Biometrics funding and contracts bringing opportunity also mean more scrutiny
The public announcement of a French digital ID app supplied by Idemia and partners which avoids biometrics, and a tender for biometric enrollment kits from Ethiopia’s government made headlines on Biometric Update this week, along with the accelerating resumption of air travel. The business opportunities are reflected in a successful funding round and planned fingerprint sensor launch for Touch Biometrix, and increased revenues and more investment on the horizon for Sumsub. Corsight and Trust Stamp leaders offer insights into making facial recognition a force for good, and digital ID in the metaverse, respectively.
Top biometrics news of the week
A smartphone-based and user-controlled digital ID is coming soon to France, as an extension of the national identity card (CNIe). The app will not store biometric data, and will be voluntary, enabling users to authenticate their identity for access to public and private services. The contract for the app was won by iDAKTO, Idemia, Atos and Sopra Steria last year.
Ethiopia has launched its second tender for biometrics gear to support its national ID registration drive, with World Bank backing. The Ethiopian Digital Foundations Project is accepting bids to supply 75 each of a number of devices for enrolling fingerprint, face and iris biometrics, and biographical information, all as a single lot.
Illinois’ biometric data protection legislation continues to rack up costs for businesses, as Onfido’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against it on grounds that biometric data from photographs is excluded from coverage was rejected by a federal court judge. Google has reached a $100 million settlement agreement, but TikTok’s $92 million agreement could still be increased if the court sides with objections before it, which also targets the agreement’s attorneys’ fees.
The law may help protect people’s biometric data privacy, but how it will treat technologies that store and use biometrics at the edge, like Amazon’s new Astro robot, could shape the future development of consumer electronics. Like an Alexa voice assistant on wheels with a streaming video camera, the biometric smart-home device could collect unprecedented amounts of personal data.
The public trust must be earned with tools that promote data control and transparency for Canada to reach the potential benefits of widely-adopted digital ID, experts from Accenture and DIACC write, while an opinion piece in a daily newspaper shows just how much of an uphill climb that will be with some people.
Digital identity will be used for payments and banking like a credit card in the metaverse, Trust Stamp CEO Gareth Genner told a webinar audience. Genner pitched the company’s Metapresence Vault, with its biometrics-backed proprietary tokens, as providing the requisite combination of trust and privacy protection.
Corsight CEO Rob Watts says his company’s autonomous AI is performing facial recognition in conditions thought beyond possibility, but its ethical ambitions may be as grand. Watts discusses how Corsight holds itself to a high ethical standard, and VP of Research Ran Vardimon weighs in on algorithmic explainability.
Touch Biometrix has raised an unspecified amount in a successful Series B, and is approaching a sample product release of FAP60 fingerprint sensors based on the company’s active-pixel thin transistor film technology. The technology delivers high-quality sensors in different materials and form factors at low cost, the company says, and CEO Mike Cowin tells Biometric Update that Touch Biometrix is even considering a multi-product launch.
Sumsub is planning a Series B funding round of its own, with a target range of $80 to $100 million, having doubled its run rate in the past six months. The company has also added proof of address documents to its document scanning and authentication solution to compliment its biometric identity verification capabilities.
Increasing flight and passenger volumes are good news for the travel industry, but passport offices are struggling to keep up, with the UK and Canada among the latest to issue warnings to those seeking travel documents. Portugal is opening its biometric passport readers to UK travelers, giving them equal treatment with EU arrivals, while India is planning to launch biometric passports to updated ICAO standards before the end of the year.
Systems continue to be refined in India, with self-registration for face biometric air travel ID service Digi Yatra announced to allow travelers to register by linking their driver’s license or Aadhaar, each of which provide a face biometric. Mumbai’s Port Authority, meanwhile, has requested that a way to ease the requirement for biometric enrollment for cruise passengers.
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