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CEOs of biometrics providers at three different stages set the scene for 2022

CEOs of biometrics providers at three different stages set the scene for 2022

The Chief Executives of Fingerprint Cards, BioCatch and startup Passage shared their insights with Biometric Update this week, while Apple patents made headlines and GBG made an acquisition. The digital identity situations in Europe, America and Africa are thrown in stark relief, even as each shows strengths and weaknesses. An Okta study shows people’s comfort with digital ID is rising, but indications around the world show people are also increasingly sure of what they do not want.

Top biometrics news of the week

Fingerprint Cards CEO Christian Fredrikson joins Biometric Update to discuss the launch of separate subsidiaries to look after its biometric payment cards and mobile device businesses in our most-read story of the week. The conversation touches on the process of carving up an established company, how the markets its plays in fit together and what the future holds for the companies.

Apple is bringing a periocular version of Face ID for people wearing masks to unlock iPhones, even without the aid of an Apple Watch. Currently in beta for late-model iPhones, the authentication feature provides lower security, and can be toggled on or off. Ear canal biometrics may be the next modality popularized by the consumer tech giant, with a published patent describing a way to secure AirPods.

People have a right to digital identity and it should therefore be universally available throughout Europe, according to a draft declaration on digital rights and principles from the EC. The document is intended to promote a common vision based on European values, including universal access to public services. The Word Bank also recently published guidance on designing digital ID systems to include people of all sexual orientations and genders.

Consumers across Europe are increasingly comfortable with digital ID, and also demanding of it, according to new survey results from Okta. Nearly two-thirds of consumers across nine countries said they would be willing to have personal details included in a digital ID, but less than one in ten support the inclusion of financial data.

Statewatch warns that EU borders have become saturated with high tech surveillance technologies, including biometrics, in response to the migrant crisis. Government agencies are too quick to turn to the same set of companies, the report alleges, pointing out Idemia and Sopra Steria, among others, and tracking the billions in spending.

Uganda is planning a biometric enrollment drive to increase its national digital ID program’s coverage beyond the current 25.6 million people, attendees heard during the latest ID4Africa Livecast. Presentations by a pair of representatives from NIRA, the agency responsible, highlighted the resource constraints and plans to upgrade the system.

The other segments of the ID4Africa online event recapped the key insights from last season’s trilogy on the dark side of identity, and considered the role of identity in future online environments like the metaverse.

The deployment of identity proofing from ID.me by the IRS has drawn heavy criticism, reportedly prompting the agency to consider alternative options for online service access. The negative attention continues to roll in, but so does evidence of fraud prevented, and the company is hiring.

A major government tender for ID document and face biometrics checks has been launched by Australia to back its national ID plans. The Home Affairs tender consists of three components, for document verification, facial recognition against the national driver’s license database, and the hub for brokering data.

Kenyan telecom Safaricom has reportedly asked users to enroll their face biometrics for SIM re- registration, and cited regulatory requirements which are disputed in the press. NEC XON, meanwhile, has upgraded a self-service kiosk used to enroll biometrics for SIM card issuance.

Passwordless biometrics access control startup Passage has come out of stealth with a $4 million fundraising round, and tells Biometric Update in an interview that the software is intended to make passwordless authentication more accessible for developers. The company is moving into its public beta testing phase.

New BioCatch CEO Gadi Mazor also told Biometric Update about the company’s regional growth and how fraud, and by extension fraud detection with behavioral biometrics, has changed.

New Zealand selfie biometrics provider Cloudcheck has been snapped up by GBG for nearly $19 million, giving the latter a local presence and domestic data sources, just months after the Acuant deal.

Happy 20th birthday to Estonia’s digital ID card, which has evolved over the years, as ERR News reports, but remains an oft-cited example of effective government action. More than four million cards have been issued by the nation of 1.3 million.

If you spot any content we should share with the people in biometrics and the broader digital identity community, please let us know in the comments below or social media.

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