Biometric technologies abandon bias, expensive scanners and centralization


Advances in biometrics promise better privacy, greater accuracy and lower costs, the public of the latest ID4Africa LiveCast heard from a succession of speakers and researchers.

The previous episode, this week’s episode and the next include a trilogy of reviews of best practices for sustainable digital identity ecosystems that include all stakeholders, said at the start the Executive Chairman of ID4Africa, the Dr. Joseph Atick.

Atick interviewed documentary filmmaker Lauren Anders Brown about her film in the first segment of the LiveCast.

Forge‘ explores the difficulties four Syrian families face in obtaining identity documents and other identifying information necessary for their daily lives. Displaced people and others who lack access to the means to prove who they are in Syria are turning to forgers and other desperate measures to get through daily processes, from school to checkpoints. military control.

The experiences of the people in the documentary demonstrate the importance of identity documents, legal ID and birth registration, and the impact of not having them.

“Undocumented people don’t want anything to do with the cameras or tell their stories or open up,” says Anders Brown, pointing to one of the main difficulties faced by those working and advocating for identity systems.

Advances in biometrics and new digital ID platforms

Patrick Grother and Shahram Orandi from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology also joined the LiveCast.

Grother provided an update on the use of NIST resources and the state of the art in facial biometrics. The performance of the technology has improved dramatically even in the past couple of years, as Gother last addressed the ID4Africa community two years ago.

The discussion ranged from how to choose the “best” algorithm to the role of image quality in matching performance, and the relationship of each to biometric bias.

Grother says the improvements mean “the applicability of facial recognition is increasing”.

Rahul Parthian of Tech5Tom Bus from Integrated biometrics and NIST’s Orandi then discussed advances in contactless fingerprint biometrics with Atick.

Parthe notes that contactless fingerprints are now useful for practical applications of biometrics, but under certain conditions. Among them is the need for high resolution, such as with a 5 megapixel camera, for uses such as large-scale deduplication.

Tech5 under contract BixeLab to perform an independent benchmarking of contactless fingerprints to assess the accuracy of the technology in various scenarios, he reveals. They found that a multi-finger approach can alleviate accuracy issues with contactless printing.

Parthe discussed the state of the art in contactless fingerprinting with Biometric update in a sponsored post interview earlier this year.

Buss presented the scenarios in which contactless fingerprints can currently work well, and not so well. Typically, the former involves a legacy database with fingerprints collected on contact-based scanners. Many cameras in use around the world today do not allow software controls that consistently produce good quality images for fingerprint biometrics, he notes.

Buss also cautioned against using AI to enhance fingerprint images because it can introduce artifacts into the image.

He also talked about advances in technology and how IB and a partner won a recent NIST competition in the region with Biometric update in an interview in June.

Orandi presented NIST’s work towards a certification system for contactless fingerprint capture.

The organization revamped its testing plans after the Covid hit and is currently testing contactless fingerprint capture with NIST’s Fingerprint Registration and Comparison Tool (NFRaCT). The next special release is scheduled for November.

In the final segment of the LiveCast, representatives from Microsoft and Mastercard discussed their approaches to digital identity and how they can be used to secure public and private sector service delivery.

Microsoft develops decentralized identity solutions like Entra Verified ID using verifiable credentials, while Mastercard Community pass is designed as a shared interoperable platform purpose-built to create inclusive digital economies, using Trust Stamp’s tokenized biometrics.

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