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Major biometrics contracts in Sweden and Cameroon, national ID programs in India, Canada advance

Major biometrics contracts in Sweden and Cameroon, national ID programs in India, Canada advance

National digital identity projects involving biometrics made up the theme of the week’s top news on Biometric Update, with Thales and an Augentic-INCM partnership winning major ID document contracts in Sweden and Cameroon respectively, and Idemia, Mühlbauer, HID Global and Aisino Corporation bids needing to be refiled in Nepal. Biometric authentication is also expanding in India, Nigeria is planning to scale registrations to bring the rest of its population into its national digital ID system, and the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework has been officially launched.

Nigeria can enroll the biometrics of nearly 150 million people to give them a digital identity credential they can use to access services and exercise rights in the country within three to five years, according to the latest estimate. Digital identity news out of West Africa includes Ghana unveiling its electoral roll and considering using the Ghana Card for healthcare services, and continued discussion on Nigeria’s data protection bill.

ID document and selfie biometric checks continue to be expanded as a means of ensuring financial transactions are secure and compliant with regulations, with India considering making video KYC available to microlenders. Signzy, First AML, and IDnow also made announcements indicative of the market’s momentum.

The South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal presents a special edition titled ‘Unique Identification in India: Aadhaar, Biometrics and Technology – Mediated Identities,’ with four papers on the social impact of the world’s largest biometric identity program. Report authors express concern about the relationship between state and citizens being redefined in transactional terms.

A Thales subsidiary will provide some 12 million Swedish passports and national ID cards with biometric features to enable international travel under a newly awarded contract. Both credentials manufactured by AB Svenska Pass will support border security checks with facial or fingerprint recognition.

Augentic and INCM will supply Cameroon’s new passports to support biometric border checks, winning a ten year contract. Meanwhile in Nepal, Idemia, Mühlbauer, HID Global and Aisino Coporation will have to bid again on the country’s passport tender after being ruled to have submitted invalid bids.

The aviation industry is hurriedly putting contactless processes in place to keep travellers safe and restore confidence in air travel, and Idemia has produced a video to show off its new TravelKiosk, which includes optional COVID-19 screening and contactless features.

New CEOs took over a number of companies in the biometrics industry just as the pandemic struck, including Idemia, Idex Biometrics, ImageWare and Ipsidy. Those four new CEO’s answer questions from Biometric Update about the challenges of taking the reins in such uncertain times, and their expectations for the rest of 2020.

The Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) has launched the long-awaited Pan-Canadian Trust Framework as a way to enable truly interoperable digital identity for everything from open banking to digital health care. Companies including Yoti and SecureKey have participated in the framework’s development, and a trust-mark for organizations compliant with it is planned for 2021 release.

Molly Millar of Unfold Stories explores the potential benefits and downside of self-sovereign identity (SSI) for GoodID.org, interviewing Drummond Reed of Evernym, which is part of the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative, as well as Steve Wilson of Lockstep Consulting and Tom Fisher of Privacy International.

AU10TIX has sponsored a 5-episode podcast series on ‘Fraud Stories’ covering cases of disaster, marriage, elder, art and other fraud. Available on Apple Podcasts, the series is meant in part to inform the public of how experts deal with fraud.

Experian’s integration of BioCatch behavioral biometrics has gone so well, the company is adding Onfido’s identity verification with face biometrics. A single financial services company has saved an estimated $23 million with Experian and BioCatch’s layered technologies.

Digital imaging sensor pioneer and CMOS inventor Eric Fossum tells Biometric Update in an interview about advances in sensor technology based on detecting single photons, which could eventually lead to sensors with previously unimagined biometric capabilities. The potential for powerful technologies to be abused concerns Fossum, however, and he urges biometrics developers to tread carefully.

Amnesty International has called on the European Union to create export controls to prevent companies based in the region from selling biometrics and other technologies that can be used for surveillance to China, after reporting evidence that several European companies have provided their technologies to organizations Amnesty says threaten human rights. The organization wants companies to have to perform human rights due diligence. A response to TechCrunch by one of the three companies Amnesty names takes the organization to task for failing to do its own due diligence, saying it does not sell the kind of products described.

The field of physics has a history which ranges from nuclear horrors to life-saving advances, and physicists are used to unpacking how they know what they know, which positions them uniquely to advance the field of AI ethics by contributing to algorithmic ‘interpretability,’ or reduced opacity, Wired writes. The fields of physics and AI are already crossing over, and some physicists are taking a more active role in AI ethics conversations.

Behavox Founder and CEO Erkin Adylov discusses the company’s decision to expand its Montreal operations, and says the city has the top AI community in the world in a company post. He also suggests Behavox is the one company positioned to secure businesses with decentralized workforces against malicious insiders.

A debate over the trustworthiness of online voting appears to be emerging, with EdScoop writing about the skepticism of some cybersecurity experts, and Onfido presenting an argument in favor of working on the problems to make online voting as acceptable as online banking has become in a blog post. Smartmatic also thinks digital identity can help the election system, and posts on its work to enable voters in Los Angeles County to carry out their democratic duty at any voting center, and prepare ballots ahead of time on a mobile device.

A BIPA lawsuit against Pindrop and Amazon has been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because few if any of the alleged actions took place in the state. The suit could yet return at the state level, in theory. Registration has also begun for claims in Facebook’s BIPA settlement, and a law firm is inviting class members to opt out.

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