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The varied applications of contactless biometrics, remote authentication on full display

The varied applications of contactless biometrics, remote authentication on full display

U.S. federal government spending was a theme common to many of the top stories of the week on Biometric Update, with a GAO facial recognition report coinciding with news about engagements involving Dignari, Identity Strategy Partners and Tascent, and Clearview.

The continuing momentum of contactless and remote biometrics also continues to make headlines. Yoti is partnered with the UK Post Office on a digital identity app, while on the private sector side Idex Biometrics and Fingerprint Cards are counting down the last steps to mass adoption of biometric payment cards, and Collins Aerospace parent Raytheon is touting “connected aviation” as the next step for air travel technology.

Top biometrics news of the week

The many uses the U.S. federal government puts facial recognition to, and the attendant contracts and opportunities are reviewed extensively by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Federal agencies plan to increase their use of facial recognition, with three-quarters of those surveyed already using the technology in 2020. Details are included for contracts and plans with over a dozen different biometrics providers.

Several contracts with federal agencies were also revealed this week. Dignari signed a BPA worth $99 million over five years with the Department of Homeland Security for identity, credential, and access management. The Army has awarded Identity Strategy Partners a Small Business Innovation Research project to build an access control system with Tascent biometrics, and a criminal investigations unit within the Army is a Clearview AI subscriber.

Researchers are warning that COVID-19 vaccination efforts could be hindered in some low and middle-income countries without adequate infrastructure to process information, including for patient identification. Biometrics may play a role in making patient identification both more reliable and privacy-preserving, and with systems required to manage the delivery of multiple dosages timed weeks or months apart, a narrow opportunity exists to build towards fair and sustainable healthcare infrastructure.

Contactless biometric access control with iris or facial recognition appears to be set for sustained growth, based on a pair of new market reports. The total access control market is expected to hit $15 billion by 2031, while iris biometrics are forecast to reach $4.3 billion within five years.

Comprehensive biometrics solutions like those Collins Aerospace provides to Tokyo Haneda and Las Vegas airports are part of what Collins parent Raytheon Technologies calls “connected aviation.” The company presents the familiar curb-to-gate seamless travel concept based on a single biometric token as part of a larger ecosystem taking in operations from data-driven insights for cabin crew to air traffic management.

Idex Biometrics and Fingerprint Cards have each signed new deals for biometric payment cards, with the former receiving a new order for its TrustedBio sensors from an existing customer ramping up production, and the latter partnering with Indian smart card manufacturer Seshaasai. FPC sees growth coming for fingerprint-enabled cards in Latin America.

Intel RealSense has been shut down after less than a year, in part due to weak sales of its cameras supporting on-device 3D facial recognition. The company is focusing on six core markets that do not include edge computer vision cameras.

The UK Post Office has launched a digital ID app developed by Yoti and providing biometrics-based identity or age verification. For now, the app can be used by people picking up packages at over 10 thousand Post Office locations, as well as 13,000 convenience stores, and in the long run may provide a head start in the UK’s expected adoption of digital identity.

Biometric data collected by aid agencies like UNHCR in Afghanistan is at risk of falling into the hands of the Taliban, according to experts and digital rights advocates. The risks were foreseeable, they say, and threaten to far outweigh the value biometrics have delivered for agencies since their introduction in the country in 2002.

Remote identity verification provided by ID.me, with facial authentication powered by Paravision, has saved Arizona $40 billion in fraudulent pandemic benefits payments since its introduction, according to a case study. A vulnerable system drew the attention of professional criminals, ID.me says, with an analysis showing the majority of claims were fraudulent, before the state contracted it to verify applicants’ identities.

FaceTec SVP for North American Operations Jay Meier presents what he calls ‘The PKI and device authentication fallacy’ in a Biometric Update guest post. Authenticating parties relying on trust in a device are leaving room for attackers in control of a trusted device, as in the SolarWinds breach, Meier writes. The fallacy is that the deterministic authentication of a device provided by PKI also authenticates the user, whereas in fact biometrics, though probabilistic, provides assurance PKI cannot.

Pindrop claims to have found the two unknown audio clips inserted into Anthony Bourdain biopic Roadrunner with deepfake technology, Wired reports. The company cleaned up the audio and processed speech segments with a synthetic voice detection algorithm in an initial scan, and then false positives removed from the 30 segments scoring the highest probability. The film’s production company and distributor have declined to comment.

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