Rank One Computing (ROC) is sounding the alarm about potential threats to the US government’s technology supply chain. In that regard, the Denver-based facial recognition specialist warned that the government cannot guarantee the integrity of a product that was made or handled outside of the United States. For example, some products could have gaps in their cybersecurity, while others could have unfamiliar AI code that is not needed to perform the product’s primary function.
The point is that any flaw poses a threat to the US government, since hackers (whether they are criminals or foreign agents) could exploit those gaps to break into government servers and compromise sensitive information. Those concerns have proven to be well-founded, thanks to high-profile security breaches like those targeting SolarWinds and the Colonial Pipeline.
With that in mind, Rank One is encouraging the rest of the American security industry to take steps to eliminate those supply chain risks. CEO Scott Swann addressed the problem at this week’s Connect:ID event in Washington, DC, where he moderated a panel discussion on Supply Chain Risk and Explainable AI. The panel featured speakers from the government and the private sector, and detailed some of the concrete steps that government agencies and other organizations can take to minimize their level of exposure.
“Buying American components for our strategic identification systems is about much more than national pride or American jobs,” said Swann, who has a background with the FBI. “These are the systems that protect our borders, secure our ports and airways, authorize access to our most sensitive infrastructure, and even clear our teachers and bus drivers. We depend on these systems for their speed and accuracy, so we must understand the limitations and vulnerabilities that foreign technology components can introduce.”
Swann noted that people are a part of the supply chain, which means that governments need to be able to trust the individuals that handle their products. In the meantime, President Biden has issued one Executive Order that states that the federal government should use domestic products whenever possible, and another that requires the use of multi-factor authentication.
ROC has also advocated for the creation of an ethical code of conduct for facial recognition.
October 7, 2021 – by Eric Weiss