. The company argues that disease transmission mitigation is becoming part of normal airport operations, like planning for terrorist incidents or natural disasters.

Coda Story provides a review (of sorts) of new graphic history book “The Machine Never Blinks,” by Ivan Greenberg, which examines the history of spying and surveillance, from divine oversight in the Bible to social media harvesting and biometrics collection. The article notes some similar works, and the risk of privacy degradation posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) and Gov.uk Verify identity assurance system get called to account in a scathing editorial from Computer Weekly Editor in Chief Bryan Glick. The expected 5 to 15-minute wait time has ballooned to 8 hours or more as the number of people using verify has increased 3 to 5 hours.

In an interview with Australia Security Brief, RSA Identity Sales Strategist for Asia Pacific & Japan, Craig Dore talks about how businesses can maintain cybersecurity with suddenly-remote workforces. Having the right tools in place, including strong, multi-factor authentication, is important, and Dore suggests FIDO technologies for environments that serve customers, but communication and not rushing into decisions are also emphasized. For Alexander Urbelis, the Blackstone Law Group founder and former hacker who discovered the attempted hack on the WHO in March, the risks of a remote workforce are massive. Urbelis tells NPR in an interview that MFA and “something other than just a password” must protect company resources.

A deeper dive into the same subject, with more extensive discussion of what businesses can do, is provided by Idaptive Vice President of Strategy and lead evangelist Corey Williams in a Biometric Update guest post. VPNs, single sign-on, and adaptive multi-factor authentication are among the tools companies can use to keep remote workforces productive without compromising security.

With the rapid growth of online payments, TypingDNA proposes typing biometrics as a user-friendly authentication method that can help companies cope with the corresponding rise in cybercrime in a blog post. The impressive growth forecasts for online payments, cybercrime, advanced authentication methods, behavioral biometrics, and typing biometrics are presented in the post and an infographic.

Reading an executive from Idex Biometrics express the need to do away with public fingerprint readers in Business Chief seems another sign of a world upside-down at first glance. Idex SVP David Orme is really arguing, however, for zero-trust access security models, with fingerprint sensors relocated to employee ID cards.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire a tool for collecting, analyzing and sharing data about gangs, including facial recognition data. The idea is to build a federal version of the Gang Intelligence App developed by intelligence officials in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to allow the fast identification of gang members and disruption of their activities.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), meanwhile, has published notice that it intends to oppose the DHS’s plan to link biometric data from the IDENT system with unique machine-generated identifiers, and exempt the Enterprise Biometric Administrative Records database from some Privacy Act rules. The group is also in the midst of a Freedom of Information lawsuit against the State Department regarding federal biometric data sharing.

The trust challenge facing artificial intelligence, from enabling deepfakes to powering facial recognition in pervasive surveillance systems, is examined at some length by SiliconANGLE in a recent article. The article points out that the AI train has left the station, despite ample evidence that neither consumers nor IT leaders in organizations using it really trust the technology’s decisions. The tremendous potential impact on society and many, if not all industries, for better and for worse, is reviewed.

A contract will soon be awarded in a major AI project to build traffic monitoring and analysis into an expressway monitoring system in Japan, and SenseTime is on the tender shortlist, China Daily reports. The Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited (NEXCO Central Japan) has selected SenseTime Japan’s traffic video analysis algorithm, developed based on the company’s deep learning and autonomous driving technologies, as a finalist for the project.

Please let us know of any articles, editorials, blogs or videos that you would like to share with people in the biometrics and digital ID communities in the comments below, through social media or in an email.

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