Welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:
UK’s ICO Looks Into Worldcoin
The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office “will be making enquiries” into Worldcoin, the web3 startup working to build a global identity platform, according to a spokesperson. Worldcoin marked its platform’s official launch this week, and invited Londoners to have their irises scanned to get signed up. The ICO has gestured to the UK’s data protection rules, including a requirement that companies collecting biometric data conduct risk assessments, and consult with the ICO about risks they are unable to mitigate. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, meanwhile, has warned about, among other things, the risk of deepfake technology being used for identity theft on the platform.
Rwandan Officials Mull Biometric Vaccine Tracking
Health officials in Rwanda are considering the implementation of a biometric system for tracking vaccinations. The country reportedly already has some of Africa’s best vaccination coverage with respect to diseases like diphtheria and tetanus, but Hassan Sibomana, the manager of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), told a domestic outlet that biometrics are being explored in an effort to “not leave any child behind”, adding that such technologies “are being tested here and there.” Sibomana added that there is a need for further planning, including the need to determine a financing arrangement for the such a project.
Pluribus Digital Wins $135M Biometric Data Management Contract
Virginia-based Pluribus Digital has won a four-year, $135 million contract to help U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with a biometric information management system. The contract was awarded in the form of a task order through the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule, with Pluribus Digital having reportedly outbid 10 other vendors. About a week ago, the company posted an announcement on LinkedIn expressing pride in its support for organizations like USCIS, which had just launched a new self-service tool for rescheduling biometric services appointments.
BI2 Offers Border Sheriffs Access to Iris Database
Massachusetts-based BI2 Technologies says it will provide sheriffs in 31 counties along the southern border with “free access” to its BI2’s I.R.I.S. (Inmate Recognition and Identification System), a criminal database built on iris biometrics. The database is available through BI2’s Mobile Offender Recognition & Information (MORIS) System, a handheld offender recognition solution that is compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows operating systems. The company made its announcement to the National Sheriff’s Association Border Security Committee at the Association’s recent annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Thai Officials Face Probe Over Alleged Graft in Biometric Tech Procurement
Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) plans to file charges against a group of officials affiliated with the Immigration Police Bureau over alleged graft in the procurement of biometric equipment in 2019. The charges are the result of an investigation by the People’s Lawyers Foundation, which found that the vendor involved in the project failed to deliver the equipment on time, and that officials waived a penalty fine and extended the deadline for delivery.
Samsung Wallet Welcomes Virtual Aadhaar Cards
Samsung India has now linked its Galaxy devices’ digital wallet to the biggest biometric digital ID platform in the world. India-based users can now store their various identity credentials, including their Aadhaar card, driver’s license, and vehicle registration certificates, among other credentials, in the Samsung Wallet. Aadhaar is a sprawling ID program that links digital identities directly to Indians’ biometrics; now, it is to some extent dependent on the security of Samsung Knox, the security platform of Samsung’s mobile devices, as well as the biometric authentication features of Samsung devices.
German Alcohol Retailer Leverages Age Estimation Tech
Innovative Technology is starting to see adoption of its age estimation technology in the retail space after successful field trials last year. A German liquor store franchisee operating near Hamburg has deployed the company’s “MyCheckr” solution in one of its retail locations, and the smaller MyCheckrMini solution, which does not feature a screen, in another outlet. Both solutions are used to offer guidance to staff on when to ask for proof of age. “They give our staff more confidence when asking for ID and have led to fewer confrontations,” the franchisee said.
Indian Brands Announce Competing Biometric Smart Rings
The Indian brands Boat and Noise have separately announced competing smart ring products, both of which leverage biometric technology. Noise’s Luna Ring features infrared Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors and skin temperature sensors, while Boat’s Smart Ring can track blood oxygen levels as well as metrics such as heart rate, body temperature, and menstrual cycles. Neither company has announced pricing for their biometric wearables.
CyberLink’s Facial Recognition Added to Simpello Identity Platform
Simpello has integrated CyberLink’s FaceMe solution into its identity solution. Aimed primarily at the hospitality and retail sectors, Simpello’s solution is designed to turn an end user’s mobile device into an ID and digital wallet, using Bluetooth Low Energy and Ultra-Wide Band communications to facilitate tap-based transactions, such as checking in at a hotel or making a payment. FaceMe adds facial recognition to the mix, allowing hotels to let guests check in with a face scan at an automated kiosk, and enabling retailers to accept face-based payments.
UK Gets New Rules for Video Game Loot
The United Kingdom has new guidelines concerning loot boxes in video games — a reference to the virtual rewards that players can receive in exchange for certain gameplay achievements or real or virtual money. The guidelines have been published by UK Interactive Entertainment, an industry group, in response to recommendations from a Technical Working Group convened by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport last year. And, as digital identity specialist Yoti explains, they effectively restrict games from offering loot boxes to anyone under the age of 18, prompting the need for age assurance and parental consent tools. In the US, Yoti has been working with its partner SuperAwesome and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to try to get biometric age estimation technology approved for similar purposes.
Mitek Publishes Liveness Detection Explainer
Mitek has published a liveness detection explainer on its blog, aimed at helping enterprise leaders and administrators understand its importance amid the rising threat of AI-generated deepfakes. “Rapid advancements in AI are giving scammers new tools to impersonate people, including politicians and a journalist who was recently deepfaked,” said Alexey Khitrov, the CEO and co-founder of Mitek subsidiary ID R&D. “Unfortunately, we expect to see this trend continue, unless companies employ the latest technology available today.” Mitek recently published its results for the 2022 fiscal year, showing a revenue bump from its acquisition of HooYu.
July 26, 2023 – by Alex Perala