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Biometrics growth collides with overall market conditions in potential blockbuster deals

Biometrics growth collides with overall market conditions in potential blockbuster deals
 

Biometrics M&A activity and rumor stole the top headlines of the week on Biometric Update, with Idemia’s prospective sale set to launch, talks beginning between GBG and a possible buyer, and a deal completed by Assa Abloy to acquire Brazilian facial recognition Control iD. Australia’s big banks lining up behind eftpos’ digital identity platform was also a widely-read story, and Experian won two government contracts to contribute to digital ID infrastructure.

Top biometrics news of the week

Idemia could be sold this year, possibly as one company providing biometrics and digital ID technology and another serving the multinational’s other markets. General market conditions appear to be less than ideal, but the sale launch by venture capital owner Advent is reportedly imminent.

A U.S. private equity firm has also confirmed interest in acquiring GBG in a potential $1.5 billion deal, with exchange rates boosting the buyer side of the equation for the UK company. The company’s stock has been on a roller-coaster ride that seems more related to outside forces than its own activity. In a similar vein but for a different reason, Mitek is being discounted by investors to an unreasonable extent, a Forbes analyst argues, pointing to the future gains its HooYu acquisition sets up.

Brazilian biometrics developer Control iD has been acquired by Assa Abloy for an undisclosed price to boost the global access control giant’s time and attendance-tracking capabilities. Facial recognition is also being used successfully for access control at an Israeli hospital, thanks to Oosto, a visitor management system has been upgraded by Precise Biometrics, Safr has a new ANZ distributor, and Genetec has been named the fastest-growing company in the space by a market research firm.

Australia’s four biggest banks have all signed up to support eftpos’ ConnectID as a digital identity for access to banking and other online services. The system is intended to make digital transactions more secure, as well as easier. Customer trials are planned for later this year, with a full-scale launch midway through 2023.

A pair of UK government contracts won by Experian and potentially worth more than $12.5 million combined will see the company provide authentication software, fraud prevention technology, PEP and sanctions checks, and email and phone number validation for the country’s digital ID system. The UK is also getting a new digital identity verification system for people registering businesses, and a digital property market system.

The ’Buy Now, Pay Later’ segment of the ecommerce market is growing rapidly, and so is the attention it is paid by fraudsters. Seon Product Evangelist Gergo Varga writes in a Biometric Update guest post that synthetic identity attacks against BNPL sites are easier to get away with, account takeovers are also too common, and vulnerable vendors need to compliment liveness and biometric checks with real-time risk assessments and other frictionless technologies.

Age verification providers in the UK are warning the ICO against following in the footsteps of French and German regulators, who they say have invited resistance by targeting only high-profile adult websites for enforcement. OneID is the latest technology provider accredited for age verification by the national certification scheme, meanwhile.

IARPA’s Briar program has recruited 900 volunteers to test technologies for long-distance biometric identification. The plan is to be able to identify people 1,000 feet away from the ground or the air, and Polaris is working on facial recognition to identify people in the dark from a distance of 1,600 feet.

Human Rights Watch has long opposed facial recognition and expressed reservations about digital IDs, but an interview with Maya Wang in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists makes clear that cell phones and database integrations are among the main tools of the Integrated Joint Operations Platform. The IJOP is one of the main tools used by China’s government for mass surveillance in Xinjiang.

Decentralization is necessary to achieve the universal digital ID that can deliver the interoperability, privacy and convenience users want in digital experiences, Idex Biometrics CEO Vince Graziani writes in a guest post. The benefit to governments that move beyond centralized databases can include better quality, faster and less expensive service deliver, Graziani argues.

A pair of biometrics vulnerabilities were revealed this week, with Symantec identifying exposed AWS access token used by third-party software providers leaving hundreds of thousands of biometric templates exposed. In the other case a researcher has demonstrated how to steal biometric templates from smart home devices with a droplock hack.

Please let us know about any editorials, podcasts or other content that we should share with the people in biometrics and the digital identity community in the comments below or through social media.

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