Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
Blaming IDEMIA, Mali Junta Delays Elections
Mali’s military junta has postponed elections scheduled for February of 2024, and is laying part of the blame on IDEMIA. The junta, which took power in a 2020 coup, said IDEMIA is holding the country’s civil identification database “hostage” over unpaid bills, which is making it impossible to register voters and has slowed the rollout of a biometric identity card. A spokesperson for IDEMIA has confirmed that the company cut off services due to outstanding payments, and said it hasn’t had any contact with Mali’s interim authorities. This isn’t the first time Mali’s junta has failed to deliver on a promise of elections.
Detained Businessman Insists Biometric Identification Was in Error
An Indonesian businessman has been granted an appeal to make the case to a High Court that a biometric check had falsely identified him as a convicted fraudster. Aldrin Pratama Widjaja insists that he is not Paiman Shakimon, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for investment fraud. Shakimon had fled the country after his sentencing in 2011. Nine years later, police thought they had re-arrested him after a border control check determined that Widjaja was, in fact, the fugitive, based on a fingerprint match. But a Court of Appeals judge has now agreed that the fingerprint check was not sufficient to determine that Widjaja truly is Shakimon, and a higher court will have to investigate further.
Scotlands Biometrics Commissioner Wants Greater Purview
The Scottish Biometrics Commissioner wants a larger bailiwick. Whereas Commissioner Brian Plastow currently has the authority to oversee biometrics practices among Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, he said he “would encourage” Scottish ministers to consider extending his office’s oversight to the many other agencies that are involved in sharing biometric data, such as prisons and criminal justice social work bodies. The Commissioner argues that all concerned would benefit from independent oversight and his office’s Code of Practice, which includes commitments to accountability and privacy, among other considerations.
The Department of Justice is planning to issue a department-wide policy concerning the protection of privacy and civil rights in federal law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. The GAO found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been using both in-house facial recognition technology and that provided by the private company Clearview AI, and that only five percent of the 200 FBI agents with access to the tools have actually taken a three-day training course on how to use them.
Open Letter Calls for European Halt to FRT in Public, Migration Scenarios
The advocacy group European Digital Rights has published an open letter signed by 120 NGOs calling on governments and private companies to stop using facial recognition in public spaces and in migration-related contexts. The letter arrives as Members of the European Parliament prepare for a third round of negotiations concerning the AI Act, with the matter of facial recognition being a key point of contention.
New Universal Theme Park to Feature Face-Based Entry
A new theme park being constructed in Florida by NBCUniversal’s Universal Destinations & Experiences business will feature a biometric entry system based on facial recognition. The news comes by way of UD&E CEO Mark Woodbury, who told an audience at the recent Bank of America Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference that the park will feature “facial recognition” and “photo validation technology” enabling guests to enjoy a “frictionless experience” when entering. The forthcoming “Universal Epic Universe” park is scheduled to open in 2025.
ProofID Acquires Regatta Solutions Group
UK-based ProofID has acquired Regatta Solutions Group, an identity and access management solutions integrator based in Texas. ProofID is an IAM specialist, too, and has been named a Ping Identity Delivery Partner of the Year for the last five years. Regatta, meanwhile, is a key partner of SailPoint, an enterprise-focused identity security solutions provider. Going forward, Regatta will be branded as “a ProofID company”, and will later be fully subsumed under the ProofID brand. The combined business is expected to generate $32 million in revenues this year.
Axiad Brings Certificate-Based Authentication to AWS Marketplace
Axiad’s CBA for IAM solution (“Certificate-Based Authentication for Identity and Access Management”) has now been listed on the AWS Marketplace, helping it to reach a broader range of potential clients. New customers can engage with AWS Professional Services to get assistance in deploying the solution, or they can negotiate sales one-on-one with Axiad. The news comes after Axiad obtained FedRAMP Ready status for its Axiad Cloud platform earlier this month, bringing that solution to the FedRAMP Marketplace.
New Pixel Phones to Include Face-Swapping Feature for Photos
Google’s upcoming Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones appear to have a novel photo editing feature that will let the user swap in a better photo of a subject’s face. It works via facial recognition, matching the person in the photo to other images in the user’s camera reel. If the subject in the shot is blinking or turning their face at an awkward angle, Google’s AI system will automatically suggest a different angle of the same person’s face, taken from a different image.
September 26, 2023 – by Alex Perala