A collaboration between Iris ID and IBM recently brought iris recognition biometrics to the Canada US border crossing via the Canadian Border Services Agency’s NEXUS program. The Iris ID Radio podcast interviewed two Canadian travelers familiar with the process—including FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill—to provide an end user perspective on the experience of border crossings enhanced with biometric self serve kiosks.
The podcast is a helpful insight into the enrollment, screening, and in-airport biometric experiences on both sides of the border. Acuity Market Intelligence principal analyst Maxine Most is also on hand to give insight into how iris biometrics will likely evolve to make our airport experience even more convenient while keeping borders safe, and O’Neill also offers insight into the global border control market.
Acuity released its latest forecasts for the global market for National Electronic ID (eID)market and it appears the market has stabilized. Global programs revenues will exceed $54 billion between 2016 to 2021 averaging about $8.8 billion annually. During the forecast period, Asia will account for more than 60% of all cards issued as the number of countries issuing National eID cards increases from 124 to 136.
Acuity projects that from 2016 to 2021, 3.2 billion chip-based National eIDs will be issued by 103 countries while 485 million National ID cards will be issued by 33 countries that integrate biometrics into non-chip based card programs.
Just as adoption of chip-based ePassports created a global platform that has driven worldwide adoption of Automated Border Control eGates and Kiosks, growth of chip-based National eID programs is creating a foundation for national, regional, and ultimately global trusted authentication infrastructures that will drive expansion of eGovernment services and integration of commercial services like banking and payments.
As the market stabilizes — though outside the forecast period, Acuity believes 2025 will be the “peak year” for National eIDs and all chip-based cards — the longer-term evolution of National eIDs will be an evolution towards mobility. Physical credentials will tie way to digital credentials stored in smartphones and other mobile devices, transforming the way identity is established, referenced, and used every day across the globe.
Get all the details in “The Global National eID Industry Report: 2017 Edition”. The report includes 200+ charts and tables and provides comprehensive, detailed regional, and global analysis and unit and revenue forecasts for all National eID cards programs. A free preview is available.
If you are interested in details for all global National eID Programs by country, preview the “Global National eID Program Update”. This report, presented in spreadsheet format, provides detailed unit and revenue forecasts for each country National eID program from 2013 to 2020.
More than 3500 Automated Border Control eGates and Kiosks Now Deployed Representing 37% CAGR in Three Years
On-going concerns about national security are driving border authorities to continue to embrace biometric and digital identification based automation. The recently updated “ABC eGate Deployment List” and “APC Kiosk Deployment List” indicate there are 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 Automated Passport Control (APC) Kiosks currently deployed at more than 163 ports of entry across the globe. Deployments increased significantly between 2013 to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks reached 75% growth during this period while ABC eGates grew at a more modest 24% CAGR.
As the Trump administration doubles down on immigration restrictions and promises of “extreme vetting,” the reality is that biometrics are used to scrutinize millions of international travelers across the globe every day. Digital Identification technology, including biometrics, continue to allow immigration and border agencies to reliably vet visitors, immigrants, and refugees and automate border identification and control providing secure facilitation at ports of entry for international travelers worldwide.
APC Kiosk deployments grew rapidly in 2014 and 2015 increasing from 200 to 1247 units.Growth tapered off in 2016, reaching only 1436 units. However, Acuity expects growth to accelerate again in 2017 and 2018 as APC Kiosks migrate to Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Currently, 2143 ABC eGates operate in 63 countries. Asia is home to 38.5% of all eGates deployed at land, sea and airports worldwide while 34% are deployed in Europe. Acuity expects ABC eGate numbers to continue to grow as existing airport deployments expand, new airport deployments come on-line, and land and seaports increasingly deploy eGates.
The headline from Business Insider UK reads : Facebook is being sued for amassing the world’s largest stash of facial-recognition data
The article states …
The lawsuit alleges that this facial-recognition program violates the privacy of its users, citing an Illinois law called the Illinois Biometrics Information Privacy Acts, which requires companies to get written content from a user if it is collecting biometric data.
Further, according to the statute, the company must state the purpose and length of its data-collection program.
The idea being that Facebook collects and uses biometrics data without the requisite knowledge or consent of it’s 1.35 billion monthly users, or at least the ones in Illinois. Europe has actually prohibited the use of Facebook’s facial recognition technology, but I have to wonder how exactly does this work? Does i apply to individuals who use European addresses for their profiles? Or does it apply to all traffic on European servers and networks?
Facebook says the templates are “useless bits of data,” that only work with their own software and “users can opt out of the feature and their data will be deleted”. But this kind of explanation, regardless of its voracity, has never been convincing for any kind of personal data collection. Not even from leading biometric vendors or government agencies with large civil and criminal biometric databases.
Though it must be said that government biometric databases, at least within democratic and many not-s0-democratic societies, are generally accompanying by clear (and hopefully) transparent rules regrading the collection, storage, management, use, and disposal of biometric data. And to date, there have been no known major breeches of government biometric databases that have led to catastrophic results. At least none that we know about.
