Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
Outgoing UK Biometrics Commissioner Decries Dismantling of Safeguards
The United Kingdom’s outgoing Biometric & Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Fraser Sampson, is making some noise on his way out, calling the UK government’s dismantling of AI and biometrics safeguards, including his own office, “shocking” and “tantamount to vandalism.” Sampson’s term ends on October 31, and there are no plans to replace him. A proposed “Data Protection and Digital Information Bill” is poised to eliminate his office, should it become law next year as expected. It would also remove the need for the government to publish a Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. The British government also recently dismantled an independent advisory board meant for AI oversight.
Commission on China Calls for Export Controls On Biometric Tech
The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) has sent a letter to the Secretaries of Commerce, State, and Treasury urging them to implement export controls on technologies that the People’s Republic of China security arm is using to collect the biometric data of individuals in Tibet. The letter, attributed to Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), raises the “concern that biometric collection and analysis equipment could enable gross violations of human rights—from coercive mass surveillance to the harvesting of organs.”
Belgian Mobile ID App Acquires MFA Specialist
Itsme, the Belgian company behind an eponymous mobile ID app, has acquired NextAuth, a compatriot startup specializing in multi-factor authentication. Itsme had already implemented selfie-based identity verification technology, care of iProov, into its app in the spring of 2021; now, the company says its acquisition will add “cast-iron and highly advanced cryptography” to its solution. Itsme says its app is used by almost 7 million Belgians and over 800 companies, but the company may soon face competition from a mobile ID app under development by the Belgian government.
Metalenz Launches ‘Polarization Signature’ Solution for Face Unlock
Boston-based Metalenz has developed what it describes as the world’s first imaging system for consumer devices that can sense the full polarization of light. The company is pitching its “Polar ID” system as a face unlock solution for smartphones, explaining that it can determine the “polarization signature” of a face. “With this additional layer of information, even the most sophisticated 3D masks and spoof instruments are immediately detected as non-human,” the company asserted in a statement. Metalenz unveiled its solution at Qualcomm Technologies’ annual Snapdragon Summit this week, and says it’s in the early stages of evaluation by “several top smartphone OEMs”.
Frankfurt Airport Extends Biometric Passenger Processing to All Travelers
Fraport, the operator of Germany’s Frankfurt Airport, is now extending the availability of a biometric passenger processing system to all travelers. The SITA Smart Path system, which uses facial recognition technology from NEC, has been in place since 2020, when Lufthansa and Star Alliance first brought it online at the airport. “We are the first European airport to offer all passengers a contactless and convenient passenger journey using biometrics,” said Fraport’s Executive Director of Aviation and Infrastructure, Pierre Dominique Prümm. “Our goal for the coming months is to equip at least 50 percent of all check-in kiosks, pre-security and boarding gates with the new and pioneering technology.”
PeopleCert Integrates Aware’s Knomi
PeopleCert, a major provider of examination and accreditation services in higher education, has integrated Aware’s Knomi solution into its KYC process. Operating through a mobile app, Knomi is designed to use facial recognition to verify the end user. PeopleCert COO Suzy Gunn enumerated its advantages. “Biometric data can be gathered upon registration and checked in exam delivery,” she said. “Or biometrics can be used to crossmatch people to their identity documents, ensuring they are the people represented in the documents. The technology can also detect the presence of a single proxy test taker who may be taking multiple exams or pretending to be different people.”
Cronometer, Oura Announce Cycle Tracking System
Cronometer has launched a new “Cycle Tracking” feature on its nutrition tracking app that is designed to offer women insights into their menstrual cycles and reproductive health. The system is the result of a partnership with Oura, whose famous Our Ring wearable device is equipped with sophisticated sensor technology allowing it to track a range of biometrics. The Cycle Tracking feature pulls data from Oura’s “Cycle Insights” function to deliver information including body temperature variation, cycle phase, and cycle day.
FPC Launches Sensor System for PCs
Fingerprint Cards has launched a biometric system for PC makers that comprises its custom-made microcontroller unit with a fingerprint sensor optimized for personal computers. The news comes after Microsoft added FPC’s Match-on-Chip solution for PCs to its Approved Vendor List in early 2022. In the company’s recent Q3 update for 2023, CEO Adam Philpott cited the PC biometrics market as a key area of diversification for the company, which currently claims to dominate the area of fingerprint sensors for Chromebooks.
KONA I Teams With IDEX
The major payment card maker KONA I has established a partnership with IDEX Biometrics focused on the deployment of fingerprint scanning metal cards as well as cards made from recycled PVC. An initial order for the IDEX Pay solution has already shipped. “We are thrilled to bring true innovation to the high-net-worth customers banking segment, combing innovation and security with high performing biometric cards from KONA I,” said Catharina Eklof, IDEX’s Chief Commercial Officer. The news comes after IDEX’s appointment last fall of Claus Hansen, a former KONA I VP, as its Vice President of Sales for the APAC region.
October 26, 2023 – by Alex Perala