Thales is celebrating a strong performance in the Department of Homeland Security’s most recent Biometric Technology Rally, an independent testing program organized by the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (“S&T”).
Thales provided camera systems for facial recognition – a single-camera solution called “Bison” and a three-camera system dubbed “Wilson”. The former features a screen displaying potential biometric matches to subjects, while the latter has no screen and is designed only to confirm a successful scan with a beep.
When paired with one of the top-four biometric matching algorithms, Bison delivered a True Identification Rate of 97.4 percent in tests on groups of four subjects, the top score for that category. In a test aimed at evaluating whether a biometric system can successfully avoid capturing the biometrics of a participant who opts out, both Bison and Wilson achieved perfect scores when paired with one of the top-four face-matching algorithms.
In announcing the results, Thales emphasized the 2022 Biometric Technology Rally’s emphasis on meeting expectations concerning privacy protections and equity.
“In some situations, travelers want to see exactly what’s being captured and a short pause is acceptable,” explained Neville Pattinson, the head of Business Development and Strategic Marketing for Thales’ US Identity & Biometric Solutions unit. “In others, we acquire images of moving subjects using multiple cameras and audio feedback; this is slightly faster. In any case, we put each traveler’s privacy choices first.”
The company also noted that it had attained “class-leading performance” in tests “designed to measure the effects of participant gender, ethnicity, or skin tone.” When DHS officials first announced the Rally’s results earlier this year, the technical director of the Identity and Data Sciences Lab at S&T’s Maryland Test Facility, Yevgeniy Sirotin, highlighted the importance of imaging and cameras in addressing the need for equal biometric accuracy between different skin tones, telling reporters that the “net reflectiveness of your skin determines how many photons get reflected back into the camera, and fundamentally this is a physics problem.”
Thales is evidently working to be part of the solution. “The outcomes of this rally not only confirm the accuracy and equity of our solutions, but they also help us learn where to focus our engineering efforts for the future,” said Pattinson.
April 25, 2023 – by Alex Perala