Biometrics infrastructure contracts, investment plans indicate sustained market growth
An indication of things to come in mobile biometrics from Fingerprint Cards was the most widely-read article of the week on Biometric Update this week, amid a series of biometrics contracts, launches and deployment announcements. Along with a border control deal for secunet, an update of Clearview’s facial recognition app, and issuance of Zimbabwe’s new biometric passports representing a flurry of current activity, future projects to equip a NATO peacekeeping mission and build out airport biometrics in Canada and South Africa indicate the sustainability of industry growth.
Top biometrics news of the week
A hint dropped by Fingerprint Cards CEO Christian Fredrikson in a recent investor presentation about a new biometric technology coming for the mobile device market prompted Biometric Update to reach out for details. The technology in development, the company responded, is for under-display biometrics on devices with ‘pol-less OLED’ screens, which some observers expect to be widely implemented in future smartphones.
NATO intends to collect bids for a tender to provide devices for biometrics enrollment to its peacekeeping forces in Kosovo. The €750,000 contract is to provide equipment for use in vetting local employees, and includes six sets of gear for office use, six backups and two mobile kits. The formal invitation for bids is expected in Q3, but an initial bidder list shows Atos, Thales, and Honeywell have already engaged.
Clearview AI has announced an upgrade to its facial recognition app, and an expansion of its database to 20 billion images from the web. Improvements in Clearview’s version 2.0 include tools for image enhancement, investigation management and compliance, as well as workflow tracking and reporting.
Zimbabwe’s new biometric passports are rolling out in some provinces, the government says, and an express issuance center in Harare can turn them out in 48 hours. A mobile enrollment campaign for digital ID and birth certificate registration is also launching, and runs from April through September of this year.
As the quest for unified digital ID continues, digital ministers in Australia committed in a meeting to active exploration of digital ID for the country, including interoperability, but they have also been working on it since 2015. The UK’s One Login, meanwhile, is set to go live next month, and reach full operation in three years, and U.S. Veterans Affairs has launched a biometric app and single sign-on function.
Biometric travel documents are making it easier for Ukrainians fleeing the war in their home-country to enter France, as they do not need visas. The requirement to provide biometric data to enter Canada, however, is delaying some applications, and drawing criticism, though the government has taken action to clear the bottleneck.
Canada’s largest airport is also getting more biometrics, as part of an infrastructure investment. South Africa has made an even broader commitment to introduce the biometric checks at airports and land borders, and in the U.S., CBP’s face biometrics have been introduced at an Alabama Cruise Ship terminal.
The use of digital ID to secure mobile networks and mobile subscriber bases to grow government databases was examined in the latest ID4Africa livecast. Both government representatives and telecom operators from Nigeria and Tanzania, leaders in such projects, shared their experiences. Multiple speakers emphasized the importance of cooperation between government digital ID authorities and telecoms operators.
Austria’s government has awarded a €14.6 million contract to secunet to provide monitoring and security systems, including self-registration kiosks, portable border-check systems and cameras. The equipment and services will be used to implement Europe’s biometric Entry/Exit system, which comes into effect in May.
The use of facial recognition and AI surveillance technologies to control the U.S. border is a major concern for Timnit Gebru, founder of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute and former Google researcher, according to an interview published in The Washington Post. AI regulation should make providers demonstrate the safety of their products before rolling them out, she says.
Data privacy laws being passed in U.S. states are moving in the direction of Europe’s GDPR, Michael Young and Nick Schmidt of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP write for Biometric Update in a guest post, shifting the responsibilities and liabilities of businesses. They offer guidance on how to keep your company compliant.
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