Contactless biometrics roll out for advanced payments and secure access, despite masks

Contactless biometrics roll out for advanced payments and secure access, despite masks

The top themes of the week in biometrics news are facial recognition for facility security, identifying people wearing masks, and secure transactions, along with biometric cards for national ID, payments and access control.

Idemia has also been prominent in the news this week, with its F.CODE biometric payment card selected by a bank in Sweden, the purchase of a card manufacturer, recognition of the company’s volume of patents filed in 2019, and subsidiary Idemia NSS sharing details on its new holistic access control and security system.

The passage of legislation for Mexico’s national biometric ID card is the top story of the week on Biometric Update. The universal ID card is intended to improve access to government services, and also give the government data for better policy-making.

The latest round of fingerprint biometric cards news includes a new Mastercard document prepared for issuers to provide information about using the technology for payments, answering a dozen frequently asked questions. For access control, Sentry Enterprise has produced a promotional video showing off its SentryCard, made with Fingerprint Cards and Ambiq technology, and its proximity detection range of up to 45 feet.

Meanwhile, a Swedish bank is planning to issue an Idemia card, also with Fingerprint Cards’ technology, and a further volume order of Idex’ TrustedBio sensors has been received from a Tier 1 global manufacturer. Idemia has also increased its own manufacturing capacity with the acquisition of a Saudi Arabia-based card manufacturer.

Real-time facial recognition and remote identity proofing could revolutionize both efficient access and security at military bases, two biometrics and security experts from Idemia NSS tell Biometric Update in an interview. The I2 suite of technologies that make up what Idemia NSS calls the ‘installation of the future’ creates a network of biometric systems, including edge capabilities.

BrainChip has launched a new monthly podcast on neuromorphic processor developments. In the first episode, CEO Lou DiNardo focusses on bringing AI to the network edge with on-chip learning and ultra-low power processing.

More data on how much of a challenge masks being worn for public safety are to facial recognition systems is in, with DHS’ Maryland Test Facility (MdTF) releasing some initial findings on a test of 13 biometric matching algorithms. The Biometrics Institute also reacts to NIST findings on the technology’s reduced effectiveness, emphasizing the need to ‘know your algorithm,’ and urging the industry to adapt the development and application of face biometrics.

The market for digital identity is reflected in the latest earnings report and news from publicly-traded companies in the space, including GBG announcing the best first half in its 30-year history. Precise Biometrics has surpassed 40 access control installations in Sweden, and Trust Stamp has been officially admitted for its IPO to the Euronext Growth Dublin exchange.

The industry’s investment in intellectual property is likewise seen in the news that Idemia was one of France’s most innovative companies of 2019, with 63 new patents. StereoVision Imaging has been granted four new patents, and a filing from Apple shows the use of body recognition to supplement facial recognition for photo-tagging.

The use of biometrics and automated voter verification was expected to help deliver results in Ghana’s election within as little as 24 hours, Electoral Commission Deputy Chairman Dr. Eric Bossman Asare said. The results came closer to 48 hours later, showed a very close vote, and are being contested (by a candidate who has conceded in a previous election). The EC’s role is being challenged, but allegations of wrongdoing do not appear to be focused on the soundness of the voter rolls or verification.

In the last episode of ID4Africa’s year of online engagement before its three-day finale, with experts from international organizations, the governments of Ethiopia and Guinea, and MOSIP sharing the progress that has been made in developing and now implementing open-source identity platforms. The first of two webinars on ‘Digital Public Goods Initiatives as Pathways to Identity Development’ began with a discussion of the ‘Principles on ID for Sustainable Development.’ The next episode will cover an open standards API-based approach.

Al Jazeera reports on the concerns of people including ID4Africa Executive Chairman Dr. Joseph Atick and Afrika Digital Rights Hub Founder Teki Akuetteh Falconer that the right legal protections and frameworks are not being put in place as fast as biometric ID systems are. The lack of data protection laws is a common issue, the lack of enforcement an even more common one.

Trust frameworks have been established by several major international organizations in recent years, but the role they play in digital ID ecosystems seems unclear to many stakeholders, so Good ID offers an explainer on the topic. The first part provides an explanation with examples of how trust frameworks build shared foundations between governments and other organizations, and the next will examine the evolution of the concept in Africa.

India’s Aadhaar-based approach to digitizing its financial sector is a model for the whole world, Bill Gates argues at the Singapore Fintech Festival, Bloomberg reports. He talks about who else is and should be considering the model, as well as a timeline for vaccines putting an end to COVID-19.

The potential for biometrics to secure a digital health passport for people who have tested negative for or been vaccinated against COVID-19 is explored by Idex Biometrics CEO Vince Graziani for Global Banking & Finance. Fingerprint biometrics with end-to-end encryption can protect the privacy of personal data, Graziani argues, and organizations are already starting to get together on schemes like the World Economic Forum’s CommonPass program to pull it off.

Contactless biometric payment systems for in-person purchases with technology from PayByFace, Wee Digital, PayEye and Fujitsu are rolling out in Europe and Asia, as people seek to avoid cash and other payment methods involving shared surfaces or physical exchanges. In Moscow, a facial recognition-based system for paying subway fares is the latest municipal biometric application planned.

Smart city technologies are offering the promise of improved public safety, more efficient transportation and effective service delivery, but as the mayors of London, Toronto and Lisbon discuss with Protocol, widespread anxiety about the reach of big data and big tech are a barrier to their implementation. London’s Sadiq Khan tells Protocol that tests and pilots are important to build public confidence before rolling out facial recognition more broadly.

The exit of AI ethicist Timnit Gebru is getting personal attention from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, according to an internal memo republished by Axios. The company is working from a trust deficit on the issue already, however.

Remote life has made the past year challenging for everything from corporate team-building to making music videos, but Trulioo has managed to combine the two in their parody, ‘Don’t Stop Verifyin’.’

Please let us know of any analysis, opinions or discussions we should share with the biometric industry and digital identity community in the space below, or on social media.

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