Large-scale face biometrics deployments, ID document plan details revealed
A series of large biometrics projects, deployments and investments were unveiled in the most-read stories on Biometric Update this week, including a passport rollout and multiple issuance expansions, and a World Bank loan to the Philippines. Positive contract details for Infineon and Idemia were revealed, while the sale of VisionLabs and a bond issue by Fingerprint Cards reflect the market’s confidence, despite not-so-good news for SenseTime, Huawei and Kronos.
Top biometrics news of the week
Biometric passports have been launched in Zimbabwe, but the $120 price-tag is drawing heavy criticism, while Malawi has terminated its contract and is looking for a local supplier to quickly resume its launch, and Nigeria will attempt to serve its diaspora with identity document issuance. For next year Ireland plans to issue new passports to a third of its population, meanwhile, and Pakistan plans to issue upgraded travel documents.
Tools for digital health pass verification are reaching the adoption phase, but interoperability remains uncertain, as the audience of an APSCA webinar on digital health passes heard. The first in a webinar series featured presentations from representatives of the WHO, IATA, CommonCheck, and the European Commission.
A city in South Korea will test the use of facial recognition on more than 10,000 public CCTV cameras in its track and trace program for COVID-19. An opposition political party has come out against the pilot, and while the system promises to save workers many hours of investigation, public trust in the security of government-held identity data in the country has recently been undermined.
The drumbeat of multi-million dollar investments in biometrics continues with a telecom subsidiary snapping up VisionLabs from Sberbank, which wants to focus its biometrics efforts on STC, and a $33 million bond issue by Fingerprint Cards. Totm sold off a pair of telecom assets as it continues its pivot towards biometrics, but SenseTime’s planned IPO did not come off, due to another round of U.S. sanctions.
Biometric Update is pleased to introduce its newest contributor, digital identity veteran Heather Vescent, who provides weekly analysis to disentangle issues in the technology and business of ID. Vescent examines Avast’s acquisition of Evernym in her introductory column, and its implications for the emergence of SSI.
In an even larger investment, the Philippines is getting $600 million from the World Bank in a loan for a range of development areas, including digital identity infrastructure. PhilSys, the national ID system, will get a boost, and its requirement for SIM registry has passed one of its final legislative hurdles.
The TSA is expected to get more funding, possibly for its biometrics programs, out of the latest Executive Order from the Biden Administration, and DHS has awarded Vanderlande Industries $2.5 million to work on air passenger screening technology for the TSA. Paravision’s Carl Gohringer says extending the digital border is the future, but in the present Amadeus, Amazon and Clear all announced deployments.
Infineon and MK Smart are supplying technology for Vietnam’s new digital ID card, which will store biometric data in accordance with ICAO standards. The Coil on Module packaging from Infineon makes it easier and less expensive for MK Smart to produce the cards.
A previously-reported deal with Idemia supplying Australian law enforcement with an AFIS is worth twice as much as originally estimated. A trio of contacts related to the biometric system total almost $180 million over 13 years, government documents show. The contracts represent Australia’s second try at upgrading its current system.
Innovatrics Founder and CEO Ján Lunter has some advice for implementing biometrics into banks’ customer-facing systems in a guest post. Selfie biometric error rates still tend to be around 1 percent, Lunter writes, and changing customer expectations, in terms of the simplicity, speed, and degree of personalization are forcing service providers to reconsider their workflows.
A trove of documents suggesting not just complicity but at least attempted participation in biometric surveillance, including of ethnic minorities, by Huawei has been revealed by the Washington Post. The slides appear to be pitches to police or government agencies in China, though the company claims no knowledge of the material.
A ransomware attack has knocked out some Kronos cloud software, disrupting biometric time and attendance systems and apparently breaching some customer data, though biometric data has not been reported among stolen data yet. Service may not be fully restored for several weeks, the company says.
The Diego Beekman Mutual Housing complex in New York is using live security cameras with facial recognition to monitor building lobbies, small business entrances, and sidewalks, and residents tell The City (via Bronx Times) they are happy customers. Tenants took over the buildings due to the negligence of the previous landlord, and in contrast to the response to a Brooklyn deployment a few years ago, describe a renaissance in their neighborhood, supported by a biometric security system they enroll in with a headshot at 12 years old.
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