D-ID secures $13.5M to further develop anonymization and facial biometrics-blocking software
D-ID has secured $13.5 million that will be invested in further developing its technology that digitally anonymizes faces in videos and still images by removing facial features used for biometrics, writes TechCrunch.
The Israeli startup and TechCrunch Startup Battlefield alumnus’ technology alters digital images, such as with photorealistic faces of nonexistent people generated by AI so they cannot be matched against databases to determine identity, which may prove attractive now that governments are looking at advanced surveillance methods post-COVID-19. The technology can also create deepfakes, a feature currently being explored by the team.
D-ID was founded by Gill Perry, Sella Blondheim and Eliran Kuta. Blondheim and Kuta are part of the Israeli army’s cybersecurity and offensive cyber unit. Interest in this type of privacy ensuring technology may grow due to the emergence of privacy laws in Europe and U.S., the company believes.
“Governments around the world and organizations have used this new reality basically as an excuse for mass surveillance,” founder and chief executive, Gil Perry told TechCrunch. “Privacy awareness and the importance of privacy enhancing technologies have increased.”
Images from social networks have already been collected by companies developing surveillance technology, and the Israeli government, among others, has deployed a track and trace system based on cell phone location data.
“The convergence of increased surveillance and individual privacy protection places enterprises in a position where they must either anonymize their stored footage or risk violating privacy laws and face costly penalties,” Blondheim told TechCrunch.
The company attracted lead investor AXA Ventures, joined in the round by previous investors Pitango, Y Combinator, AI Alliance, Hyundai, Omron, Maverick (U.S.) and Mindset. D-ID says automakers have already expressed interest in the technology to use it on driving monitoring systems, while threat monitoring security solutions could also benefit from the anonymizing technology.
In November 2019, D-ID announced it would provide biometric facial recognition blocking to the Asian market.