Biometrics innovations unveiled for in-display sensors, iris images and COVID-19 recovery
The biometrics industry has developed innovative technologies for health protection, self-sovereign authentication without a smartphone, in-display fingerprint sensors, and iris biometrics capturing, with a UVC scanner-sanitizer from TechnoBravo, a finger vein-based health pass from FinGo, a new Fingerprint Cards patent, and new lens technology from Corning. SuperCom appears to have found a new market for its biometric tracking technology, and Precise Biometrics is developing its new partner-centric approach to delivering biometric access control, among other widely read stories this week on Biometric Update.
Most read biometrics news this week
A patent for an optical biometric in-display sensor using mirrors to avoid the loss of effectiveness introduced by the distance between the finger and the sensor has been granted to Fingerprint Cards. The company has also had a pair of patent applications published, for a non-minutiae based feature extraction technique, the other for a system using fingerprint positioning as a layer of protection from spoof attacks.
A new lens technology for improved iris biometrics capture has been developed by Corning, and according to a company report it could improve the effectiveness of the modality. Mechanical lens-based cameras that can deliver the necessary high resolution while maintaining focus are bulky and expensive, the report says, proposing instead liquid lenses generated through electrowetting.
A care home in the UK is trialing finger vein biometrics to authenticate employees for COVID-19 test verification. The EN-Covid digital health pass solution uses FinGo biometrics and SSI technology from partner Blockpool to perform authentication without using the subject’s device, and was developed with the help of Enduring Net and funding from Innovate UK. A wider rollout is envisioned following the trial.
SuperCom has found a new market in COVID-19 quarantine monitoring, with the Israeli government placing a follow-on order for its biometric wearable and app suite after a successful trial that met with a 91 percent approval rating from participants. The Israeli Health Ministry’s order is part of a plan to open the country to a larger number of international travelers.
Health credentials continue to be adopted, with Singapore Airlines implementing IATA’s Travel Pass. In response, an executive with the air travel organization is calling for a faster push on the standardization side, and a panel of experts considered the privacy implications of the digital IDs in a webinar hosted by The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD), suggesting that trust needs to be maintained through regulation, follow-through on policy, and mechanisms like the Digital Trust for Places and Routines (DTPR) conceptual framework.
Digital wallets appear to be on the verge of exploding into the mainstream, and implementing biometrics in a decentralized architecture can secure them without requiring users to share their sensitive data directly with the organizations that require proof of identity, Mitek CTO Stephen Ritter explains in a Forbes Technology Council post. The rapid advance of consumer smartphone technologies means the tools to realize this new model of digital identity may already be in people’s pockets.
Low-income countries could expand their digital governance capabilities, and the acceptance of future programs by their populations, by implementing biometrics-backed vaccination credentials, UN Economist Ian Richards writes in an editorial. Richards writes that gains made by a growing number of developing nations from moving government services online, particularly for women and others frequently left out of digital identity, and by extension government services, show the potential for those yet to do so. The disparity in digital identity ownership was explored in ID4Africa’s latest webinar, with NIMC’s Hadiza Dagabana noting that NINs have been issued to 8 million fewer women than men in Nigeria.
Technological innovation has also been turned to ensuring the safety of contact fingerprint biometric scanners, with TechnoBravo developing a device that integrates with scanners already in use and automatically sanitizes them after each use with UVC light. The company says the BioSan device kills up to 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria on the platen surface.
Optimism for the nascent biometric payment cards market is reflected in a Redeye analyst’s new high expectation for Zwipe’s stock price, and Idex Biometrics insiders buying up more shares through the company’s U.S. listing. Ipsidy reported mixed results but increasing demand for its biometric services, while Synaptics sees IoT biometrics playing a big part in its future.
Precise Biometrics, in contrast with the fingerprint technology providers above, is pushing further into the access control market by working to expand its partner ecosystem. That means a strategy focussed on open-source and cloud-based technology to bring biometrics to integrators, and taking care of these partners requires a new approach, like increasing transparency by publishing a price list.
Identity theft in unemployment benefits fraud has prompted the head of the Identity Theft Resource Center to call for improved authentication methods with biometrics to secure claims in the U.S. at both the state and federal levels. Massachusetts is the latest state to select ID.me for multi-factor authentication to cut unemployment fraud, meanwhile.
The fallout from the Verkada hack has taken another turn, with the revelation that company gave employees ‘Super Admin’ privileges, and with them access to any camera, according to IPVM (subscription required, and recommended for anyone in facial recognition). One of the hackers involved claims that oversight of the Super Admin level was lax, and Bloomberg has followed up by reporting more than 100 employees had the privileges, and their actions were not monitored.
The Economist looks at state and city-level efforts to regulate facial recognition and surveillance technologies in the United States in the absence of federal rules (and makes the common mistake of overgeneralizing the NIST bias report along the way). The deluge of some 10,000 comments submitted from the public in response to proposed NYPD rules shows how widespread concern has become, though the article suggests activists do not think those concerns will be taken seriously.
Jay Edelson, lead attorney in Facebook’s BIPA settlement who was once called the most hated man in Silicon Valley, tells Reuters in an interview that the class action bar is broken, citing the TikTok biometric data privacy settlement and the scandalous bankruptcy of a well-known attorney among evidence that a series of reforms he is proposing, such as setting attorneys fees in settlements based on claims rates, are necessary.
Idiap’s website has an interview with Sébastien Marcel, head of the research institute’s biometrics and privacy research group. From his PhD research on gesture recognition to his role spearheading Idiap’s innovation in biometric spoof attack and detection research, the interview delves into the past, present and future of the public biometrics laboratory.
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