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Biometric identity documents going digital, national, and eventually maybe away

Biometric identity documents going digital, national, and eventually maybe away

Biometric identity documents of various types, digital and physical, are prominent among the most-read stories of the week on Biometric Update. An EU digital identity wallet pilot with iProov technology is advancing towards a launch early next year, the Better Identity Coalition is calling for states to take the lead in the U.S., and a Sumsub executive makes the case for database checks to eventually replace ID documents as the source of trust in identity verification. Meanwhile, SITA, Amadeus and Oosto each share their visions for more connected air travel with biometrics in the near future.

Top biometrics news of the week

An invisibility cloak that renders the wearer undetectable by biometric surveillance systems with a camouflage pattern generated by an algorithm has been developed by Chinese university students. The students won first prize in a competition held by Huawei with their invention. The coat also works at night, using embedded thermal devices to thwart infrared thermal imaging.

A UK Government report on China’s vast surveillance network, as well as journalists in the U.S., emphasize the use of public cameras and facial recognition, and the tracking capability they provide. The tools make it easier to track down protestors away from the volatility of public demonstrations, they say.

The EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council sets the West in opposition to China on AI governance, which could contribute to a growing emphasis all around on digital sovereignty, writes Benjamin Cedric Larson, AI project lead for the World Economic Forum for The Brookings Institute. Beyond different regulatory approaches and approved uses of data, Larson suggests that attempts to preserve self-sufficiency may drive a Balkanization in high tech.

The European Commission is funding a digital identity wallet pilot led by a Nordic-Baltic consortium and including iProov technology, with a launch due in March. Financial services providers in several countries will take part in the pilot, which makes use of biometrics and Verifiable Credentials.

Sri Lanka is starting procurements for its national digital identity scheme, which will be based on MOSIP and supported by millions of dollars from India. It is not clear how open tenders for the project will be, however. Enrollment of face, fingerprint and iris biometrics is expected to begin in 2024.

A blueprint for U.S. states to take the leadership position on national digital ID long-ignored by federal lawmakers from the Better Identity Coalition identifies half-a-dozen steps lawmakers can take. The industry group, which includes Idemia and Onfido among its members, would like motor vehicle administrators to be in charge of building and maintaining the systems.

Malawi went from no national ID system to 94 percent digital identity coverage in five years, saving millions of dollars in just one among several benefiting programs. These and other insights into Malawi’s system were shared by officials during the latest ID4Africa Livecast. The savings demonstrated a financial sustainability model Aadhaar visionary Nandan Nilekani promoted in the first segment of the event, and the challenges facing ID systems for refugees followed.

Orchestrating digital identity and biometrics to take complexity out of the hands of clients was a natural step for Sumsub, CTO Vyacheslav Zholudev tells Biometric Update in an interview. Zholudev also says checks against government databases could eventually replace document-based identity verification, and discusses challenges in the crypto industry.

SITA sees more automated and digital ID applications in the future of air travel, with the metaverse taking a major role by 2030. Amadeus broadly agrees on the metaverse and also predicts more biometrics in travel payments and remote work scenarios, and Oosto outlines the many ways face biometrics are already being deployed in a new infographic.

Auto maker Genesis says one of its forthcoming models will be the world’s first car to feature facial recognition for entry and starting the engine. A Canadian startup has developed a system to operate dashboard controls with face gesture recognition, and with cars collecting all this data, a privacy tech provider has patented a system for wiping vehicles of potentially sensitive personal data.

University of Georgia researchers argue that ear recognition could be a valuable biometric modality. Ear biometrics can be 99 percent accurate, they say, based on testing with mobile devices. Other suggested benefits include capture that is passive, contactless, and non-intrusive.

Please tell us about any podcasts, webinars or other content you would like to share with the people in biometrics and the global digital identity community in the comments below or through social media.

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