U.S. academic institutions get biometric upgrades with new partnerships

ROC to offer in-kind gift of SDK access for staff and students at WVU

A press release says ROC (formerly Rank One Computing), which provides U.S.-made biometrics and computer vision for military, law enforcement and fintech, is enhancing biometric systems engineering exploration at West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, as an in-kind gift to benefit future students.

The gift enables students and faculty in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to access ROC’s software development kit (SDK) for research and coursework in computer vision, biometrics, AI and machine learning, data science, cybersecurity and other areas. It has been made through the nonprofit WVU Foundation.

“This partnership will give students valuable, hands-on experience with innovative technologies that are increasingly critical for both government and commercial applications,” says Scott Swann, CEO of ROC. “It goes hand-in-hand with ROC’s mission of promoting homegrown innovation at its core.”

Jeremy Dawson, associate professor in the Lane Department, says ROC’s “cutting-edge recognition software will give students the opportunity to apply these tools in research projects funded by the Center for Identification Technology Research and other agencies. It also provides unique learning and training opportunities that students would not normally receive.”

Per its release, ROC, “the only American-made multimodal biometrics and computer vision provider,” is the NIST’s top ranking global facial recognition provider in combined accuracy and efficiency.

Ingenium Biometrics partnership trained on biometrics research

Ingenium Biometric Laboratories is forming a partnership with the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), focused on biometric research projects. It aims to develop further research to support the global biometrics industry and drive innovation to address critical challenges in the field.

Areas of investigation will include demographic bias, deepfake technologies and AI.

“We are thrilled to partner with the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science in our shared pursuit of advancing biometric technologies,” says Chris Allgrove, co-founder at Ingenium Biometric Laboratories. “This collaboration represents a powerful synergy between industry and academia, enabling us to push the boundaries of innovation and develop groundbreaking research and testing capabilities for the biometrics industry.”

Ingenium Biometric Laboratories and University of Southampton announce strategic collaboration in biometric technology research

Ingenium Biometric Laboratories, a leading innovator in biometric technologies research and testing, and the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) proudly announce their partnership in biometrics research projects.

This collaboration represents a significant opportunity to develop further research and development capabilities to support the global biometric technology industry. This strategic alliance will leverage the combined expertise and resources of both organisations to drive innovation and address critical challenges in the field of biometrics.

Together, they will focus on exploring the performance and security of biometric technology, including the development of research projects relating to the role of demographic bias, deep fake technologies and artificial intelligence.

“We are thrilled to partner with the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science in our shared pursuit of advancing biometric technologies,” said Chris Allgrove, co-founder at Ingenium Biometric Laboratories. “This collaboration represents a powerful synergy between industry and academia, enabling us to push the boundaries of innovation and develop groundbreaking research and testing capabilities for the biometrics industry.”

Professor of Biometric Technologies Richard Guest, from the School of Electronics and Computer Science, said: “Southampton is at the forefront of pioneering new research for the future of biometrics. Combining our expertise with Ingenium will bring about new opportunities and develop technologies in an industry of national importance for the UK.”

About Ingenium Biometric Laboratories:

Ingenium is a research and innovation laboratory, helping organisations test and trust identity, biometric and age estimation technology, to enable organisations to use them with confidence in their digital and business transformation initiatives. Ingenium is also the UK’s independent biometrics laboratory for the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) including for critical national infrastructure. 

About University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science: 

The University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science is a world-renowned hub for research and education in biometrics, computer science, electronics, and related disciplines.  

Testing and evaluation of biometric technology is essential

Testing and evaluation of biometric technology is not speed-dating, it is a long-term relationship.

Testing biometrics isn’t optional, it’s essential. With growing adoption of biometrics in critical applications, the Biometrics Institute recently emphasised the vital role of comprehensive testing across every stage of development and implementation.

The race is on, and it is a continuous catch-up. This urgent message stemmed from the Institute’s recent “On the Pulse Conversation,” an online event convening representatives from 27 countries, primarily government representatives, to discuss why not testing biometrics can lead to costly mistakes.

Testing upholds the Third Law of Biometrics, which requires understanding your algorithm and system,” said Isabelle Moeller, CEO, Biometrics Institute. “Fortunately, cutting-edge laboratories are actively testing biometric applications, and this event offered unparalleled access to their expertise.

In 2010, the Biometrics Vulnerability Assessment Expert Group (BVAEG) was formed to raise awareness of biometric vulnerabilities, develop a common assessment methodology, and align findings with international standards. Fourteen years later, in the trusted environment provided by the Institute, the BVAEG discussed what vulnerabilities exist in biometrics, how much of a risk morphs and deepfakes are, and where they occur.

A deepfake is where an attacker mimics a targeted individual in order to attack a biometric system. This can be an attack on the sensor of the device or even bypass the biometric sensor in what is called an injection attack. Biometric solutions address this through layers of security that include deepfake detection, liveness detection, challenge response and securing the pipeline for transmitting the data. More testing is needed to ensure these solutions perform effectively.

Biometric systems are complex, and continuous testing is essential to ensure resilience, user-friendliness and security. The absence of comprehensive testing can lead to vulnerabilities, decreased performance, and a failure to meet user expectations.

Biometric testing key takeaways:

  • End-to-end and life-cycle testing is essential: No stage can be overlooked, from design to deployment and ongoing monitoring
  • Live or supervised photo capture is crucial: This safeguards against spoofing and injection attacks, especially for secure credential use cases. Consider a multi-factor approach combining supervised capture with advanced detection technologies
  • Deepfakes pose a rising threat: Their sophistication demands ongoing advancements in detection capabilities
  • Injection attacks present unique challenges: While harder to initiate, once a deepfake is injected, they are more difficult to detect than presentation attacks
  • Cloud-based biometrics require novel testing methods: This evolving area needs further exploration and standardised approaches
  • Remote identity proofing is a complex and challenging process: Approaches for comprehensive evaluation to ensure reliability are emerging for remote identity proofing
  • Testing is a critical tool that transforms the unknown: Through consistent and continuous evaluation, organisations can adapt and evolve their biometric systems to respond to new challenges and advancements. This can improve system integrity, build trust and strengthen organisational reputation

The event featured walkthroughs of several testing laboratories and updates from standards and research organisations, including presentations by:

Moeller concluded: “Significant effort goes into developing and evaluating this technology, and we’ve seen notable improvements. However, new challenges like deepfakes and cloud-based applications require constant vigilance and innovation. This is a journey, not a destination, and we must work together to ensure responsible, ethical and effective biometric implementation.

The BVAEG will meet again in a workshop on Vulnerability Testing on 21 October 2024 in London, alongside the Biometrics Institute Congress. FIDO is preparing to release a certification programme that will help tackle the remote identity proofing challenge by prioritising both user experience and security. The Institute is also working on an executive briefing document entitled Biometric vulnerabilities in digital identity – executive briefing. which will be released in the coming months. For more information on the Three Laws of Biometrics and other good practice resources, visit the Biometrics Institute website.