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Biometrics upgrading borders, digital IDs and economies but the pace is uneven

Biometrics upgrading borders, digital IDs and economies but the pace is uneven

Biometrics at borders made up two of the most-read stories of the week, with another call for the UK to prepare to meet Europe’s requirements without making travellers wait in endless lines and Idemia selected to supply technology at Singapore’s land, air and sea ports. The most common theme, however, is the various challenges facing digital ID programs, from interoperability to biometric technology procurement, and corporate identity to digital transformation. NEC also trumpeted an impressive result in the latest NIST facial recognition evaluation.

Top biometrics news of the week

The Mayor of London has called on the British government to urgently address the challenge faced by Eurostar and HS1 to get passengers through the EU’s biometric Entry/Exit System without waiting in queues for hours. EES comes online in October, just as the city’s prime tourism season begins. HS1 warns that France has allocated half the number of pre-departure biometric kiosks needed.

Idemia has been selected to provide biometric hardware and software for hundreds of automated border clearance lanes at Singapore’s land, air and sea borders. The contactless ABCS with Idemia’s Augmented Borders Suite of ID-Look devices will provide iris, face and fingerprint biometrics.

An avalanche of fake restaurants has been registered in the UK to enable fraud attacks, because the law forbids Companies House from verifying the identity of company directors. Yoti CEO Robin Tombs and others have blasted the arrangement, and Companies House says ID verification is coming “in the longer term.”

The UK government originally wanted six companies for a certification pilot for its digital ID ecosystem, but only AVID Certification Services, BSI, Kantara and NOA applied. Now it wants four more conformity assessment bodies, to satisfy the choice requirement of ISO 17065, and therefore participants must have ISO 17065 accreditation from a qualified national body.

Mobile driver’s licenses are coming to Portugal and France, with full legal standing. A legislative amendment in Portugal will put mDLs, vehicle ownership and public employee health cards in the national digital wallet. France’s Identité app is now available, with mDL and digital ID card functions, following successful pilots in three regions.

Ethiopia has begun the process to procure biometric registration kits and a client-side SDK for its national digital ID program, Fayda. Funding and therefore procurement regulations are provided by the World Bank. Bids are due by March 22 for the hardware and March 6 for the SDK.

A policy brief from the European Centre for Development Policy Management says the African and European Unions should collaborate to advance interoperability in support of developing the digital economy of both continents. AfCFTA member states are preparing to publish a Digital Trade Protocol, and the EU is already working towards internal digital ID interoperability.

An in-depth look at efforts by NADRA and the State Bank of Pakistan to improve the country’s digital identity ecosystem shows their importance to digitalization, and by extension financial stability. Key initiatives include the imposition of a biometric authentication requirement for large foreign exchange purchases and the attempt to expand the tax base through digital services.

Hold Access CEO Jason Urranndulla Davis tells Biometric Update in an interview that Australia’s digital ID legislation needs to recognize the ethnicity of the country’s indigenous people. The question of whether and how ethnicity should be identified has become a point of contention during the public comment process.

Washington State Senators have passed a bill to allow biometrics for age verification in alcohol sales with a unanimous vote. The bill does not propose a reversal, but rather legal clarity for businesses. The bill will need to be passed by the lower house and signed by the governor by March 7 to become law.

NEC scored the best FNIR in half of the eight categories in the latest update to NIST’s FRTE 1:N test. NIST’s Ryan Galluzzo spoke about the way evaluations are being built into guidelines at a recent event, and warned about possible ways tests can fail to represent what they purport to.

Fresh of an acquisition deal, Onfido Head of Fraud Labs Vincent Guillevic writes in a guest post for Biometric Update that while deepfakes represent a dangerous iceberg in the path of businesses, but can be avoided with a proactive approach to detecting deepfake identity fraud.

An examination of the rise of biometrics by the Wall Street Journal calls on the perspectives of representatives from Aware, authID and the FIDO Alliance, as well as the EFF and the fiction of Philip K. Dick. Key concerns expressed are the ability of employers to gain improper information about their employees from their biometrics, and despite a reference to liveness detection, the fear that they could be copied.

Please tell us about any opinion or analysis pieces, podcasts or interviews we should pass along to the people in biometrics and digital identity through the comments below or social media.

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