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Face biometrics implementations expanding for vehicles, retail systems and health passes


biometric digital identity verification for fraud prevention

Facial recognition is prominent among the top news stories in the biometrics industry over the past week. Paperwork for a blockbuster facial recognition IPO has been filed by Megvii, the use of the technology by law enforcement to identify dissidents and refugees is being scrutinized, and the retail and automotive market segments continue to heat up. A recent NIST test shows AnyVision and CloudWalk among accuracy leaders, while even digital health passes are using biometric face verification to bind individuals to their test or vaccination records.

Top biometrics news of the week

The biggest biometrics IPO of the year could be Megvii, with a potential $925 million stock offering on Shanghai’s Star Exchange. Several other Chinese facial recognition unicorns have already reached this point and not completed the process, however, with Yitu has become the latest to suspend its application.

Biometric passports are coming to two more countries, with HID Global taking a contract to manage the entire lifecycle of Libya’s new diplomatic and special passports with its PKI-based Integrale service. Pakistan’s new passports are now scheduled to launch in May, but biometric gates will have to be installed in the country’s airports for them to be effective.

Reports indicate the government of Belarus is using facial recognition to track dissidents, even as sanctions against the country are extended by the EU for intimidation of demonstrators, journalists and opposition members. Myanmar’s capacity to identify protestors is causing worry as well, while in more politically stable Greece the use of similar technology by police to identify refugees is being scrutinized for potential incompatibility with European law.

The Biometrics Institute has announced the launch of a new podcast on biometrics legislation, technology, trends and public perception. The first episodes of ‘On the Pulse’ recap the organization’s big annual event, delve into demographic differentials and discuss the latest developments in the field with expert stakeholders from the public and private sector.

Simprints COO and Chief Partnerships Officer Sebastian Manhart has departed the company to move into German politics, as he announced on LinkedIn. Manhart remains an advisory to ID2020 and will also advise the German Chancellery, and leaves Simprints with more than 40 employees and over $15 million raised to reach a million people in 12 countries with digital identity for health services and global development.

Idex Biometrics has signed up another significant biometric smartcard partner, with a deal to supply its technology to secure Goldpac’s DC/EP hardware digital wallet for China’s Digital Renminbi. Goldpac has also placed a fingerprint sensor order with Idex, as total volumes begin to scale.

The rumors of in-display fingerprint biometrics coming to Apple devices continue, with a Barclay’s analyst saying the iPhone 13 will include both Touch ID and Face ID. A patent infringement suit has been launched meanwhile against Goodix, and against Huawei for a smartphone implementation of its in-display fingerprint sensor, by WaveTouch.

From robots to payments, ecommerce to media installations in convenience stores, retail biometrics deployments were announced by CyberLink, PayByFace, Vision Insights, Voltox, and VSBLTY this week. Implementations in Japan, Bulgaria, and Latin America show the global momentum of the technology for security and personalization in shopping experiences.

ENISA has issued new guidelines on remote digital identity proofing and biometric authentication for compliance with eIDAS and other elements of best practices. The five documents focus on technical guidance for Qualified Trust Service Providers and security recommendations, as well as advice for governments.

Patents, partnerships, research papers and new automotive biometrics features illustrate a market area where multiple applications are breaking through into widespread production deployments. The features implemented by Chevy, MCNEX and Rimac are all in-cabin systems using facial recognition, which SenseTime has launched an online training workshop for, while Samsung has filed a patent on a biometric ignition system, and market research indicates biometrics for vehicle access control will grow rapidly over the next seven years.

AnyVision has scored accuracy rankings near the top of the latest NIST FRVT 1:1 results in five categories, topping all vendors from outside of China and Russia on the overall leaderboard with software the company says is suited for challenging IoT deployments. Meanwhile CloudWalk has been revealed as the developer behind the MoonTime and Hengrui AI algorithms, which hold leading positions in the 1:1 and 1:N FRVT tests, respectively.

France is replacing ID cards designed in 1995 with new digital cards from IN Groupe with embedded biometrics to comply with the new EU rules for travel documents within the region. The cards are smaller, making them more convenient for bearers to carry, and also feature a QR code for secure digital data-sharing.

Advocacy groups are asking U.S. Customs and Border Protection to rescind its controversial notice of proposed rulemaking to expand its biometrics collection at the border, after a second round of public comments closed last week, Nextgov reports. The Center for Democracy and Technology notes that a match rate CBP says is “more than 97 percent” could mean up to 690,000 people were not successfully matched by the agency’s biometric systems last year.

Most of the risks that accompany the potentially massive adoption of health passes as people and businesses attempt to resume in-person interactions can be mitigated, leading privacy expert Ann Cavoukian and leading Good ID advocate Dakota Gruener tell Biometric Update in a pair of interviews, but the task is enormous. Companies in the identity space have jumped into the Good Health Pass initiative with both feet, but now comes the hard work of establishing digital wallets that are truly interoperable and controlled by users.

There is no need for new identities or digital identity technologies for digital vaccination certificates, Constellation Research VP and Principal Analyst Steve Wilson argues in a blog post. New digital ID frameworks can have unintended consequences and exacerbate the digital divide, and using more mature public key infrastructure technology can deliver certificates that are as effective as the Yellow Card, without employing a blockchain.

The acceleration of digitization of many different kinds of interactions during the pandemic has opened vectors for data theft that fraudsters could be taking advantage of for years, but could also benefit the 2 billion people stuck outside of the global financial system, AU10TIX CEO Carey O’Connor Kolaja tells PaymentsSource in an interview. Kolaja is one of the publication’s Most Influential Women in Payments for 2021, and talks about the role of behavior analysis in securing digital identities.

Phonexia is celebrating the company’s 15th birthday by bringing aboard voice biometrics expert Niko Brummer, ex of Agnitio, Nuance and Omilia. The company interviews Brummer about his start with the technology, the future of ubiquitous voice biometrics adoption and Phonexia in a blog post to mark the occasion.

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