Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
Liberia Gives Up On Biometric Election Plan (for Now)
Liberia’s National Elections Commission has given up on its plan to mandate the use of biometric voter verification in this year’s elections, with chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah informing a group of presidential aspirants that “the voting in the October 10, 2023 general and presidential elections will be done manually as it has been in the past.” The Commission had been embroiled in a messy procurement process last year that saw accusations of impropriety in its first selection of a biometric technology vendor, and an insistence from prevailing vendor, Laxton, that laptops be used in the voter registration process instead of tablets, despite the project contract’s requirements.
Kenya Suspends Worldcoin Registrations
Kenyan authorities have become the latest to launch an investigation into Worldcoin, with the country’s Ministry of the Interior issuing a decree to suspend the web3 startup’s biometric registration efforts in the country. Worldcoin had reportedly seen overwhelming demand to register for its platform in the country, prompting organizers to move Worldcoin’s iris-scanning “Orbs” to larger venues. The news comes shortly after data protection authorities in France, Germany, and the UK announced plans to investigate the organization — or rather, in Germany’s case, an investigation that has been ongoing since last year.
Nigerian Startup Acquires Compatriot
Prembly, a Nigeria-based startup, has acquired Tunnel, a compatriot firm that is based, like Prembly, in Lagos. Prembly offers a security solutions portfolio including document verification and biometrics, while Tunnel offers APIs enabling credit checks and “insights into user behavior,” according to the acquisition’s announcement. Both firms appear to be young: Prembly was founded in 2021 and says it has raised over $3 million in funding. There is relatively little information to be found about Tunnel, but the firm has one social media account, established in July of last year, and with nine followers at the time of writing.
VSBLTY Tech Secures Synagogue
VSBLTY’s computer vision technology has been deployed at “one of America’s largest synagogues,” the company has announced. It’s the latest development in the company’s security business line, with its deployed solution operating through CCTV cameras and equipped with facial recognition and weapons detection. VSBLTY is also known for its efforts in the retail sector, where its technology is used to assess consumer demographics, often through smart signage. The company teamed up with Multimedia Plus, a provider of training and communications technology for the hospitality and retail industries, earlier this year.
Facial Recognition Delivers Lead in Suspicious Tennessee Death
Facial recognition technology may have helped to uncover an important lead in the death of a Tennessee woman. The technology reportedly led law enforcement investigators to surveillance footage from a gas station, which depicted a man driving the woman’s car the morning that her body was found. That same vehicle was found burning 25 miles from where the woman’s body was found. The man seen driving it is facing theft and arson charges together with a co-conspirator, though no filing has yet been made with respect to a potential homicide.
AuthID Brings In Another Former Socure Exec
In the latest change to AuthID’s leadership team, Ed Sellitto will be the company’s next Chief Financial Officer, formally replacing Annie Pham on August 15 as Ms Pham steps down to pursue other opportunities. Ed comes to the company from a position as Revenue Operations VP for Zero Hash, a specialist in crypto products. Among other roles, Sellitto has also served as VP of Revenue Operations at Socure, the former home base of AuthID CEO Rhon Daguro. “Having previously worked with Ed in a business that we grew to over $100M in ARR in three years, I respect his exceptional intellect and agility and proven success in helping drive revenue optimization for high growth SaaS organizations,” Daguro said.
Iowa Businesses Start Testing Mobile ID Solution
State authorities in Iowa have begun allowing businesses to test a planned mobile ID app, ahead of a wider launch planned to extend it to consumers next month. End users will be asked to register by uploading a photo of their physical ID, and undertaking a selfie video, with facial recognition technology matching the two together. The Iowa Mobile ID app is secured with the PIN or biometric authentication method support by the user’s smartphone. As for identity verification transactions, those will be performed using a QR code that a consumer can present to a business asking for ID. Participating businesses will be able to post an Iowa Mobile ID logo on their window or door to let consumers know it’s accepted there.
August 3, 2023 – by Alex Perala