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Police upgrade biometrics capabilities and transparency

Police upgrade biometrics capabilities and transparency
 

Law enforcement biometrics are a central theme in several of the most-read stories of the past week on Biometric Update, between Idemia’s contract in Kansas, a new provider opportunity in the UK and a settlement in a lawsuit. Facial recognition is common among them, and the ID credentials and the facial recognition-related standards that back them are another theme running through the week, including with a new card from Digizen and a major EAB workshop on ICAO.

Top biometrics news of the week

Kansas state police now have an upgraded ABIS from Idemia, and plans to expand its modalities to include face and iris biometrics. The KBI says the new system stores more than 2 million fingerprint records and almost 600,000 palm prints, and allows it to exchange records with more jurisdictions.

The UK government is tendering a contract for an operator-initiated facial recognition capability for use by law enforcement agencies. Home Office seeks an API for its Strategic Facial Matching service to add face to its mobile biometrics system, and will hold an online workshop for potential suppliers on July 17.

Michigan police have reached a settlement with the ACLU and a man arrested in a case of police misconduct following a false facial recognition match. The settlement sets rules for law enforcement use of facial recognition, including conditions for conducting suspect lineups and additional documentation. The rules also prohibit arrests based solely on facial recognition, which was already against police policy.

Digizen has launched a biometric ID card specifically for banking to improve financial inclusion among people living in rural Papua New Guinea. The card supports NFC scanning and digital signatures, and online and offline transactions. The company issued cards to 2,500 people during successful sandbox testing with the national bank.

Money lenders in Uganda have been taking people’s national ID cards as collateral for loans, and a government minister reiterated a similar warning from police last year that the practice is illegal. ID cards are needed for access to services and opening bank accounts in the country, and lenders should negotiate alternative collateral, the official says, or they may face prosecution. The government is also adding iris biometrics to national IDs, and explained that the move will enable 1 million people with unreadable or no fingerprints to obtain the important credential.

Four wealthy businessmen with ties to Zimbabwe’s political elite are being taken to court over alleged corrupt procurement for biometric voting equipment. Election commission officials are denying the claims of corruption, which include inflated prices and a lack of competitive bidding which cost the country $40 million.

The big leagues in professional sports are embracing biometric ticketing with technology from NEC and Wicket deployed at baseball stadiums, and from the latter for football. Palmki, Veridas and Incode are supplying biometrics for soccer teams, and the NBA has used Clear. More deployments are coming, but data privacy and surveillance concerns make careful implementation critical.

The tremendous growth of the online gambling industry has made it an attractive target for all manner of fraud, often in forms which are difficult to track like direct transactions with small amounts. This was among the key messages at an online conference held by Sumsub, along with the importance of making regulated gambling more attractive than the black market, and educating gamblers about identity verification.

The EAB convened a workshop on developments in the standards behind biometric passports informing ICAO’s 2025 update. Subject matter experts from NIST, DHS and the MdTF, Hochschule Darmstadt and myriad ISO committees and working groups presented the latest developments in standards for biometric image quality, vocabulary, fairness and presentation attack detection.

New Zealand has a new digital identity regulator, in the form of the Trust Framework Authority, which took office this week and is about to appoint a director. The country is building up its digital ID system, and its privacy commissioner calling for stronger regulation of biometrics, so it may be a busy role.

Trinsic Co-founder and CEO Riley Hughes tells Steve Craig in an interview for Peak iDV’s Executive Series that repeatedly going through ID document scans and selfie biometric matches inspired the company’s focus on “making reusable identity practically useful and valuable for businesses today.” The fascinating discussion also delves into the strange saga of Sovrin and the cannibalization risk that reusable identity presents to transactional business models.

Please let us know about any thought leadership pieces, interviews or podcasts you think we should share with the people in biometrics and the wider digital identity community in the comments below or through social media.

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