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Biometrics to protect payments and retailers approved by investors and regulators

Biometrics to protect payments and retailers approved by investors and regulators

Biometrics to prevent fraudulent online transactions and for protection against retail theft are the subject of the most-read stories on Biometric Update over the past week, along with the regulations in each area. Regula sees an increase in fake ID documents, and investors are bullish enough on Fourthline’s biometric compliance platform to put 50 million pounds into it. Facewatch’s live facial recognition system for stores was given an important regulatory thumbs-up in the UK. Meanwhile, Hedera sees momentum behind decentralized digital ID based on distributed ledgers, and advantages to the approach that make it worth greater support.

Top biometrics news of the week

A World Economic Forum panel on digital identity promoted the concept of a decentralized digital ID based on blockchain technology in a workshop at its big annual meeting in Davos. Hedera President and Panel Chair Brett McDowell summarizes the need for continued standards and policy support for the open technologies that will provide the foundation.

Lawmakers in New Zealand have passed a bill to put in place a regulatory framework for the country’s digital identity system. The framework is intended to ensure on opt-in system that puts control of identity information in the hands of individuals. A bill has advanced in the U.S. Senate, an amendment is suggested in the UK, and new legislation is urged by an expert panel in Australia.

Sweden’s government wants to support digital payments, and an inquiry into how it should do so has urged the establishment of a national digital identity system. Such a system could provide the security and privacy assurances people need, and reduce the current burden customer identification places on businesses, the inquiry’s report states.

Fintechs and banks are experiencing similar challenges with ID document fraud, but banks in greater measure, according to a new report commissioned by Regula. A TransUnion report, meanwhile, shows synthetic identities spiking among Canadian and American digital fraud attempts.

Erik Maris has been appointed chairman of Idemia’s supervisory board, taking over from the departing Yann Delabriere. Maris is an advisory partner at Idemia parent Advent International, and takes the reigns ahead of a potential $6.5 billion sale.

WhatsApp is reportedly expanding its support for biometrics, introducing face or fingerprint unlocking for individual messaging threads. The move would fit with Meta’s attempts to position WhatsApp as the messaging app choice for security-conscious consumers.

At the opening of a new office and production center for the Nigeria Immigration Service, a government minster said more facilities are coming as the nation attempts to clear a backlog of applications for biometric passports. Across the continent Zimbabwe has opened four new passport application offices, and Uganda is moving to polycarbonate passport booklets.

Adoption of voice biometrics is increasing in several industries, and Blank Rome Attorneys Jeffrey N. Rosenthal and Amanda M. Noonan review the legal responsibilities that they take on when doing so in a Biometric Update guest post. Recent developments have raised the stakes, but most lawsuits involving voice so far have not survived early hearings.

A test of sensors for smart buildings at Carnegie Melon University led to an acrimonious disagreement over data privacy among faculty, as recounted by MIT Technology Review. The all-in-one ‘Mites’ were installed throughout a new building on campus prior to the 2020 school year by researchers, and the neither the complaint process not its result satisfied all involved.

Facewatch’s retail facial recognition has been declared compliant with the UK’s data protection laws by the ICO, balancing legitimate interest with protection of privacy rights. Calls for tighter regulation of facial recognition continue to come in, but a unified approach is seen as a long shot.

Fourthline has raised nearly $55 million to capitalize on the growing global market for selfie biometrics, identity verification and AML checks. Finch Capital increased its ownership stake in the Amsterdam-based startup, which launched in 2018.

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

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