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Trust in biometrics sought with AI Act, government programs and ethical facial recognition

Trust in biometrics sought with AI Act, government programs and ethical facial recognition

Biometrics adoption is being encouraged in the public sector for digital ID and online government applications, as it continues to rise in the private sector from smartphones, where Fingerprint Cards has announced new wins to airport processes, where NEC technology is being deployed and Vision-Box is positioning for more growth. National digital ID programs are under the microscope, while Thales has signed a major deal in Vietnam, and a debate has broken out on facial recognition ethics between Oosto and Clearview AI.

Top biometrics news of the week

The potential for digital identity to boost national economies is examined by the World Economic Forum in a new white paper. The WEF sees digital ID as benefitting people by easing access to a range of services, helping small and medium-sized businesses with easier access to financing, and help establish robust growth in digital service industries, with China’s digital wealth-management market offered as an example.

Research ICT Africa has released a series of extensive reports delving into the digital identity systems in 10 African countries. The group sees significant differences in each, but draws some common conclusions around the importance of collaborative design and governance of systems, including with intended beneficiaries.

The Australian government’s Trusted Digital Identity Bill has not addressed the concerns previously raised around the potential vulnerability of a huge trove of PII. Meanwhile, a survey of Brits and Americans shows most millennials have little or no trust in government to protect their personal information, and another indicates that most British people are not informed about their government’s digital ID plans.

The UK government is setting up a trial of mobile self-enrollment for people submitting their biometrics to enter the country, and it has invited a lot of biometrics providers to participate. FaceTec, GBG, Idemia, NPS, Regula, Trust Stamp, Thales, Veridium, Aware, ID R&D, NEC NSS, Tech5 and Vision-Box are all listed as part of the trial.

Europe’s proposed AI Act will impose a set of requirements for AI and biometrics providers that most are not used to dealing with, but must navigate, possibly as a matter of survival. This was a top take-away from an EAB lunch talk by Dr. Oliver Haase, co-founder of Validate ML. Haase explains that because harmonized standards will not be available to most vendors, they will have to rely on external conformity assessments before bringing high-risk AI systems to market.

Thales has signed a massive deal to provide a range of services, including biometrics and smart city technologies, from all of its various divisions, in Vietnam. The company has also published a position paper on responsible and ethical facial recognition, which highlights the need for public education and well-defined legal frameworks.

Oosto has endorsed a call by Australia’s data protection authority for the deletion of biometric data scraped from the internet as part of its push for ethical facial recognition, following a ruling on Clearview AI. Clearview’s CEO gives Biometric Update his side of things.

While lawsuits involving biometrics are increasing, but a national law with broad scope and a private right of action is necessary to protect the public from the potential abuse of biometric data, Abine and DeleteMe Co-founder and CEO Rob Shavell writes in a guest post for Biometric Update. Shavell reviews the legal landscape and throws his support behind NBIPA.

A leak of data from a pair of U.S. police departments illustrates why so few people trust the data protection capabilities of public sector organizations, or their internal policies and controls. A mysterious hacker has exfiltrated 1.8 terabytes of surveillance footage taken by helicopters and stored by the Dallas Police Department and Georgia State Patrol, Wired reports. The footage could potentially be used with facial recognition, retrospectively. A DPD representative says security measures make the department unable to disclose its data storage practices, though this clearly did not keep its video stores from being breached.

Consumers struggling with biometric unlocking for their high-end smartphones received some answers this week, as the Google explained that the slow response of the Pixel 6’s in-display fingerprint sensor is due to unspecified security features. Apple has taken a step towards potentially addressing the difficulties people have had using Face ID with masks by patenting a system which uses mask detection to activate periocular biometrics. Fingerprint Cards has announced a series of design wins for Xiaomi phones, meanwhile.

NEC’s I:Delight has been deployed for a Star Alliance Biometrics contactless boarding program for Austrian Airlines passengers at Vienna Airport’s Terminal 3 and a state-owned Indonesian firm is working on working on a similar system. Vision-Box is preparing for more airport biometrics growth with a new Malaysian facility, and IATA is getting into digital identity for travel agents.

Socure held its second major fundraising round of 2021, following up a $100 million round with a $450 million blockbuster. The company plans to bring its selfie biometrics to new markets and extend its product line throughout the customer journey. Idex Biometrics also has raised $30 million — $5 million more than it announced as its intention – in an oversubscribed private placement to sustain the company to the point of break-even cashflow, with significant participation from company insiders.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions for articles or content we should share with the biometrics industry and wider digital identity community in the comments below or through social media.

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