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Rules and RFIs for digital ID, registration for biometric systems advance globally

digital identity biometric registration

Governments efforts on SIM linkage in Nigeria, mobile driver’s licenses in America, registration for a national digital ID program with biometrics in the Philippines and Israel’s plans for KYC checks to access public services online made up the most widely-read stories in the identity space over the past week. Insights from Iris ID and Anonybit executives, a milestone for a Precise Biometrics payment cards partner, and investments in WorldReach and Hypr also made headlines.

Top biometrics news this week

A temporary halt to new SIM card issuance in Nigeria has been lifted, with registrants now required to submit either their NIN or their biometrics to get their NIN. The participation of telecoms in the biometric national digital identity registration process has accelerated the project, despite the deadline for continued service to unlinked SIMs being pushed back into May. A GSMA report, meanwhile, emphasizes both public and private sector support for digital ID in KYC processes.

The Africa Report, meanwhile, looks into the effect of governments across Africa relying on the private sector, and mostly foreign-owned firms, to put critical physical and digital identity infrastructure in place. Data sovereignty and protection issues are exacerbated by the situation, and countries are resorting to digital service taxes, but also banding together in initiatives like Smart Africa to harmonize their policies.

The United States Department of Homeland Security has published an RFI to get input from vendors and other stakeholders on technical requirements and security standards for mobile driver’s licenses. DHS and TSA want to connect REAL ID to ISO/IEC security standards, and possibly approaches used in other industries like banking, to keep the digital IDs safe.

Philippines project to set up a national digital ID system backed by biometrics has reached 28 million out of an estimated population of 109.5 million with its first phase, which has been completed in 32 of 81 provinces. The country is also considering setting up bank accounts for all people in the country who do not have them, in part to enable its digital economy.

Israel is looking to launch a biometric KYC system for use with a range of government services, publishing an RFI to discover its options for modalities, presentation attack detection, test methods and other elements that will weigh into the future decision.

Yoti has reached 10 million downloads of its face biometrics-based digital ID app, and completed 450 million age and identity checks. In a YouTube video celebrating the accomplishment, the company shares some highlights of its evolution and accelerating user and customer base.

Former black hat hacker-turned security consultant Brett Johnson puts ID.me on full blast in a LinkedIn post alleging its privacy policy gives it the ability to collect troves of sensitive personal information, and then sell it to advertisers. Johnson relates anecdotes about hackers defeating biometric liveness security measures and legitimate applicants waiting weeks for benefits.

From the roots of vaccination credentials for international travel in 1933 to an estimate of when the hotel industry will reach a full recovery, Iris ID VP of Global Development and Sales Mohammed Murad writes in a Biometric Update guest post about what we know and do not so far about digital health passes. No country has even approved all other countries’ vaccines yet, Murad points out, but contactless biometrics are already being marshalled around the world to solve specific health and identity problems, and could help with this one.

Health passes are proliferating, and even being adopted by nations, states and airlines, with a range of potential applications. The consistent standards and policies around them to ensure they work, and do so without trampling on people’s privacy and rights, however, are not yet in place.

Data minimization is a principle espoused by many if not all digital health passes, but startup PathCheck wants to ensure it by providing a code snippet for integration with any app, The New York Times reports. Founder Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor with MIT Media Lab, urges “dumb technology,” as opposed to blockchain, in particular, and acknowledges his system may involve showing a physical ID document.

Precise Biometrics’ biometric payment card vendor partner Kona I has been approved by Mastercard, which brings the cards close to commercialization in Korea. Kona’s fingerprint-enabled cards run on Precise BioMatch, and have been found compliant with CAST, CQM, CSI, and IAT requirements.

More than half of companies polled for a survey by Goode Intelligence and sponsored by ID R&D say they are currently using biometrics for authentication, with most saying they have increased their use of biometrics for onboarding and authentication, and many of those increases directly attributable to COVID-19. Liveness detection has become a must-have technology, though user experience was tied with security as the top benefit of the technology, according to respondents.

Contactless biometrics were taking off even prior to the pandemic, but their adoption appears to have accelerated, with Disney and Royal Caribbean showing their intentions to explore facial recognition. NEC sees face biometrics as a major part of the future of fast food restaurants, too, as a new market segment in entertainment and hospitality opens up.

Anonybit has an innovative approach to implementing the storage and computing infrastructure for biometrics and digital ID, which Founder and CEO Frances Zelazny claims solves the industry’s traditional security and privacy dilemma. In an interview with Biometric Update, Zelazny explains how it works and the extensive scope of the solution.

Innovatrics has launched the Trust Report website, which it bills as an ‘insight hub,’ containing articles, explainers, and insights from the company’s own executives and others. Topics tackled include historical cases of identity fraud, the improvement of facial recognition over time, and the impact of digitization on trust. Archived videos from the recent online conference are also available.

Scientists from the Maryland Test Facility and the Idiap Research Institute presented research into demographic differentials, or ‘bias,’ in biometric systems in scenario testing, work on ISO standards for measuring performance across groups, and how to assess the differentials within different parts of a system in the recent conclusion on an EAB webinar series on the subject. Key differences between facial recognition and other biometric modalities in terms of how we think they should work, and the extent of differentials in different scenarios are among the many insightful takeaways.

Investment also continues to flow for digital identity companies, with WorldReach acquired by Entrust, while Mastercard acquired Ekata, and Hypr raising $35 million to boost its go-to-market strategy and global support team.

Please let us know about any editorials, podcasts or other content that should be shared with the people in biometrics and digital ID in the comments below or through social media channels.

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