Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
Pentagon Accuses Megvii of Aiding Chinese Army
The Department of Defense has added the Chinese facial recognition firm Megvii to a list of companies accused of supporting China’s People’s Liberation Army. The Pentagon’s Section 1260H list is meant to warn allies of potential security threats, and restricts companies on the list from access to certain DoD contracts. Megvii has already been added to a blacklist under the Trump administration that prevented US companies from selling products to it. It has now landed on the Section 1260J list alongside other Chinese firms including LiDAR specialist Hesai Group and the chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies Co.
Sparsh Deploys Face-Scanning Cameras in Holy Hindu City
Mumbai-based Sparsh has announced the deployment of facial recognition-equipped CCTV cameras at key security locations in Ayodhya, a city of great religious significance for India’s Hindus. A newly built temple has become both a tourism sensation and a politically controversial landmark with respect to the country’s Muslim population. Sparsh says that in addition to facial recognition, its CCTV cameras also support “behavior analysis” and “anomaly detection”.
Bahamas PM Urges Businesses to Embrace FRT
Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis is calling on businesses to embrace face-scanning surveillance technology in partnership with the Ministry of National Security. Testing of the system has been underway for two years, and the Prime Minister is now asserting that it has proven successful. “Many businesses, large and small, have agreed to be part of this major CCTV expansion,” he said. “If you aren’t on-boarded already, I urge you to call the national security.” The Ministry of National Security is reportedly working with FUSUS, a US company offering a real-time intelligence platform for law enforcement.
Proposed Legislation Aims to Protect Small Businesses from BIPA
Illinois State Senator Bill Cunningham has proposed legislation meant to dull the fangs of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, particularly with respect to lawsuits in which employers are accused of violating BIPA in their use of biometric access control and time and attendance systems. Essentially, Senate Bill 2979 would limit the number of claims that accrue in those situations: If an employer collects the same biometric data from the same employee multiple times, that would only count as one offense. “SB 2979 will keep the current privacy restrictions in place and hold violators accountable, as well as ensure businesses are not unfairly punished for technical violations of the law,” explained Senator Cunningham.
ACLU Supports Wrongful Arrest Lawsuit
The American Civil Liberties Union has formally lent its support in a legal brief to a New Jersey man’s lawsuit over a wrongful arrest involving facial recognition technology. Nijeer Parks spent ten days in jail and nearly 10 months defending against prosecution after a deeply flawed police investigation pinned him for shoplifting. Facial recognition returned a possible match between a shoplifter’s fake driver’s license and an old mugshot of Parks. A police sergeant deemed it a definite match and authorized Parks’ arrest. Police attorneys have asked for summary judgement before the trial and are awaiting the judge’s response.
Incognia Raises $31M in Series B
Incognia has closed a $31 million Series B funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners and featuring FJ Labs along with previous investors including Point72 Ventures, Prosus, and Valor Capital. Based in San Jose, the company offers identity tools including device fingerprinting, location tracking, selfie-based onboarding and deepfake detection. Incognia says it has tripled its revenues since its previous funding round in June of 2022, and that the latest capital influx will fuel continued R&D and an expansion into new verticals including financial services and e-commerce.
Passkeys Come to Playstation
Passkey support has come to the Playstation Network, Sony’s online gaming platform for its Playstation brand. Gamers can now set up passkeys to access their PSN accounts through a face or fingerprint scan (or PIN entry) on their smartphone. A new webpage detailing passkey support on the Playstation site explained that a passkey offers a means of accessing games more quickly, and that a passkey “also reduces the vulnerability associated with traditional password-based systems: It cannot be guessed or reused, is tied to your account for PlayStation Network and can only be accessed by you.”
February 1, 2024 – by Alex Perala