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€2.8M funding for startup Mobai’s biometric data protection project

€2.8M funding for startup Mobai’s biometric data protection project

Enhanced face biometrics, presentation attack detection, face quality assessment and biometric template protection in the Scandinavian banking sector are the aims behind the awarding of €2.8 million (US$3.2 million) to start up Mobai, a spin-off of NTNU university.

Vipps BankID, Sparebank1 Østlandet, and KU Leuven and NTNU universities are working in partnership with Mobai to improve the quality of facial biometric verification for services subject to the EU’s eIDAS and AML regulation. The joint project has been called SALT (deep breath: Secure privacy-preserving Authentication using faciaL biometrics to proTect your identity). The funding appears to come from the Norwegian Research Council.

The R&D project is expected to open the market for new uses of biometric data in online applications where high levels of trust are required. The consortium’s banking partners will work on integration while the universities concentrate on the technical and legal issues.

“We want to move face recognition beyond comparing a photo you store on a device with a selfie,” says Brage Strand, CEO of Mobai.

“Our vision is a seamless process of bringing the root-of-trust that we find in ePassports into a digital domain, and at the same time implement privacy-preserving technology to ensure protection of individual personal data and compliance to GDPR.”

Norway’s BankID by Vipps is extremely successful in Scandinavia (possibly too successful) and used on a daily basis, in Norway by 4.3 million people.

“We see face recognition as a very promising and effective way to add an extra layer of security that will help combat identity theft, fraud and money laundering,” said Dag Arne Hoberg, EVP for Innovation and Business Development in SpareBank 1 Østlandet, Norway’s fourth largest savings bank.

“Imagine a situation where you may actually sign a mortgage electronically and use a ‘selfie’ as part of this process to confirm that you are the right person to sign.”

Mobai recently added two new executives to strengthen the team for commercial growth and international expansion.

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