Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
Alcatraz, FPC Announce Corporate Changes
Alcatraz AI is expanding into the European and Middle Eastern markets, announcing the opening of new regionally-focused offices and executive appointments to lead them. Bodil Nilsen will act as Senior Director of Sales for Nordics, UK and Europe; and Shaun Oakes has been named Senior Director of International Sales for the Middle East and Africa. The move comes after Alcatraz’s announcement of a $25 million Series A funding round in September.
Ted Hanson will replace Christian Fredrikson as the CEO of Fingerprint Cards, the company has announced, noting that the change was mutually agreed upon by the company’s Board and Fredrikson himself, who will go on to serve as a strategic advisor to the company. The shakeup comes after a Q3 update in which Fredrikson offered a blunt assessment of the company’s headwinds in the China region, which stem from aggressive lockdown policies, a collapsing real estate sector, and supply chain disruption. Hansson’s appointment will presumably mean his return from Shanghai, where he has led the company’s Mobile, PC and Access China arm since a corporate restructuring that took effect at the start of this year.
Surveillance Deployments – and Removals
Mississippi’s Vicksburg Housing Authority will deploy a facial recognition surveillance system at six properties in response to a number of shootings last year. City and police officials will have 24-hour access to the surveillance network, according to VHA Executive Director Ben Washington.
The Premier of the South African province of Gauteng is reportedly planning to launch a major crime-fighting program that will include the deployment of an extensive public facial recognition surveillance system and a fleet of more than 500 drones, among other measures. Details of the initiative are expected to be revealed by the government’s finance minister in a budgetary announcement planned for November 24.
Indonesian authorities have trained thousands of military and police offers on the use of facial recognition software in preparation for the country to host the Group of 20 Summit next week, according to a Bloomberg report. The officers also engaged in “metaverse tactical simulations”, and authorities will add drones to the security mix during the conference of government leaders.
The City of Edinburgh Council has voted to replace the city’s HikVision cameras with an entirely new set from a different vendor, following concerns about HikVision’s potential links to human rights abuses in China. All of the Scottish city’s more than 1,300 surveillance cameras will be replaced, with the aim of completing the work in public areas by February of next year.
Kenyan Official Calls for Biometric Worker Verification
Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly Gladys Shollei is calling on the country’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor General to recommend that counties use biometrics to curb the issue of ghost workers. Her comments, aired during an interview with the outlet Citizen TV, come after a report found that hundreds of million in payments had gone to government employees who did not exist.
Instagram Expands Use of Yoti’s Age Estimation Tech
Meta is bringing its age estimation system to Instagram users in the United Kingdom. Its use of Yoti’s biometric solution was first announced in June, with Meta explaining that if a US-based user tried to change the age on their profile from under 18 to over 18, they would be given the option of recording a video selfie that would then be scanned using Yoti’s age estimation tech. That option will now be presented to UK-based users in the same scenario, with an alternative being to upload images of their official ID.
TSA PreCheck Enrolment Gets Price Reduction
IDEMIA has announced price reductions for the TSA PreCheck program, which lets travelers enrol their biographic and biometric data in order to access expedited screening services at airports. The cost of enrolment has gone down from $85 to $78. The move comes at a time of heightened inflation, but also amid a tenuous revival of the travel sector ahead of the traditional holiday – and flu – season.
Staffing Company Settles BIPA Suit for $5.4M
Ron’s Staffing Service, a Chicago-based employee procurement company focused on light industrial businesses, has agreed to pay out almost $5.4 million in compensation to settle a class action lawsuit filed under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. The lawsuit alleged that Ron’s Staffing Service had failed to properly obtain consent for the collection of employees’ fingerprint biometrics for use with a biometric time and attendance system.
Biometric Depression Detection Startup Raises £3.4M
BlueSkyeye AI, a spinout AI startup from the University of Nottingham, has raised £3.4 million in funding to advance the development of its biometric system for the detection of depression in pregnant women and new mothers. The startup currently uses face and voice biometrics to detect persistent low mood, and says its next step will be to hone the AI technology to enable its use as a clinical device for use in diagnosing depression.
Cayman Parliament to Debate Digital ID
The Cayman Islands Parliament will begin deliberating over the establishment of a digital ID program in the country next month, with legislation that would establish a legal basis for the program having now been formally posted. The ID system would be based on data held by the National Workforce Development Agency, and work on the project would be spearheaded by Ministry of Innovation’s eGovernment arm. The government is now accepting public comment on the proposed legislation.
November 7, 2022 – by Alex Perala