Government digital identity projects hit milestones as next-generation approaches weighed
Developments in face biometrics applications, legal wrangling and databases inspired several of the most widely-read stories on Biometric Update this week, while digital identity initiatives in the public sector continue to gain traction, and attention. Amadeus and Pangiam have new airport biometrics deals, more Hikvision sanctions could shake up the surveillance industry, and Clearview has settled one of its court disputes with minimal costs. It is also noteworthy that five companies developing or providing biometric technology announced over $90 million in new funding.
Top biometrics news of the week
A review of feedback on eIDAS’ digital ID framework from various stakeholders shows strong interest in the EU Digital Wallet, and support for the handling of qualified trust service providers, but also points out areas where work is still needed, such as in data standards. Switzerland is considering its next steps for its proposed decentralized digital ID system, while Finland’s digital ID proposal has earned a key endorsement, with some qualifications.
Italy has reached 30 million enrollments to its national digital ID system, putting it nearly a year ahead of schedule. The SPID was used for more than 500 million transactions for public services in 2021, and over 330 million in the first quarter of this year.
Ireland is another European success story in digital ID adoption for public services, Luxembourg has launched a new app for public sector services, and Morocco’s digital ID cards can now be used to access government services online. An Australian state urges citizens to sign up for it’s digital ID, while a former official criticizes the country’s federal efforts.
Buenos Aires is developing a system for decentralized digital ID, which will be used for public and private sector services, and is working on a white paper to guide the process. Biometrics seem set for inclusion, but it is early in the process, so details remain vague.
The Internet Identity Workshop returned in-person, and a column examines the decentralized identity movement at the moment Gartner characterizes as its peak, in terms of the hype cycle. The ETH community is showing up in force at a moment when the previous generation’s initiatives are grappling with stalled standards and missed opportunities.
Andrew Bud, iProov CEO tells Verdict that the UK and EU versions of GDPR are fundamentally sound, but are not entirely clear about modern technologies like biometrics. Bud provides advice for entrepreneurs, scaling startups, and explains why digital identity was never taken seriously before the pandemic.
More sanctions may soon be imposed on Hikvision by the U.S., in an escalation which could significantly alter the global surveillance camera market, by extending penalties to organizations that collaborate with the Chinese camera-maker. The UK’s Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner is asking for closer scrutiny on public procurements, with particular reference to Hikvision.
The proposal to link SIM cards with biometric data in South Africa has drawn statements of support from iiDENTIFii’s CEO and a government official, who suggest it could significantly reduce fraud, improve public benefits delivery, and spur digital payments adoption. A study examining the impact of similar moves in several African nations is on the way, as outlined in a recent Turing Institute presentation.
The airport market continues to generate revenues, as Amadeus will support a further roll-out of airport biometrics in Houston, and Pangiam and IDSS are part of a group that will trial a screening system at UK airports. Airports in Singapore, South Africa, and Brazil are also moving forward with launches or expansions biometrics deployments.
Clearview AI settled a lawsuit over biometric data privacy with the ACLU and myriad other groups, largely by re-committing to positions previously staked. Clearview’s representation called it ‘a huge win’ for the company, and CEO Hoan Ton-That tells Biometric Update it provides certainty for the broader biometrics industry.
Bans and restrictions on facial recognition use in the U.S. have been repealed in California and Ohio, and are under review in several other jurisdictions. An EFF review warns that the high-water mark for restrictions may have been reached, but further rules and regulations are also being proposed.
A public dataset of facial images has been built by a team of AI researchers with 260 million images, and another, autonomously curated dataset, for biometrics research. The datasets, WebFace42M in particular, could restore some of the research resource imbalance between the public and private sectors.
ITL’s face biometrics-based age check system for in-person purchases of regulated items could not only make the job of retail employees easier and increase compliance, but even decrease incidents of violence, as the company’s Andrew O’Brien explains to Biometric Update. Trials are underway now.
The week also saw a spree of investments in biometrics, with background check provider Certn taking in $50 million, gun-maker Biofire announcing $17 million in funding, IAM provider ProofID receiving $18.5 million, identity verifier Identitypass raising $2.8 million, and payments startup Wink bringing in $2.85 million.
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