Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
EU Weighs in on AI, Human Rights, and Commercial Surveillance
European Union countries have agreed on a “common position” on draft AI rules for the region, reports Reuters. Negotiators have agreed to ban the use of AI for ‘social scoring’ schemes, and approved the use of biometric identification by law enforcement authorities in public spaces “when strictly necessary”. They also agreed to exclude national security and military applications of AI from the regulations. The details still need to be worked out through negotiations between EU legislators.
The European Ombudsman, the European Union’s official oversight agency, has determined that the European Commission failed to perform proper human rights assessments before transferring surveillance technology, including biometric tech, to governments in Africa via its European Union Trust Fund for Africa. The European Ombudsman had launched the inquiry in response to a complaint filed by Privacy International and other human rights advocacy groups. It is now recommending that future EUTFA projects include meaningful human rights assessments.
The European Data Protection Supervisor has now weighed in on the US Federal Trade Commission’s Proposed Rulemaking concerning “commercial surveillance” practices and technologies. Among other things, the EDPS says argues for a complete ban on the use of biometric recognition technologies in public spaces, and a ban on the use of AI systems that use biometrics to categorize individuals based on demographics like ethnicity and gender. Last month, a group of 33 Attorneys General sent an open letter to the FTC asking the organization to “consider the risks” of facial recognition and other biometrics in commercial surveillance.
Scathing Report Blasts IDF’s Weak Cybersecurity
A new report from Israel’s State Comptroller, Matanyahu Englman, offers scathing criticism of the Israel Defense Forces’ handling of biometric data. The report notes that hundreds of thousands of records of IDF soldiers’ fingerprints are stored in databases vulnerable to hack attacks, and that the IDF hasn’t updated its cybersecurity protocols for such databases in seven years. The report states that with respect to the biometric data of dead soldiers, “there is a risk that hackers could use such data to impersonate [IDF soldiers] and steal identities.”
Pakistan’s FIA to Acquire Facial Recognition Tech
Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency plans to acquire facial recognition technology for deployment at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. Citing unnamed sources, ARY News reports that the FIA’s aim is to stop criminals from fleeing abroad. The news comes after the chief police in the Pakistani province of Sindh ordered the Central Police Office to deploy facial recognition systems at tollbooths last month.
It Just Keeps Going
With its selection of a biometrics vendor now facing a formal challenge, Liberia’s National Elections Commission has indefinitely postponed the country’s planned biometric voter registration exercise. The consortium Waymark Infotech/Mwetana has filed a Bid Challenge Notification concerning the Commission’s selection of Laxton Group for the contract, noting in its complaint that Laxton had reportedly failed to meet all of the Commission’s requirements in its bid. Laxton, for its part, had been selected after the Commission’s first choice, a consortium led by the Chinese firm Ekemp, was ruled out amid controversy over special treatment.
Product Launches From Panini, Thales, ValidSoft
Italy-based Panini has launched a new authentication terminal aimed at physical bank branches. The BioCred solution features an integrated fingerprint sensor, and support for NFC, QR codes, and e-signatures. It’s designed to let a customer enroll their fingerprint biometrics in order to receive a unique digital credential that can subsequently be used for authentication. Panini will be showcasing the compact device at this week’s Future Branches expo in Austin, Texas.
Thales has launched a biometric border control device featuring both facial and iris recognition. Dubbed a biometric ‘Pod’, the compact device is designed to be easily affixed to an existing turnstile or gate, and can recognize pre-enrolled travelers from a distance of up to 1.5 meters, scanning face and iris biometrics in just two seconds. Read our full story.
ValidSoft has launched a new authentication solution that combines One-Time Passcode security with voice recognition. The See-Say system sends an end user an OTP that must be read aloud for authentication, with voice biometrics applied to recognize the speaker. The solution is aimed primarily at enterprise remote access. Its launch comes after ValidSoft’s appointment of a new Chief Growth Officer near the start of this year.
OCR Teams With Document-sharing Platform
OCR Labs Global has announced a partnership with Fyio, the provider of an eponymous document-sharing app. The companies anticipate an early-2023 launch of Fyio Pro, a platform that will enable users to store virtual versions of documents and to instantly verify them via OCR Labs Global’s document verification technology. Users will also be able to share their documents with other organizations using the Fyio Pro platform, and to limit the amount of time that such organizations will have access to their electronic documents.
Shufti Pro Brings Selfie Onboarding to Sharia-friendly Bank
Shufti Pro has provided its biometric onboarding technology to Safwa Islamic Bank, a Jordan-based institution that offers customers Sharia-compliant banking solutions. Customers can now verify their identities via selfie biometrics when using the Safwa Mobile app.
Public Mirror Upgrades Face-searching Tool
Wrocław-based Public Mirror has upgraded its facial recognition algorithm, reaching an accuracy rate of 99 percent, the company has announced. Public Mirror offers a ‘media monitoring’ service aimed at letting users find images of themselves that have been uploaded to the internet without their permission, and assists them in getting unwanted images taken down.
Indian Uber Drivers Pay Price for Microsoft’s Faulty Face Tech
The shortcomings of Microsoft’s facial recognition technology appear to be taking a toll on would-be Uber drivers in India. An MIT Technology Review survey of 150 Uber drivers in the country found that nearly half of them reported having been either temporarily or permanently locked out of their accounts after a selfie-based identity verification session failed to authenticate them. Many reported that the failures occurred after minor changes to their appearance, such as after a haircut. Uber’s ‘Real-Time ID Check’ uses Microsoft’s Face API; and the MIT Technology Review notes that Microsoft Face was the worst performer in a recent study that assessed it alongside Amazon Rekognition, Face++, and FaceX, with an error rate greater than three percent.
December 6, 2022 – by Alex Perala