Face biometrics for identity proofing draws big investment and cautionary notes

Face biometrics for remote identity proofing, and in one case the lack of biometrics, is a common thread in many of the most-read articles of the week on Biometric Update. Smart Engines says it has developed facial recognition that avoids regulatory hurdles associated with biometrics, while has taken a major step towards meeting the required security standard by contracting eight remote identity proofing providers, and the EU’s cybersecurity agency wants to raise awareness of the evolving threat landscape. Beyond identity proofing, a Castles Technology executive considers the place of biometrics cards and facial recognition in future retail payments, while cards made with sensors and software from Thales, Fingerprint Cards and Idex roll out, and Clearview gets a place on a key defense procurement listing.

Top biometrics news of the week

Smart Engines has developed a neural network that performs “end-to-end” comparisons similar to the way humans do to make facial recognition matches, but without using biometric data, the company says. The major advantage this would provide is in compliance to data privacy regulations, and potentially Europe’s AI Act. The new software is also designed to work offline.

The U.S. General Services Administration his signed agreements to choose amongst Experian, Idemia I&S, Carahsoft, LexisNexis, Aderas, Celerity, Diamond Capture Associates and TransUnion for identity proofing on over the next 10 years. The total value of the contracts, which should pave the way for the government services portal to meet the IAL2 standard with face biometrics, is up to $194.5 million.

Clearview has been approved for the Tradewinds Solutions Marketplace, and its facial recognition algorithm and database placed in a technology market for U.S. DoD contracts. The marketplace is operated by the CDAO, and offers digital tools meeting FAR and DFARS requirements. The company has also joined the MissionLink national security technology program.

A report from ENISA outlines good practices for remote identity proofing to help guide the use and development of countermeasures for rapidly evolving threats. Biometric presentation and injection attacks, ID fraud and deepfakes are explored, and the agency calls for flexible but cohesive policy.

Worldcoin is in compliance with all of the relevant regulations around the world, according to a company blog post. Some key figures seem to disagree. Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has told the National Assembly that the U.S. government has been encouraging the Kenyan government to lift the company’s suspension in the country, Business Daily reports.

India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act has been received with protests in Assam for discriminating against Muslims, but could lead to multiple million people becoming able to obtain the national digital ID, Aadhaar. Their biometrics were blocked from Aadhaar registration after a civil registration exercise cast doubt on their citizenship status, causing hardship for many.

Turkey appears to be embracing biometric payment cards, with a pair from Mastercard reaching the market. Garanti BBVA will offer cards made with Thales and Fingerprint Cards technology (their eleventh globally), while DenizBank is introducing cards made with Idex Biometrics’ Pay solution.

Biometric payments are proliferating through smartphones, cards and payment terminals, Castles Technology Group CCO and EMEA CEO Jean-Philippe Niedergang writes in a Biometric Update guest post, but cost, security and data storage remain barriers. Niedergang analyzes the factors behind whether biometrics will reach mainstream payments in the form of cards, or modalities like vein or facial recognition at the POS.

The ICO is getting involved after the discovery of thousands of errors in UK immigration records, which left people unable to unable to meet right to work, housing and medical services requirements. Many millions of pounds have been spent on the UK’s digital systems for immigration control, on top of separate funding for the IABS, but ministers are left denying systemic problems.

A dodgy company billing itself as an identity verification provider appears to have been selling Nigerian people’s breached personal information. The records, including digital ID numbers, were selling for 200 naira (US$0.13) a person. Both data protection and national identity authorities are investigating.

The latest round of ELFT assessments by NIST includes new algorithms submitted by all participating developers since the start of 2024. Idemia scored the lowest false positive rate in the latent fingerprint matching test, and along with Hisign scored the top rank-one hit rate.

Please let us know about any interviews, panel discussions or other content we should share with those in biometrics and the digital identity community through the comments below or social media.

Article Topics

biometric payments  |  biometrics  |  digital ID  |  facial recognition  |  identity verification

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