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Ready or not, biometric payment cards and immunity passports have arrived

BNP Paribas biometric payment cards

BNP Paribas biometric payment card

A pair of eagerly-anticipated biometric products are coming to market, in fingerprint-enabled payment cards and digital health and travel credentials, typically secured by selfie biometrics, each spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fingerprint Cards, iProov and Mvine are making biometrics industry headlines this week, but where these solutions will take hold, let alone who the top technology suppliers will be, remains to be seen. The latest NIST test shows accuracy gains by facial recognition technology continuing, alongside debate around its regulation and the need for stronger privacy protections.

Most read biometrics news this week

Biometric payment cards have arrived on the market as a commercial offering, Fingerprint Cards Director of Product Management Henrik Nilsson addressed any lingering security concerns in a journal article, just as BNP Paribas announced the first round fingerprint-enabled cards will cost consumers roughly $29 per year, on top a Visa Premier membership they already pay.

Immunity passports, like biometric payment cards, are here, ready or not. iProov and Mvine received government backing for their solutions, and new ones continue to be developed, but the stakes are higher, and there seem to be more questions than answers about how they will work and where. The Ada Lovelace Institute is investigating the practical and ethical issues involved.

The latest NIST FRVT 1:1 facial verification accuracy benchmark is out. The January edition has a surprise new category leader in Moontime Smart Technology, in addition to another overall first place finish for Deep Glint, category wins for known heavyweights Deep Glint, SenseTime, VisionLabs, Paravision, a category win for Beihang University-ERCACAT, and a strong result for CyberLink.

An internal body has recommended European Parliament set up a new legal framework for face biometrics and other AI technology, in a report approved by a fairly narrow majority. The report calls for caution in using technology like facial recognition in public services, and guidelines to prevent human rights violations in mass civil and military surveillance.

Data privacy legislation that would protect biometrics as sensitive data has been introduced in Washington State, while new restrictions are moving forward towards approval or rejection in Minneapolis and Utah. Federal action is still far from certain, but with the Democrats in control of the U.S. legislature, disagreement over whether a new law should pre-empt state measures seems less likely to prevent it.

Trueface CMO Mason Allen sits down with the Mind Your Marketing podcast to talk about the genesis of Trueface from its roots as a doorbell-maker Chui, and what it means to stand for the responsible use of facial recognition. It means saying “no” to clients sometimes, and finding data to more equitably train its algorithms, Allen says, and while difficult, these measures can actually generate sales leads.

Effective performance is another aspect of responsible technology use, albeit one receiving less attention than ethical implementation. Independent, standards-based testing is one tool that vendors and customers can use to evaluate biometric performance, and iBeta Biometric Projects Manager Gail Audette explains to Biometric Update in a feature interview how NIST ensures they get a level playing field through its NVLAP program.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn and former UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter, who recently spoke to Biometric Update about joining Corsight, join Genetec’s Engage podcast to talk about surveillance strategies in the U.S. and UK. They talk about facial recognition and video cameras, but more about topics like challenges to oversight and the false dichotomy between privacy and security.

For Data Privacy Day on January 28, Kaspersky announced a partnership with artist Felipe Pantone, who has been inspired by tech architecture and the cybersecurity company’s brand to create a statue called ‘W3-Structural K.’ The piece is a stylized hexagon with an opaque shape invoking a shield, but also the impermanence of both the graffiti art world Pantone comes from, and the digital world.

Individually-owned data servers that store people’s digital ID will take control back from tech giants, a pair of executives at Dataswift write in a Wired editorial. Personal data servers are much more protective of civil liberties than the currently-dominant arrangement, and they will start to be used for COVID-19 symptom tracking and travel apps this year, before crossing over into other services and sectors, according to the article.

VentureBeat looks at the possibility that facial recognition-based systems for touchless payments and shoplifting prevention will lead to more surveillance and unequal treatment of Black people. At the very least, more transparency is needed, according to the article.

The physical access control market remains a major opportunity for biometrics vendors, with fingerprint, voice and facial recognition expected to feature prominently in 9 percent gains over the next decade, according to a new market forecast.  The Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute has announced a new product, Precise Biometrics a partnership, StoneLock an integration and Genetec an update in the space.

Plurilock stock is now listed to the OTCQB market, increasing access for U.S. investors, while Ipsidy has revealed plans to prepare for listing to a national market. Despite a year of uncertainty and diminished expectations, secunet has reported financial gains over its record 2019 results for 2020, driven in large part by its biometric border control products.

Singaporean communications solutions provider Yinda Infocomm has taken a major step into the biometrics market with an investment in Tech5, the first external investment for that company, and purchase of a controlling interest in InterBio. Yinda says the $2.5 million loaned to Tech5 and the $26 million for InterBio positions it to move into new markets, so expect to hear more from them.

Biometric technology is set for a big 2021, between the maturity of the mobile market, the arrival of the biometric payment cards market, and innovations around smart homes and workplaces, Fingerprint Cards CEO Christian Fredrikson writes in a post to the company’s website.

A new and innovative platform for collecting biometrics and other data at long range with LiDAR has been developed by Idemia NSS and SVI. The 4D imaging with dual-chirp frequency-modulated continuous wave imaging technology from SVI is capable of capturing motion data in real-time at 40 times the distance of traditional technologies, and is combined with Idemia’s biometric software.

The equipment shipped to the Palestinian Authority to produce passports with ICAO-compliant biometric features that were mysteriously delayed for over a year and a half at an Israeli port have been released. The development raises hopes that the hardware supplied by a French vendor under a deal signed nearly five years ago will enable international travel for more Palestinians through strong identity assurance.

Please share any articles, podcasts or reports that should be passed along to people in biometrics and the digital ID community through the comments below or social media.

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