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Biometric ID cards remain foundational, but don’t count out fingerprint smart cards

Biometric ID cards remain foundational, but don’t count out fingerprint smart cards

Biometric national ID cards top the most-read news of the week on Biometric Update, between a contract in Cameroon for Augentic and one in Bahrain for Thales. Government spending and biometrics contracts more generally made news this week, with funding secured in Malawi and Australia, and Garsu Pasaulis winning a contract for border biometrics in Zimbabwe. Fingerprint biometrics continue to make headlines, with Fingerprint Cards, Idex Biometrics and Zwipe making deals on smart cards and Innovatrics and Omnigarde reporting NIST benchmarking results.

Top biometrics news of the week

Augentic has won a 15-year contract to produce Cameroon’s biometric national ID card in a two-phase project with a total of $75 million in funding allocated. Augentic CEO Labinot Carreti tells Biometric Update in an exclusive interview that card development and testing, specimen production and setting up infrastructure will all be carried out simultaneously as next steps.

Thales has won a contract to upgrade Bahrain’s ID card system, including the cards’ biometric features, in alignment with the national strategy for digital identity. The company will overhaul the country’s ID card printing system to boost its biometrics and security capabilities, while setting up long-term savings with modern technologies.

Malawi is getting technical support and funding from the UNDP, the EU and Irish Aid to establish a digital identity system that facilitates access to public services, especially for traditionally underserved groups. The Inclusive Digital Transformation for Malawi initiative will be based on the country’s National Registration and Identification System.

Australia has earmarked AU$288 million to support the launch of its national digital identity system, for which the government is currently shepherding legislation through parliament. An upgrade to myGovID, stronger encryption and pilots with the private sector are all on the agenda. The Northern Territory, meanwhile, has set aside funding to launch mobile driver’s licenses, with pilots expected in 2025.

Belgium has introduced its national digital identity wallet, one of the first countries to meet the eIDAS 2.0 goal. MyGov.be is intended to store official documents, ease administrative processes and provide access to public services, and Belgians can register for it using their ID card, eID, or itsme.

As Europe works its way through digital identity implementation, observers are weighing in on how to do so properly. Spherical Cow Principal Heather Flanagan reviews the Architecture Reference Framework for the EUDI Wallet and a Polish IT security expert urges cryptographic verification, as Hungary begins rolling out its digital ID.

Zimbabwe is launching automated border control with biometric technology supplied by Garsu Pasaulis. The digital gates and kiosks are intended to make immigration processes contactless and improve coordination between government agencies. Solomon Islands is also modernizing its border management system with online visa applications and other enhancements.

Biometric smart cards continue to slowly pick up steam for payments and access control applications. Fingerprint Cards sensors and software are powering a fingerprint-enabled carer card, produced in partnership with Tag Systems and Money Carer. Idex Biometrics has signed up an unnamed but apparently innovative challenger bank in a South Asian country, which is also unnamed. Zwipe has partnered with PCB & Security Europe S.L. to bring biometric access cards to customers in Spain and Portugal.

Worldcoin has been working hard to counter suspicions about its biometric proof-of-humanity project with security updates and outreach, and the latest is the introduction of multi-party computation for biometric data protection as open-source software. The move potentially puts Worldcoin’s open-source code into competition with developers offering multi-party computation for biometrics like Anonybit, Keyless, authID and Youverse. Worldcoin itself appears to have a direct competitor in Humanity Protocol, but meanwhile its WLD token has been approved for trading on Malaysian exchanges, and its price has risen in recent trading.

Innovatrics and Omnigarde each submitted algorithms to NIST’s MINEX III evaluation of fingerprint templates this month, with the former topping the template generator effectiveness list and placing near the top of the template match results. Omnigarde also scored results among the leading vendors in both categories.

SDxCentral talks to Ping Identity Founder and CEO Andre Durand about the speedy merger of his company with ForgeRock after Thoma Bravo acquired both. He describes the executive changes and customer questions that went along with the enterprise identity market’s biggest shakeup in recent years, and what comes next.

Please let us know if you spot an interview, podcast or any other content we should share with the people in biometrics and the digital identity community through the comments below or social media.

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