Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Raises Flags Over Data Sharing Pilot
The Scottish Biometrics Commissioner, Brian Plastow, has sent a letter to Bex Smith, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, concerning a “Digital Evidence Sharing Capability” (DESC) pilot, which would see biometric data stored by Axon, a US-based cloud provider. The Commissioner is concerned that this could bring Police Scotland in violation of the Scottish Code of Practice on biometric data, and that it could expose the sensitive data of Scots to US legal frameworks over which Scottish authorities have no control. “I have already highlighted in my annual reports to the Parliament that this is a significant risk which could undermine public confidence and trust in the criminal justice ecosystem in Scotland,” Plastow wrote.
Israeli Tech Professionals Leverage Expertise to Help Find Hostages
Hundreds of Israeli tech professionals have taken leave from the workplace to help Israeli security forces track down hostages taken by Hamas during the attacks of October 7. According to a Reuters report, volunteers at a makeshift command center in Tel Aviv are applying voice and facial recognition to videos posted online by Hamas, in an effort to find clues that might lead to hostages’ locations. Hamas, meanwhile, appears to be systematically deleting media it had previously posted online, perhaps in an effort to prevent such evidence-gathering.
Ugandan University Staff Association Head Decries Biometric Attendance System
The head of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Robert Kakuru, has expressed opposition to the implementation of a biometric time and attendance tracking system for staff at the Ugandan university. Kakuru complained that a biometric clock-in system would interfere with ongoing remote teaching practices, and fails to consider situations in which teachers work at home at unusual hours, doing things like reading dissertations and writing grant applications. In announcing the biometric system last week, a Makerere University statement framed it as part of a larger digitization program that could involve the implementation of biometric access control, as well.
UAE Telecom Launches AI-Automated Store
The major Middle Eastern telecom Etisalat has launched a smart retail store in the United Arab Emirates that uses AI-driven technologies to automate the shopping experience. Customers can gain access to the store via facial recognition or with a dedicated mobile app, and can then pick up any products or accessories they’d like, with fast-selling products stored on ‘smart shelves’ that will automatically add them to a customer’s virtual shopping cart. Purchases can be made at self-checkout kiosks.
Anonybit Raises $3M in Seed Extension Round
Anonybit has raised $3 million in a seed extension round led by JAM FINTORP, a collaborative venture between Jacobs Asset Management and FINTOP Capital. It’s the latest sign of excitement about Anonybit’s flagship platform, Anonybit Genie, which revolves around the use of decentralized biometrics for the authentication of end users. The latest investment round brings Anonybit’s funding to a total of $8 million, and arrives alongside an injection of additional expertise to the company’s leadership team. Limor Elbaz, who founded the cybersecurity network Peerlyst and served as its CEO from 2011 to 2019, is Anonybit’s new Chief Revenue Officer; and Al Pascual, the former Javelin Research analyst and co-founder of Breach Clarity (now part of TransUnion), has joined Anonybit’s Advisory Board.
JumpCloud Launches Biometric Authentication Tool
JumpCloud, the provider of a cloud-based directory services platform, has launched a new biometric authentication system. “JumpCloud Go” is supported on MacOS and Windows, and is designed to leverage compatible devices’ authentication systems, such as the fingerprint sensors on newer MacBooks or the face-scanning capabilities of computers running the Windows Hello security platform. JumpCloud has also announced a number of other additions to its platform, including an Android Enterprise Mobility Management tool that lets administrators manage employees’ Android devices, and a JumpCloud Remote Access tool to help with things like remote training and assistance, among others.
authID Renews Important Certification
authID has renewed its ISO 27001:2013 certification, after a review by the independent auditor A-lign. “The renewal of our ISO 27001 certification reaffirms authID’s commitment to offering our customers the highest level of assurance that our systems operate within a secure environment, while delivering fast, accurate and seamless identity experiences,” said authID’s Chief Technology Officer, Thomas Szoke. The company recently reported a 300 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in sales, with more than $1 million in “Booked Annual Recurring Revenue”, a non-GAAP measure, in the third quarter of 2023.
WhatsApp Rolls Out Passkey Support
WhatsApp has launched support for passkeys for its Android users. The move comes about a week after Google’s announcement that it would begin making passkeys the default login method for its personal Google Account users. In announcing WhatsApp’s support on X (formerly Twitter), the messaging platform framed passkeys as a way for users to “easily and securely log back in” to their accounts.
Thales Teams With Colombian FinTech Startup
Thales has partnered with SoyYo, a Colombian startup that offers digital identity services to the financial services sector, on a solution that integrates passkey technology. Founded in 2019, SoyYo has already developed an identity solution that lets end users save a digital credential on their smartphone, which can then be unlocked with a face scan during interactions with organizations supporting the credential. Now, Thales has helped the company to integrate passkeys through its Gemalto IdCloud solution, delivering both a standard device-bound passkey system and a version that can sync passkeys across multiple devices.
October 17, 2023 – by Alex Perala