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Biometrics buoys the big fish’s valuation, and an industry looks on with bated breath

Biometrics buoys the big fish’s valuation, and an industry looks on with bated breath

A blockbuster biometrics deal appears to have reached the bidding phase, and Idemia’s prospective sale made the most-read article of the week on Biometric Update. Public sector digital identity ecosystems was also a common theme among top headlines, from an in-depth look at Thailand’s new system, to an opinion piece from Mitek’s Gareth Narinesingh on how the UK government can scale up adoption of digital ID without resorting to issuing the credentials itself.

Top biometrics news of the week

Idemia could fetch 6 billion euros in a sale, if it is sold by owner Advent without breaking it up, according to the latest reports. The biometrics side of the business should demand a higher multiple than the payments side, analysts say, as a higher growth area, but selling them together could take Thales out of the running due to competition regulations.

Assets of Passbase, apparently including its selfie biometrics capabilities, have been acquired by American reusable identity provider Parallel Markets for an undisclosed sum. Parallel plans to launch an onboarding solution with technology from Passbase, whose CEO joins the acquirer as VP of Strategy.

The upgraded Pak-ID app from NADRA allows Pakistanis to scan their ID documents with a built-in, real-time document recognition module and use digital signatures. Part of the country’s Digital Pakistan push, the app now features enhanced security, and is collecting user feedback for continued development.

Jamaica is running a public awareness campaign and setting up new biometric enrollment centers as it prepares to issue national digital IDs. A birth certificate issuance program will run concurrently with the digital ID push, while biometric passports are set to begin rolling out.

Nepal’s digital ID cards have not yet replaced the citizenship document as expected, leading many in the country to openly question its value. A Kenyan political representative says officials are demanding bribes to issue ID cards, while the PSA has announced a new milestone in issuance of the Philippines’ digital IDs.

Thailand’s blockchain-based digital ID is explained in a feature interview with NDID CEO Boonsun Prasitsumrit. Thais are enrolled in the system in the course of conducting their normal businesses at a bank branch, and can then call back to that in-person KYC check with biometrics. Sign-up completion rates for digital services have improved.

The UK’s Trust Framework has not yet won over the public to using digital ID, but One Login could have a significant trickle-down effect, writes Mitek Head of Digital Identity Gareth Narinesingh in a Biometric Update guest post. Narinesingh argues that trust and adoption can be fostered, in the absence of a national ID scheme, with the right legislation and a true understanding of SSI.

Returning control to consumers through decentralized identity is now a common refrain, as also demonstrated by a Help Net Security video featuring Entrust VP of Payments and Identities Jenn Markey. The opportunity will be worth $40 billion by 2023, Markey notes in an explanation of the basics of identity verification and passwordless authentication for consumers.

How digital ID is used to help vulnerable populations was spotlighted in the latest ID4Africa livecast. Representatives of Famoco and WFP, Gravity and the Kenyan Red Cross, and Paycode described a biometric system used to disburse food aid, a digital wallet-based decentralized ID, and biometric payments for financial inclusion in Zambia, respectively. The first part of the livecast shared Sierra Leone’s progress in upgrading its civil registry and establishing a digital ID system.

An airport in Vietnam is among the latest to announce the deployment of biometrics for passenger authentication. NEC America expects airport digital ID systems to evolve in the direction of unified platforms, while a European short-haul carrier is intrigued by the potential of heartbeat recognition.

The IRS is blaming the volume of traffic its website gets from Americans at tax time for its decision to delay the implementation of Login.gov as a way for taxpayers to log in. The decision casts into doubt the likelihood that the GSA will hit its adoption targets for Login.gov this year.

The European Union has explicitly sought to take a policy lead in some areas of vital importance to digital identity and biometrics, such as with its GDPR. The AI Act and Digital Wallet program are progressing just as the attention paid to both topics surges worldwide.

Please let us know about any content you think we should share with others who work in biometrics or are involved in the broader digital identity community in the comments below, or through social media.

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