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Best biometrics use cases become clearer as ecosystems mature

Best biometrics use cases become clearer as ecosystems mature

Biometrics are for digital identity, socio-economic development, air travel and remote identity verification, but not public surveillance, the most-read news of the week on Biometric Update indicates. ID4Africa’s 10th anniversary event demonstrated the considerable progress made by many nations across the continent on providing legal and digital ID, as many graduate to establishing DPI that makes digital identity more useful to people. NADRA’s participation was a little different this year, with a new role as a biometric equipment vendor. The market for digital infrastructure in developing countries remains a controversial topic, as Huawei shows. The EU is moving ahead with the AI Act and digital wallets. SITA’s acquisition of Materna makes a big player even bigger, while Footprint’s funding round sets it up to compete for growth in the KYC and identity verification market.

Top biometrics news of the week

ID4Africa held another successful summit this week in Cape Town, South Africa, focusing on digital public infrastructure amid a range of pressing issues for the continent in legal and digital identity. One of many highlights was the announcement that Ethiopia will host ID4Africa 2025. Addis Ababa is the home base of the African Union and one of the continent’s main travel hubs, and its turn hosting the world’s preeminent digital ID event is hotly anticipated.

NADRA introduced its domestically-developed all-in-one biometric enrollment kit and iris scanner at ID4Africa 2024. The kit supports face, fingerprint and iris biometrics, encrypting and transmitting the data, and can also be used for identity verification, a NADRA official tells Biometric Update. A rumored expansion of CNIC issuance is not happening, the Pakistan ID agency says.

Huawei is carrying out contracts to build digital infrastructure around the world, from Kenya and Zambia to Malaysia and Thailand. Some observers are concerned about the company’s connection to China’s political elite, seeing a kind of digital Belt and Road initiative.

The AI Act has received final approval from the European Union Council, setting up an implementation path that will take three full years to complete. In that time, a new AI Office will be established. Real-time remote biometric identification technologies, such as live facial recognition, can only be used in public spaces in extreme conditions.

The EU’s Digital Identity Regulation also entered into force, building on eIDAS and setting up the issuance of national digital identity wallets to support a range of interactions. That leaves harmonizing regulation, establishing a common technical architecture, reference framework and standards on the agenda.

Italy began unveiling its national digital ID wallet just before EUDI became official, and ahead of a planned January 2025 rollout. The IT Wallet is intended to give Italians more control over their identity and personal data, while easing a wide range of online and in-person interactions.

SITA acquired Materna IPS, one of the leading global providers of hardware and software for airport biometric touchpoints. The deal expands SITA’s portfolio and gives it more options to bundle with its biometrics platform, as it pursues a strategy of offering comprehensive curb-to-gate passenger processing solutions.

Footprint has raised $13 million to expand its identity verification and KYC services, including with a new fraud prevention suite. Zoloz, Nametag, Nivo and Prembly each revealed fraud prevention deals or licenses, and Veriff and Shufti Pro are targeting copyright fraud in the music industry.

The cost of fraud perpetrated with generative AI and deepfakes is hitting the financial services industry hard. Officials in Hong Kong is warning the public about a deepfake endorsement of a dodgy crypto platform, after Sumsub warned last year that it is one of several APAC markets with spiking AI fraud. An NCC co-founder says banks are not ready to stop the threat.

Two research papers explain advances in the generation of synthetic data to train facial recognition algorithms with. A paper from Idiap researchers have developed a method for improving the diversity of synthetic datasets, while a team from Hochschule Darmstadt tackles the creation of datasets to train algorithms to recognize children over time.

Please tell us about any thought leadership pieces, webinars or other content we should share with the people who work in biometrics and the digital identity community either in the comments below or through social media.

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