Facebook and other commercial enterprises whose business model relines on collecting and monetizing personal data are, as yet, generally not subject to the same rules, transparency, or scrutiny. Though clearly European regulators did limit their use of biometrics, at least by Facebook, and the same is now being attempted in the US with the Illinois case.
What I find fascinating is that as companies, especially innovative hi-tech behemoths like Facebook, Google, embrace biometrics to simplify, secure, and enhance their social media, payment, and other services, not only do biometrics become demystified but the inherent capabilities of biometric technology actually begin to threaten the underlying business model that is driving their adoption.
Facebook and Google have voluminous knowledge of individuals who access the internet – preferences, friends and professional connections, shopping habits, games, information searches, overall internet footprint, etc. These massive data gathering machines have been parlayed into multi-billion dollar global enterprises. Corporate ownership, management, and sale of consumers’ personal information – information that is often far more difficult and costly to come by and far more intimate and invasive than biometrics – has become the foundation of the globalization of consumer marketing.
However, by integrating biometrics into mainstream consumer life, these companies may be threatening the very economic model that has allowed them to achieve meteoric success monetizing personal data. In essence, the integration of biometrics into IT based social media, finance, payment, and health ecosystems has the potential to deconstruct traditional ideas about and models of personal data ownership and control.
By enabling reliable anonymous identification, biometrics can greatly reduce, even eliminate, the need for the kind of personal information that is routinely required to conduct business, complete transactions, or engage in online interactions or research activities. Enabling this level or anonymity could fundamentally change consumer perceptions regarding their own personal data and the level of control they should have over who can access it, how it can be used, and certainly who can make money off to it.
This kind of “awakening” round “consumer centric privacy” could force companies like Facebook, Google, and other consumer knowledge based information brokers to transform their business models to align with new consumer expectations or become mere shadows of their former selves.
Mobile phones have become central to our lives. In the US, 90% of adults have one. Although we think of mobile phones for their primary role in communication, they have quietly become a global identification device. Governments, and their secret services and law enforcement agencies in particular, have in most countries moved to prevent individuals from being able to buy a mobile phone without producing official identification. As far as these agencies are concerned, being able to identify the owner of a mobile phone is essential in being able to track the parties in a conversation. For countries like Australia that are considering metadata retention, having people identifiable greaty facilitates the analysis and detection of information of interest.
The problem with requiring identification for purchasing mobile phones is the same problem as for collecting metadata of all citizens in a country, it is not a particularly effective means of stopping or even deterring crime or terrorism but it has a disproportionately large impact on privacy and civil liberties of ordinary people.
Requiring identification to buy pre-paid mobile phones for example has not been shown to increase detection of criminals and has had the opposite effect of creating markets for stolen phones and unidentifiable SIM cards. The sorts of criminals law enforcement and security services would be after would also be generally more than capable of avoiding using phones that they had personally bought. At the same time,
On the flip side, there are a range of scenarios in which law abiding citizens are disadvantaged by the need to produce identification in order to buy a phone. This can range from people who don’t have access to official identification documentation like the homeless, through to people in family situations who don’t have control over their documentation and so are prevented from using it for this purpose.
More insidious however has been the way social networks like Facebook have adopted the mobile phone as a way of preventing anonymity on their networks. Although Facebook does allow just an email to create and verify an account, if a phone number is used, it needs to be a number that has not been used before and is registered with a recognised telecommunications provider.
As Facebook states:
“We have limits in place to make sure that everyone is using their real
information on their account.”
There is no real way around this. Facebook mobile verification will not work with “virtual phone numbers” such as those that can be set up in different countries to forward to your real phone number or even to a “soft phone”.
In fact, there are services from companies such as Telesign that will do the telephone number verification to ensure that it is a legitimate number from a recognised service provider.
Another consequence of using mobile devices for identification purposes is that it also acts to limit technological advances. The inability to use virtual numbers that might be associated with Skype or other services for the purposes of verification means that ultimately, that flexibility that these services offer is compromised.
Countries like Australia, that have struggled with the population when trying to introduce national identity cards have met with no resistance when introducing proxies for this card and in particular, mandatory identification for mobile phone purchases. The argument for identity cards was given as the need to fight terrorism even though in the last terrorist attack in Australia, the identity and significant information about the terrorist, Monis, was actually known by intelligence services.
Even with this information, the attack went unforeseen. If 18 phone calls to report the individual could not alert the services to an imminent attack, the idea that they will be able to discover this information in metadata is dubious at best.
Identification features of the mobile phone have taken a bigger leap with the advent of fingerprint use in the Apple iPhone and other smartphones. The use of the fingerprint links phones to bank details and by design establish the identity of the phone user at any point in time. Of course, Apple, Samsung and other companies will claim that this information is not made available to governments, but post-Snowden, that argument no longer holds very much validity.
The surveillance of a population is an easy option for politicians, even when they struggle to understand the technologies involved. It gives the appearance of using sophisticated means to combat potential threats. It also, like the identification properties of mobile phones, gives a country hidden benefits in control of whistle-blowers and political activists. It also means that these actions can be carried out without oversight, making the abuse of this power almost inevitable.