Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
China’s Internet Watchdog Takes Aim at Deepfakes
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security have approved new regulations from the State Internet Information Office that are aimed at curbing the use of deepfake technology to malign ends. Among other provisions, the “Regulations on the Administration of Deep Synthesis of Internet Information Services” include a requirement on content providers to obtain users’ real names if their service allows users to edit biometric information such as face and voice data; and it prohibits them from allowing these tools to disseminate disinformation. The regulations will take effect on January 10, 2023.
Legislators Defuse NDAA’s SBOM
Legislators have removed a section of the draft National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have required federal software contractors to provide a Software Bill of Materials and to attest that their solutions are free of cyber-vulnerabilities. The omission of section 6722 from the final draft of the bill is a victory for industry lobbyists that portrayed the requirement as vague and onerous. “The removal of this language will benefit current Administration and industry efforts to develop a standardized approach to SBOMs across federal civilian and defense agencies,” commented the Alliance for Digital Innovation.
Church Leader Urges Russian State to Respect Biometric Privacy
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is urging the head of the lower house of Russia’s legislative assembly to respect the “fundamental and unconditional right of the citizens to refuse biometric identification, with absolute guarantees of non-discrimination” when considering draft legislation on the use of personal data. Patriarch Kirill is an influential voice in the country, and not an opposition figure to President Putin; in September, he told followers that “sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty washes away all sins.” As such, his letter to State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin may carry some weight.
Corruption Probe Halts EU’s Easy Travel Plan for Qataris
The European Commission has halted plans to enable visa-free travel to Europe for Qataris holding biometric passports in the wake of a serious corruption scandal. Belgian authorities have conducted raids targeting EU officials and discovered hundreds of thousands of euros stashed away in their homes, with suspicions that the funds are the product of bribery from representatives of other countries seeking special treatment.
BIPA Plaintiffs Want Jury Trial for United Airlines Lawsuit
United Airlines is facing a class action lawsuit under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), over its use of facial recognition technology to screen passengers. As has been the case in many other BIPA lawsuits, United is accused of failing to properly obtain consent before collecting travelers’ biometric data; and it is also accused of failing to lay out policies concerning its retention and use of the data. The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial, after BIPA’s first jury trial, against BNSF Railway, resulted in a win for plaintiffs that could see $228 million paid out in damages.
Nashville Music Label Secures Custom Content With 2FA
The Nashville record label “The Service” will offer custom content to its artists’ fans using a secure video conferencing service from Zerify. The latter’s Zerify Meet solution is designed to prevent screen and audio capture, and uses 2FA, including biometric authentication, to verify meeting participants. In a statement announcing the move, The Service’s “Chief Servicing Officer”, Alyssa Hoffman, explained that protecting the intellectual property of the label’s artists is “of the utmost importance”.
Athena Wins ABIS Contract, Partner Names New President
West Virginia’s Athena Sciences Corp. has won a contract from the project management office for Department of Defense Biometrics to deploy and operate an Automated Biometrics Identification System (ABIS) for an undisclosed ally nation of the United States. Commenting on the contract, Athena CEO Dan McCaugherty noted that his firm will have partners on hand, citing “the leading talents and technologies from our team members EPS Corp., Ideal Innovations Inc. and NEC”. Athena announced another, very similar ABIS contract win in October.
Ideal Innovations, meanwhile – also based in Virginia – has announced the promotion of former COO Richard Syretz to the role of President, in which he will report directly to founder and CEO Bob Kocher. Ideal Innovations, Inc., or I3, specializes in biometrics and forensics solutions for the national security and law enforcement sectors. Syretz, a former Raytheon executive, has been with the company since 2008, when he came onboard as its Chief Financial Officer.
‘Smart Mouthguard’ Startup Names Advisory Board
Prevent Biometrics has named the members of its inaugural advisory board. Despite its name, the company is not opposed to biometrics; quite the opposite. It offers a sensor-laden “smart mouthguard”, aimed mainly at football players, that is designed to track the severity of head impacts. Its inaugural board includes former NFL running back Merril Hoge, NFL neurosurgeon Dr. Joe Maroon, former rugby player Frédéric Michalak, Scrum Ventures Managing Director Michael Proman, Veritas Sports Injury Research Network CEO Dr. Peter Cummings, and retired US Army neurologist Dr. Sidney Hinds.
Datasonic to Build Biometric Land Registry for Guinea
Datasonic has established a Memorandum of Understanding with the nation of Guinea, establishing it as a prime contractor for a planned land management project that will be overseen by the Ministry of Urban Planning, Housing and Territorial Development (MUHAT). The project is aimed at developing a digital land management system that will incorporate biometric authentication into land agreements. Datasonic and MUHAT have agreed to a profit sharing arrangement of 40/60 percent, respectively.
At CES 2023, TV Watches You
San Diego-based wireless TV startup Displace will debut its flat-screen TVs at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Its lightweight TVs are designed to be controlled using hand gestures as well as voice commands and a touchscreen interface, and also use facial recognition to identify users. The latter “enables content on Displace TVs to seamlessly switch between rooms when users move,” the company explained in a statement.
December 13, 2022 – by Alex Perala