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Deadline approaches for DHS tests of biometrics for groups and privacy technologies


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The application deadlines for both the 2020 Biometric Technology Rally and the 2020 Privacy Technology Demonstration, each hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the agency’s Maryland Test Facility (MdTF), are closing on April 30. The rally is intended to pose the technical challenge of reliably identifying small, free-flowing groups of individuals in crowded environments, as might be found at airports or other border crossings.

For the rally, an individual processing phase will be followed by an advanced group processing phase for those demonstrating strong performance in the first phase, with a similar scenario testing assessment process for algorithm performance and interoperability to 2019. Matching systems for face, fingerprint, and iris biometrics will be accepted. Acquisition Systems supporting booths, kiosks, podiums, e-gates, and free-standing deployments are sought by DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

Application details are provided in the 2020 Rally Overview Slides, and a pair of webinars include further information, including a video of the announcement webinar and a Q&A.

Blink Identity Founder Mary Haskett notes in comments on the 2018 rally that “getting test data from an independent source is really, really difficult and really, really expensive. It’s easy to test software if you’re Apple, but getting a large number of test subjects to come in and go through your system is actually very difficult, so this is wonderful for us.”

Companies applying to either the rally or the demonstration should include a whitepaper of 5 pages or less, and a video up to two minutes long.

Slides are likewise provided for the Privacy Technology Demonstration by the MdTF’s Biometric and Identity Technology Center. In the demonstration, technologies for identity obfuscation and video obfuscation, such as blurring faces and license plate numbers in Google Maps Street View images. S&T is seeking full and partial Identity Obfuscation Systems, and S&T encourages providers of camera systems with edge processing capabilities and software for real-time processing of live video to apply. Installation will be carried out by S&T, rather than the technology provider.

The rally is scheduled to be held in September and October, and the demonstration test event will be held in the fall.

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