Face biometrics deployments and solutions unveiled on four continents
Developments in face biometrics from standards work to product launches made headlines over the past week. Deployments of border control face biometrics systems from Idemia in Australia, and possibly Thales in Spain, made up a pair of the top stories of the week on Biometric Update. New services based on facial recognition have been launched by Clearview and Persona, and while a standard in development applies to testing of bias more generally, the issue being addressed is found most often in the face modality. An OHCHR report, likewise, refers to a range of technologies, but has the greatest implications for facial recognition.
Top biometrics news of the week
Spain has announced the installation of a biometric system to check the identity of people crossing the border between Morocco and the city of Cueta, in line with the EU’s EES. No vendor was revealed, but the Spanish government just contracted Thales for 1,500 biometric terminals for use at its borders.
Australia has contracted Idemia to deploy a two-step face biometrics system for international airport arrivals. The system involves facial verification with an ID document at a kiosk, and then facial recognition for paperless passage through a gate. The contract is worth more than $28 million and runs until mid-2024.
The standard for testing fairness in face biometrics systems is moving through the development process, with ISO seeking comments on a working draft. MdTF’s John Howard and Yevgeniy Sirotin are co-editors of the standard, and Howard tells Biometric Update that the 19795-10 standard represents the first effort to establish a consensus for how to measure demographic bias in biometrics.
The UN Human Rights Office says in a new report that national digital identity systems and centralized biometrics databases have enabled public surveillance on a scale previously impossible. The OHCHR report urges more data protection legislation and greater transparency, as well as a moratorium on hacking and biometric surveillance technologies.
Nigeria has now issued almost 90 million NINs, but the centralized database that holds citizen biometrics and digital identity data is nearly full. Funding is needed to carry out an authorized increase in capacity to fit 250 million people in the database, and the national identity agency is in the process of building partnerships to increase enrollments.
Clearview AI has introduced a new service for public defenders to allow them to use the company’s facial recognition software and biometric database to identify potential witnesses and correct misidentifications. The JusticeClearview tool has already been used successfully in the defense of a man in the U.S. accused of being behind the wheel during a fatal automobile crash.
Persona has built a service for biometric identity verification using Brazil’s national identity database, operated by Serpro. Businesses can use the service to prevent fraud with Persona’s selfie biometrics and liveness detection, screening out the forged ID documents that plague the country.
Across the border in Columbia, more than half a million people have applied for the national digital ID, which like the Brazilian ID includes face biometrics. The digital credential is an optional version of the ID cards with embedded microchips, and is intended to make public service access easier.
Facial analysis algorithms continue to show racial prejudice, according to research performed by an American academic. The study, which evaluated emotion recognition systems from three technology providers, is presented in both a consumer news outlet and a trade publication as being about facial recognition, without any clarification of the differences, or argument that they do not matter.
The importance of protecting digital identity in the metaverse is in focus, with Teleperformance calling it out in a white paper, which calls for the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group and other groups to work on the infrastructure to protect it. Estonia is working on doing so, and the Metaverse Academy wants to help train the personnel.
Sharing post-secondary educational qualifications is an ideal use case for self-sovereign identity, as explained by cheqd Co-founder and CEO Fraser Edwards in a guest post for Biometric Update. Digital credentials could protect students from data breaches, preserve the integrity of academic achievements, and prevent the withholding of qualifications, he argues.
Internet provocateur Dries Depoorter has built a system using facial recognition and publicly searchable surveillance cameras to pry back the virtual curtains around influencers’ photos shared on Instagram, as reported by Mashable. Some commenters have objected on privacy grounds, while others warn that the same tools could be abused by stalkers.
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