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Biometrics trusted for payments at World Cup, passports to get there

Thermal cameras, not so much
Biometrics trusted for payments at World Cup, passports to get there

Biometric passports continue to make headlines with market activity, with Idemia launching a demo passport for ‘Abroadia.’ PopID is bringing face biometric payments to the World Cup, showcasing another growth area. Thermal scanners, however, violate GDPR and other regulations, according to a legal opinion sought out by Big Brother Watch, and voice assistants are not growing as their advocates had hoped. Trust was a major theme of the week on Biometric Update in general, between digital identity, technology and privacy protections. Local Liberian media reports Laxton is the latest choice of the responsible government body for biometric voter registration kits, but the contract has not yet been officially awarded.

Top biometrics news of the week

The practical value of thermal cameras widely deployed to prevent the spread of Covid is highly debatable, and now Big Brother Watch has published a report arguing that their use also violates GDPR, and possibly other regulations as well. The legal opinion considers whether temperature measurements constitute ‘personal data.’ Group Director Silkie Carlo calls the practice of thermal scans “biosecurity theatre,” and says it eroded privacy while posing a public health risk.

Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa are considered by some a major potential growth area for voice biometrics, but the latest reports indicate Amazon is losing money and cutting costs in the business unit. Monthly users of voice assistants in the U.S. appears to have peaked, but no word yet on lower enthusiasm from market leaders Apple and Alphabet.

Idemia has developed a new demo biometric passport to show of its secure document technologies. The Seychelles is launching biometric passports made by IN Groupe, the Costa Rican passport has won a national award, and Armenia is halting passport issuance as it completes development of its next-generation travel document.

Contactless payments with face biometrics are available at the World Cup 2022 through a partnership between PopID, Visa and FIFA. The deployments include 8 stadiums and a fan area, as well as a pilot at three coffee shops supported by Qatar National Bank.

Scotland will pilot its digital identity platform for public service access next year. The platform offers 2FA for single sign-on, identity and attribute verification. To the South, the UK’s One Login needs work on verification for organizations and delegation, according to a senior HMRC official.

Two different U.S. congressional investigations have led to accusations that ID.me was inflating estimates of how much fraud federal and state relief programs suffered during the pandemic. The company says an ongoing federal audit will show the truth of the matter. Facial recognition providers are hoping criticisms about transparency do not become generalized across the industry.

The Philippines government has accelerated its issuance of physical PhilID cards as it races to meet a goal of 92 million distributed this year. A printed ePhilID which can also be used for public service access has surpassed 2 million issued within the first month to fill the gap in the meanwhile.

Digital Trust World 2022 was hosted this week in London by Goode Intelligence, bringing together digital identity and biometrics experts from Incode, Anonybit, Idemia, Ingenium, industry groups and the public sector, among others. The presentations and discussion focussed on fraud prevention and how to make reusable digital identities interoperable.

Digital identification systems must mimic the security experiences of the physical world if they are to deliver the same trust, Callsign VP North America Joe Micara writes in a Biometric Update guest post. Facial recognition’s weaknesses will have to be addressed, however, to go from a nearly ubiquitous technology to delivering universal trust.

Birth registration is difficult for many parents in Zimbabwe, leading to a raft of challenges later in life, as local NGO worker Tafadzwa Mavudzi explains in the latest ID16.9 podcast episode. Without legal identity in the form of a birth certificate, Zimbabwean children are often blocked from access to education and other services, entrenching poverty.

Reports out of Liberia suggest that Laxton is on track to win the country’s biometric voter registration contract, though some local media have a reputation for repeating misinformation. The latest updates indicate that the PPCC has approved the decision, but the troubled process has not yet officially been concluded.

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

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