Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
IDEMIA Wins $128M CAT-2 Contract From TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has awarded IDEMIA Identity and Security USA a $128 million contract to provide next-generation Credential Authentication Technology systems. The company has already provided the TSA with CAT-2 terminals rolled out at select airports; they are designed to scan a traveler’s face and compare it to the image on their photo ID, and can also read state-issued mobile IDs. The new “Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity” (or “IDIQ”) contract will see IDEMIA work with the TSA to test, produce, and deploy over 1,500 CAT-2 systems across the country.
DoD Expands Wearables Research Program
The US Department of Defense has received an additional $10 million in funding for its Rapid Assessment of Threat Exposure program, which was initially created to explore the use of biometric wearables for detecting the onset of COVID-19. Trials using commercial products like a Garmin smartwatch and the Oura Ring proved successful, ultimately enabling RATE researchers to develop a prototype solution that could detect infection up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. The DoD is now reportedly preparing to expand RATE researchers beyond COVID and into broader use cases.
Oura Names Chief Commercial Officer
Oura has named Dorothy Kilroy as its first-ever Chief Commercial Officer, explaining that she will lead the biometric wearable maker’s business development, partnerships, and sales efforts. Kilroy comes to the role after an eight-year term at the home rental company Airbnb, where she helped to grow the Host community to over four million. The announcement of her appointment at Oura comes as the company’s flagship Oura Ring hits Best Buy store shelves. Kilroy says Oura is “at an inflection point in its growth trajectory” and that it faces an imperative need to “expand in new directions”.
Metaphysic Assembles Scientific Advisory Board
The deepfake avatar startup Metaphysic has appointed a scientific advisory board that will place a special focus on ethical issues as the company continues to develop its technology, which revolves around reproducing digital versions of human beings based on their biometrics. The company now offers a consumer-facing product called Every Anyone, but its business activities extend to the entertainment industry, where it has secured partnerships with Creative Artists Agency and Miramax. Its scientific advisory board comprises three academics: professors Jeanne Fromer, Hany Farid, and Renaud Lambiotte.
Funding Approved for Pakistani Province’s Surveillance Project
Government authorities in the Pakistani province of Sindh have approved Rs1.567 billion (roughly $19 million) for the planned installation of license plate reading and face scanning cameras at the province’s toll booths. The move follows an order from the Sindh chief of police last year directing Central Police Office (CPO) Karachi to begin planning for such a deployment. The surveillance system is aimed at identifying vehicles linked to illegal activities, and to detect potential terrorist activities.
Another BIPA Lawsuit for Amazon
A proposed class action lawsuit alleges that Amazon has violated Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) with its use of facial recognition to confirm the identities of drivers in its Amazon Flex deliver service. The plaintiff claims that Amazon failed to obtain explicit consent for its collection of biometric data, and failed to provide the data retention disclaimers required under BIPA. The plaintiff is demanding a jury trial. This is not the first time Amazon has faced a lawsuit under BIPA.
Yoti Provides Age Estimation Tech for SuperAwesome
Yoti is now providing age estimation technology for Epic Games’s SuperAwesome, a company focused on offering digital engagement products aimed at children. SuperAwesome has integrated Yoti’s technology into Kids Web Services, a developer tool that enables parents to authorize the collection of their kids’ personal information through a process dubbed “Verifiable Parental Consent”. In a statement, the companies explained that SuperAwesome is offering Yoti’s age estimation technology “as one of the available age verification methods in certain countries.”
TLA Innovation Turns to Paperclip SAFE Encryption
TLA Innovation, a cybersecurity startup based in New Jersey, has partnered with Paperclip, a business-focused digitization specialist. TLA has developed a password manager and digital wallet called BoomID Mobile, which will integrate Paperclip’s encryption solution, Paperclip SAFE. TLA CEO Benjamin Massin explained in a statement that TLA already makes use of biometrics and AI to verify identity, and that SAFE adds “an essential element” to the BoomID Mobile platform.
Apple Working On AI Fitness Coach: Gurman
Apple is working on a health coaching app that will use biometric and behavioral data collected from its Apple Watch devices, according to a report from Bloomberg’s respected Apple analyst Mark Gurman. The app – if it comes to fruition – will have a subscription-based payment model, and will use artificial intelligence technology to make customer health and wellness plans for users. Currently dubbed “Quartz”, the app could launch next year. Apple has invested heavily in the biometric health-tracking capabilities of its Apple Watch, which include ECG and blood oxygen readings, and is thought to be working on blood pressure and glucose monitoring systems.
April 27, 2023 – by Alex Perala