Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
France Looks to ‘Trusted Third Party’ Solution for Online Age Gating
Legislators in the culture committee of France’s National Assembly voted this week to require social media platform like TikTok and Snap to prohibit access to minors under the age of 15 unless the users have parental permission. Authorities are also working to restrict minors’ access to online porn websites. Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot told the Assembly that the government is working on a privacy-protecting age verification system, called “double anonymity”, that will rely on a trusted third party, such as a telecom operator or digital identity service provider. Technical guidelines are being developed by the country’s media and privacy regulators, Arcom and CNIL.
Comptroller Audit Finds Fault in NYPD’s Approach to Facial Recognition
New York City Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has published his audit of the city’s use of AI technologies, concluding that the city “does not have an effective AI governance framework.” It also criticized the New York Police Department’s approach to the use of facial recognition, noting that while the NYPD says it only uses facial recognition tech that has been evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), it “did not review NIST’s evaluation of the facial recognition technology it used, nor did it establish what level of accuracy would be acceptable.”
IRS Contracts AI Tech for Online Sleuthing: Report
The IRS may be using Israeli facial recognition technology to investigate tax fraud, suggests a new report from Motherboard. The outlet obtained documents showing that the Internal Revenue Service has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cobwebs Technologies, which offers cybersecurity and sleuthing tools including its flagship product Tangles, which is designed to search content across the internet, and can be bundled with an AI module featuring image and facial recognition.
Illinois Supreme Court Rules BIPA Fines Apply Per Scan
The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) entails damages for each violation of its privacy provisions, in a massive ruling against the White Castle restaurant chain. The BIPA lawsuit was brought by White Castle manager Latrina Cothron, over the chain’s requirement that she submit a fingerprint scan in order to access her paystubs. The Supreme Court has determined that BIPA’s penalties should apply to each individual scan, opening White Castle to damages in excess of $17 billion.
Israeli Government Expected to Approve AI Surveillance Powers
The Israeli government is expected to pass a bill on Sunday that will permit the Israeli Police to use of advanced AI cameras including facial recognition systems. Advanced by the National Security Ministry, the bill had received initial approval last year but failed to advance when parliamentary elections got underway. If approved, the bill will retroactively authorize the country’s Hawk’s Eye system, which has been scanning vehicles’ license plate numbers, and has faced a legal challenge from the country’s Civil Rights Association.
Vietnam Embraces e-Passports
Vietnam is about to become the latest country to implement biometric e-passports, with plans to begin issuing them on March 1. The passports look almost identical to the traditional version already in use, but feature embedded chips containing the biographic and biometric information of passport holders. Immigration authorities noted that e-passports have already been deployed in 100 other countries, reports VnExpress.
Florida County Rolling Out Biometric School Security Systems
Authorities in Marion County, Florida, have begun rolling out a facial recognition system as part of a larger effort to boost school security. The technology has already been deployed in West Fairmont Middle School, while East Fairmont and North Marion high schools have volunteered to deploy metal detectors at their schools’ entrances. Marion County Schools partnered with the county sheriff and the Marion County Department of Homeland Security to assess the county’s school safety after last year’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
EBITDA Dips in Precise Biometrics’ Q4 Update
Precise biometrics has issued a corporate update for the fourth quarter of 2022 and the full fiscal year. For Q4, the biometric software specialist’s sales were down year-over-year, from about SEK 27.4 million a year ago to roughly SEK 19.3 million in the latest quarter. But net sales were up for the fiscal year, coming in at SEK 91 million, compared to SEK 83.3 million in 2021. EBITDA for Q4 was a loss of just under SEK 2 million, compared to EBITDA of SEK 1.67 million a year ago; and for 2022 as a whole Precise saw EBITDA of SEK 1.15 million, compared to EBITDA of SEK 1.87 million in 2021. In announcing the results, Precise noted that it has since embarked in a strategic reorganization of its Digital Identity business aimed at improving sales, which got underway at the start of this year.
February 17, 2023 – by Alex Perala
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