Biometrics testing and market building presage broader technology adoption

Gains in biometric accuracy and new developments in digital wallets were major themes of the week among the most-read stories on Biometric Update. Performance improvements are seen in the latest edition of the world’s leading facial recognition benchmark from Idemia and other developers, while the OpenWallet Foundation introduced an engine for digital wallet-builders. On the market side, Fingerprint Cards’ CEO sees gains ahead in several different growth areas, and a tent-pole client of Yoti is expanding its implementation of facial age verification.

Top biometrics news of the week

The latest edition of the NIST FRVT 1:N evaluation shows further incremental gains in enrollment performance and biometric accuracy. The various categories representing different facial recognition applications were topped by Idemia, Cloudwalk, Sensetime and NEC, with Paravision also appearing near the top of several.

Biometric security for payments, door locks and PCs each represent massive opportunities that Fingerprint Cards CEO Ted Hansson tells Biometric Update in an interview he has been focussing on since taking the role late last year. Even mobile can be a growth market for the company, he says, between its new under-display technology and an extensive network of strong partners.

The OpenWallet Foundation says digital wallets could play a role for identity in online environments analogous to the one web browsers have traditionally played, in terms of importance and ubiquity, during the launch of its engine for wallet-builders. Representatives of Visa, Accenture, OIX and a Huawei subsidiary and other leading organizations presented the vision, and called for developers to participate in it.

In payments, an OWF report quotes a Worldpay estimate that digital wallets were used in nearly $16 trillion-worth of transactions in 2021. The white paper makes the pitch for open-source digital wallets, just as the Mobey Forum launched a working group for digital wallets to help banks find their role in the ecosystem.

Australia’s federal, state and territory governments have agreed on a deal to have digital credentials recognized across the country, with legislation on a new digital identity scheme expected later this year. A government watchdog warns that the country’s digital identity system is at significant risk of security breaches, meanwhile.

The digital identity market will generate $53 billion a year for vendors by 2026, according to a recent forecast, as the use of digital ID apps soars. Juniper Research also says digital wallets, by combining identity and payment functions, are the one threat to their dominance.

Responses to the Blair Institute’s call for a government-backed decentralized digital ID were varied in several ways. Emailed comments from iProov CEO and Co-founder Andrew Bud calling for open standards, and from OIX Chief Strategist Nick Mothershaw calling for cooperation with the private sector on digital ID, stand out.

The plan for Kenya’s new national ID system is becoming clearer, with information revealed about how government databases will interact, as the Ruto administration seeks to differentiate it from Huduma Namba. A central population register and digital access to all government services is in; cards are out.

Funding for the previous administration’s national ID program has been slashed by 84 percent, meanwhile.

Instagram is expanding its use of facial age estimation from Yoti to new countries on four continents as an alternative for users to sharing an ID document if they change their age. The partners say the arrangement protects user privacy while also protecting children from potentially harmful content.

Sweden’s plans for its term with the EU Presidency include reducing security risks through its digital policies and warns of potentially contentious negotiations around the AI Act. Criminal threats are evolving, and the scope of digital identity proposals has changed, the discussion paper says.

Easily accessible deepfake tools are making what would once have been considered sophisticated fraud attempts easy for people, it seems. Tools to detect these attempts exist, such as those from ID R&D and Nuance, but are only part of the answer, even where they are deployed. As Ingenium Biometric Laboratories commented on LinkedIn, the “step-change in the capability of voice deep fakes and makes the importance of being able to catch such presentation attacks ever-more apparent.” Systems need to have mitigated measures, and those need to be tested.

Ingenium Director and Co-founder Chris Allgrove will be part of a panel moderated by Biometric Update’s Chris Burt and discussing the threat deepfakes pose to biometric systems, as part of the online Biometric Summit 2023 on March 23.

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