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Biometric payment card first highlights fast start to year of mass adoption

Biometric payment card first highlights fast start to year of mass adoption

Biometric payment cards start 2021 with a bang after their progress was closely followed in the industry for all of last year, and biometric payments in general are gaining steam. Thales, Fingerprints Cards, Idex Biometrics and others are positioning themselves in that space, while vendors like buguroo and regulators work to enable the expanded use of facial recognition and behavioral biometrics to payments around the world. The drive to bring the pandemic to an end is bringing digital ID issues to a head, meanwhile.

The expected, but still impressive progress towards the commercialization of biometric payment cards, and the less-expected boost to contactless biometric modalities are revealed by a review of the biggest stories of 2020. The interrupted year also sets up prioritization of national and functional digital ID programs.

BNP Paribas is the first major bank in the world to plan for biometric payment cards to be issued to all its customers, with the roll-out scheduled to begin in six months. Not only do Thales and Fingerprint Cards benefit directly, but FPC has received an order for 100,000 fingerprint sensor modules from a major card manufacturer, and a second card with Idex technology has been certified for China UnionPay.

Non card-based biometric payments are getting a boost around the world as well, with regulatory changes in Russia, an approaching deadline for Mexican banks, and biometric ATMs in Pakistan and Argentina. In remote India, Aadhaar-enabled payments are gaining in use rapidly relative to ATMs, while buguroo sees behavioral biometrics benefiting banks all around the world.

The second article in a series on smart city governance and politics in the Toronto Star describes the use of thousands of cameras hooked up to facial recognition systems and informing autonomous vehicles as part of the network of sensors and gear that provide input for the smarts. The description suggests benefits to the video system for everything from the real estate sector to energy efficiency, but its facial recognition touchstones are hardly flattering.

The government of China may or may not have a face biometric system capable of matching images of all 1.4 billion citizens within a second, but the internalization of the notion makes the reality of the claim irrelevant, journalist Kai Strittmatter argues in his new book, We Have Been Harmonized: Life in China’s Surveillance State. In an interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, Strittmatter says Xi Jinping’s regime has deployed 600 million cameras and facial recognition in the service of a new kind of political system, having reversed many of the reforms of Deng Xiaoping.

Nigeria has launched two new methods for people to register their SIMS to support its goal of linking all SIMs in the country with biometrics-backed National Identity Numbers (NINs), an improved NIN slip and a mobile app. The list of government credentials and services a NIN will soon be required for is extensive, but so are the potential benefits to the country, including better foreign exchange rates, improved domestic security, and increased investor confidence.

Adermatoglyphia is the name for the rare genetic condition from which people have fewer sweat glands in their hands – and no fingerprints. Unable to be matched by the biometric modality which still grounds many national ID and border control processes, people like the Sarker family of Bangladesh profiled in a recent BBC article must battle bureaucracy and a lack of awareness to find work-arounds.

The UK is not planning to use vaccine passports, despite the decision announced by several airlines that they will require them. Biometric wearables and apps are beginning to be adopted by many different organizations, but weak data security, like making strong identity verification optional, has already led to problems in China.

Singapore’s government has declared it will provide data from its COVID-19 contact-tracing app to law enforcement for criminal investigations, Ars Technica reports. TraceTogether’s privacy statement has been updated to reflect that data may be shared through established procedures, and the publication notes that stories like this demonstrate why the number of contact-tracing participants in the U.S. is unlikely to be sufficient in the current environment.

Vaccine passports could, on the other hand, help enable stronger digital IDs, Jumio VP of Product Management Reinhard Hochrieser tells PYMNTS. The CommonPass app developed by a coalition including The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum could be an example of the kind of multi-stakeholder effort that enables ethical and safe sharing of sensitive data.

Intel has launched an edge solution for facial authentication for easy integration into a wide range of devices to the RealSense product line. Intel RealSense ID promises high-performance biometrics and liveness with the privacy and flexibility of on-device processing with a proprietary, dedicated neural network, according to an invitation-only pre-briefing.

Presentation attack detection and biometric liveness standards and specifications must be flexible enough to evolve continuously, CITeR Director and biometric liveness standards pioneer Stephanie Schuckers tells Biometric Update in an interview. The increase in interest in independent testing to recognized standards is a win for all stakeholders, and can continue to help the industry, Schuckers says.

The latest proposed biometric data privacy law in an increasingly fragmented U.S. legal landscape is a New York State statute. The law would apply only to private organizations, and would impose many of the usual informed consent rules, along with a right of private action.

Blank Rome Attorney David J. Oberly provides a background and a set of tips for organizations implementing airport biometrics to maintain compliance in a Biometric Update guest post. Oberly sees adoption of the technology only increasing, but also a distinct possibility that legal liability will become complicated by additional regulation.

The legal basis for REAL ID has been updated, which also paves the way for digital ID credentials to be accepted by states. The update was also signed into law without several changes that critics said would have reduced transparency.

‘Piercing’ is the scariest movie on Netflix, according to a study of heart rate biometrics by Cordcutting. The novel application of heart rate average and variation is further used to crown the scariest scenes and movie with the most consistently hear-pounding suspense.

A bizarre story involving facial recognition is among the fallout of the violent storming of the United States Capitol this week, as Representative Matt Gaetz cited a report that XRVision had used biometrics to identify antifa infiltrators among the crowd during congressional debate, as The Verge writes. XRVision calls the report defamatory, and corrects the record that the people it identified are associated with skinhead and Nazi organizations and the QAnon narrative. A Reuters fact check summarizes the whole sad affair.

Please let us know of any content we should share with the biometrics and digital ID community in the comments below or through social media.

This post was updated at 12:20pm on January 14, 2021 to include a Reuters fact check.

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