Biometrics and Digital Credentials Gain Ground in Airports and National ID

By Chris Burt

Biometrics are playing their part in the pursuit of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, an NEC representative explains in one of Biometric Update’s top articles for the week following International Identity Day. ID Day was observed with major national ID system announcements in Somalia and Nigeria. Meanwhile, countries like Australia and Czechia are moving towards replacing ID documents with digital IDs, and in airports they are being replaced with biometrics and DTCs, with SITA continuing to emerge as a market winner. CardLab appears to have succeeded in

Top biometrics news of the week

Somalia celebrated International Identity Day with the launch of its new biometric national ID cards, with support from NADRA. The national ID is the first for the country since the 1990s, and is intended to help reduce terrorist threats and identity fraud. The ID will be used for public services and financial services, including the Hawala money transfer system.

Nigeria launched a self-enrollment app for the national digital identity as it observed ID Day as part of its ongoing effort to ease registration for the NIN. NIMC also launched a Mobile Contactless Biometric Solution to make it easier for field agents to collect applicants’ biometrics.

Chams Plc, a Lagos-based digital technology integrator that has worked on biometric and digital identity systems, says it is no longer willing to work with Nigeria’s government on the country’s national digital ID. The company’s chairman told shareholders that it has lost $100 million through government wrongdoing, which is not specified in the report.

ID Day is motivated by UN SDG 16.9, which holds universal birth registration as one of its targets. NEC is working to facilitate this goal by developing a system to capture fingerprint biometrics from infants and voice biometrics from their parents. An NEC spokesperson explains in an email interview with Biometric Update how the company arrived at the system, and its hopes to move from supporting early childhood vaccinations to civil ID.

The new plan for Australia’s national digital ID is to consolidate various physical identity documents to improve the efficiency of public service delivery. Consultation on legislation is underway. The government is also setting up a task force to look into the responsible use of AI by its agencies.

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The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is preparing to allow the use of the eDoklady application for a national digital identity, as an alternative to physical ID cards. The system launching in January is reported to have cost around $22 million to set up, and expected to save the state $2.1 million annually. It will be used for public services first, with private sector use a in 2025.

Passports are falling out of favor, with authorities in Singapore, Dubai and Aruba turning to biometrics for faster passenger processing. Changi Airport and Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport are both going passport free end-to-end over the next year, while Aruba is using DTCs from SITA to keep border checks easy for vacationers. Airports in Serbia and Pakistan are also deploying more biometric gates.

CardLab has received multiple offers in a $10 million fundraising round guided by private investment bank US Capital Global Securities LLC. The bank also advised Denmark-based CardLab on the opening of a field office in Texas to reach new markets for its multi-application biometric cards.

A team of researchers from Michigan State University have come up with a way to combine biometric modalities for more effective identification from far away. They were supported by a $12 million grant from U.S. agency IARPA’s BRIAR program. The FarSight technology is meant for use in drones.

The latest stats from FinCEN make clear that government agencies, banks and fintech startups alike need stronger protection from identity fraud, Prove Fraud & Cybercrime Executive Advisor and VP of Client Experience Mary Ann Miller tells Biometric Update in an interview. Miller argues that the data banks are required to gather is practically irrelevant.

The Cook County Record differentiates between the approaches taken by FaceTec and BIO-key in getting BIPA lawsuits voluntarily dismissed. Each company’s customers are the ones that store and process end-users’ biometric data.

Please let us know about any interviews or other content we should share with the biometrics and digital identity communities in the comments below or through social media.

Source: Biometric Update

Chris Burt is managing editor and industry analyst at Biometric Update. He has also written nonfiction about information technology, dramatic arts, sports culture, and fantasy basketball, as well as fiction about a doomed astronaut. He lives in Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter @AFakeChrisBurt.

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