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Government biometrics projects and approvals of digital ID technologies made up most of the top news stories on Biometric Update over the past week. National biometrics registration campaigns are yielding results in Ethiopia and Nigeria, a large U.S. contract has been won by Idemia Public Security and its partner, and Australia is limiting the number of companies that will be approved for its federal digital ID system, with IDverse and Mastercard among the likely beneficiaries. Yoti’s age estimation has not won a key approval from the U.S. government, yet, and sooner or later, UK’s borders are likely to need more biometric gear deployed. On the private sector side, NEC has been revealed as the facial recognition provider for a major sports initiative.

Top biometrics news of the week

Ethiopia’s digital transformation is proceeding well, in the assessment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The “Digital Ethiopia 2025” plan, intended to address the country’s long-standing economic challenges, is half-complete, the PM says, with 587 government and trade services digitized, many of them taking advantage of the national digital ID, Fayda.

Nigeria is on track to meet its digital ID registration target, with more than 104 million NINs issued out of 148 million, according to the World Bank. The Bank’s report credits the country’s ID4D and G2Px initiatives for delivering benefits to Nigerians, and NIMC’s measures for accelerating NIN issuance. Meanwhile, NIMC has moved to limit the access licensed agents have to its database in response to the data breach scandal.

Idemia Public Security has won a $50 million contract from the U.S. GSA, along with its partner XTec Incorporated, to make and distribute the PIV cards used throughout the government for access control. Idemia supplies the cardstock and personalization services under the contract, which lasts for one year with extension options for three more.

The UK is still not ready for EES. Ferry and port operators describe millions of dollars’ worth of investments in duplicative processes, such as people exiting their cars to submit their biometrics at Kent’s Channel Tunnel. Businesses are warning parliament, and the government in turn is seeking a partnership with Schengen countries to remove some border checks.

Australia’s government does not anticipate a large number of private sector providers participating in its digital ID system, with the finance minister estimating 5 to 10, at least to begin with. This could be good news for identity service providers already certified to the TDIF, like IDVerse, Mastercard, Australia Post and Makesure.

The U.S. FTC has declined to add biometric age estimation to its list of approved methods under COPPA. The agency was asked to consider the addition by Yoti and a pair of partners. The FTC says it could revisit the decision after NIST releases its evaluation of Yoti’s age estimation model, which is anticipated next week.

An analysis of the White House OMB’s recently-released AI policy by the World Privacy Forum notes significant implications for biometrics developers and providers. The OMB memorandum explicitly discusses responsible biometrics procurement, the freedom of Americans to opt out of the TSA’s airport facial recognition program and how the technology should be deployed by the federal government in general.

OpenAI has created a deepfake voice generation tool, found it effective in internal testing, and now delayed its release, pending stronger rules for its use. A 15-second speech sample is all that is needed to generate realistic voices that convey emotion, the company says.

The Major League Baseball has begun, and with it, thousands of fans entering without showing a ticket through facial recognition. NEC provides the facial recognition technology behind Go-Ahead Entry, which is live now at four ballparks, with more on the way.

Idemia Public Security’s Vincent Bouatou explains what ELFT results mean, how latent fingerprint recognition works in the field and why it is like a different biometric modality from digital fingerprinting in an interview. Latent fingerprints are the hardest challenge in the industry, Bouatou says, but the algorithms are constantly improving the speed of investigations in different ways.

It will be such traditional law enforcement methods that police in Lakeland, Florida turn after turning off their live facial recognition system.  The system had a reference database of three previous offenders, but will no longer be used under threat of a lawsuit by the ACLU, ABC reports.

Please let us know about interviews, editorials or podcasts you come across that we should share with the people in biometrics and the broader digital identity community in the comments below or through social media.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Chris Burt

Quelle/Source: Biometric Update, 06.04.2024

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