1:N biometric searches on a phone and ZKP vie for places in next wave
New approaches to established uses of biometrics are a theme seen in many of the top stories of the week on Biometric Update. NEC’s facial recognition will be deployed to an app for UK police, while on the other side of the spectrum ZeroBiometrics has patented its cryptographic hashing technique for authentication. A recent webinar hosted by Simprints, meanwhile, explores the use of biometrics for three different healthcare projects in Ethiopia, and a new approach to corporate organization is being adopted by Fingerprint Cards.
Top biometrics news of the week
A planning document published as part of the World Bank’s transparency regime reveals that Ethiopia’s national digital ID system, Fayda, is backed by $350 million from the Bretton Woods institution. The International Development Association and Window Host Community and Refugees programs allocated the bulk of funds to inclusive issuance, with somewhat smaller totals to support technical infrastructure, service delivery, project management, and building up public institutions and trust.
The use of fingerprint biometrics in three different healthcare projects in Ethiopia was explained in a webinar hosted by Simprints. Panelists discussed the integration of Fayda into the country’s healthcare delivery system, and the importance of prioritizing data protection when dealing with biometrics and sensitive health information.
NEC is providing the facial recognition algorithm that UK police will use on their mobile phones to identify suspects in the field. Three police forces are already trialing the Operator Initiated Facial Recognition app, which uses NEC’s NeoFace, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council expects it to speed up investigations.
Retail theft prevention initiative Project Pegasus has netted a man who shoplifted £160 worth of products from a store in Hockley, the BBC reports. While the amount separates the man from Jean Valjean, it does not invoke the sinister organized crime rings alleged to be behind the nation’s shoplifting epidemic.
Contactless fingerprints could reach UK police officers’ phones by 2026 as well, as representatives of the Home Office and Dstl revealed during an EAB lunch talk. Testing shows the technology has reached an FNMR of 2.2 percent, which is in line with expectations for contact-based biometric scanners, and a series of events is planned to prepare for a rollout.
Hungary is on track to launch its national digital ID next September, with the public comment period for a draft law closing. The law is expected to be introduced in parliament at the beginning of 2024, and would establish a system based on fingerprint biometrics and digital signatures.
Malaysia’s PM has declared an implementing agency for the country’s digital identity program, and set aside roughly $17 million to get it started. Government employees will be registered from next week, and a launch is anticipated in February. Mimos Berhad will be in charge of the system, which will establish a government-held biometric database.
ZeroBiometrics has been granted a patent by the USPTO for its reproducible cryptographic keys based on biometric entropy for authentication with zero-knowledge proofs. The company says the security and privacy benefits of its method come with high accuracy and usability, allowing “deterministic matching in the hash space.”
A cybersecurity research team tasked with finding bypasses for three laptops running Microsoft Windows Hello was able to do so, in each case by avoiding the tech giant’s Secure Device Connection Protocol. The laptops featured fingerprint sensors from Elan, Synaptics and Goodix, but the bypasses exploit flaws with the protocol’s implementation that can be fixed.
Fingerprint Cards is restructuring under the functional organization model, with teams organized by function under specialist leadership, two years after dividing into separate units for mobile biometrics, and payments and access control. The company is yet to appoint a leader for strategy and marketing and another for sales and marketing.
Black Friday is more like Christmas for fraudsters, Pindrop VP of Global Business Intelligence Shawn Hall writes in a Biometric Update guest post. Hall breaks down how fraudulent returns are orchestrated through the contact center and how to prevent it.
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