Prominent biometrics firm reborn as a startup, as established players lock in gains
Headlines from around the biometrics landscape shifted somewhat from investments and fundraising to revenues and new entries this week, as Thales Digital Identity and Security propped up its parent Group’s results and Onfido hit a significant earnings milestone. Integrated Biometric Technologies (IBT) has been reconstituted, while a consortium including Idemia has won a contract for France’s national digital ID, and AU10TIX’ CEO is pitching a new concept to return control of online credentials to users. Meanwhile a DHS webinar and a Fingerprint Cards blog post suggest significant market traction may be just ahead for mobile driver’s licenses and biometric payment cards, respectively.
Top biometrics news of the week
Hints and rumors that Apple will implement under-display biometrics, perhaps both its Touch ID and Face ID, in future iDevices has reached a crescendo, with a patent granted to the company for a camera covering either modality, depending on its positioning. An Apple observer is also reporting that face biometric authentication is coming to Macs and all other devices from the tech giant within the next two years.
Micro-identities, meaning digital identities heavily siloed based on data minimization principles, are proposed by AU10TIX CEO Carey O’Connor Kolaja as a remedy to the loss of user control as well as data breaches. Sophisticated fraud attacks are prompting ever-more data collection, which consumers see merchants as responsible for safeguarding, according to NuData and Pymnts research, while a Trulioo survey shows consumers are mostly convinced of the power of behavioral biometrics, but still need more cybersecurity education.
The Security Industry Association (SIA) provides a take-down of the popular media narrative that facial recognition is inaccurate and has widely diverging performance for different groups, penned by representatives of Rank One Computing and the SIA. Arguments put forth in, or with reference to Gender Shades, ACLU’s Amazon Rekognition tests, a 2012 FBI study and NIST’s “bias” report are examined and rejected one by one.
Contactless payments were fast-growing before the pandemic, and have boomed during it, making the potential market for biometric payment cards even larger. Contactless payments went up over 40 percent from 2020 to 2021, with cards making up 79 percent of the total. Fingerprint Cards sees France leading the way in adopting biometrics payment cards, just as the country has with other payment technologies in the past.
France has selected a consortium including Idemia, Sopra Steria, Atos and Idakto to develop the management system for its national digital ID scheme. The former two partners were also selected by the country at the beginning of the year for its biometric border control system. The new system is also expected to include a face biometrics component, which has yet to be contracted.
Registrations of SIM cards with the national biometric ID system in Nigeria has led to the addition of almost 60 million people to the NIN, with an average of 3 or 4 SIMs per NIN. The deadline for associating mobile accounts with digital IDs has been pushed back yet again, to October 31.
A joint project between United Nations bodies and the Reserve Bank of Malawi will see the creation of a unified database of digital ID and KYC data for the purpose of providing access to government and financial services, as well as health and educational resources. The project is starting with 1,500 participants.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning for the integration of Real ID-based mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) with its airport passenger checks, an agency official indicated during a DHS webinar. The discussion, which included S&T’s Arun Vemury, also covered the planned benefits of TSA biometrics programs, and emphasized the privacy protection of mDLs. Apple, meanwhile, is planning to use face biometrics for validation in its digital ID system.
Thales Digital Identity and Security played a leading roll in its parent company’s stronger first half of 2021, compared to a difficult start to the previous year because of the pandemic, according to an earnings report. Gains in transport and the unit it formed with the acquisition of Gemalto nearly offset the remaining impact to Thales aerospace business.
Onfido surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue in the second quarter, as its U.S. sales spiked by 200 percent and its partner program expanded. It is the fifth consecutive record quarter for the company.
Integrated Biometric Technology is back and planning to hire over 140 people in out of its new headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee. The company’s first incarnation created some of the first biometric software used by DHS and the FBI, and Idemia still offers technology that traces its lineage to the first go-round of IBT. Watch out for an upcoming Biometric Update interview with IBT CEO Charles Carrol.
A team of attorneys at Perkins Coie break down New York City’s new biometric data privacy ordinance, which came into effect in July and regulates commercial deployments, in a guest post for Biometric Update. They break down the new rule’s definitions, consequences, requirements and exemptions.
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