The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a patent on Tuesday, July 20 (patent #11,068,732) to the CEO of Ideal Innovations, Inc. (I-3), called International Biometric Identification System (IBIS). This patent may have a significant impact on the way in which international entities biometrically verify individuals from foreign countries without violating privacy in the process.
“IBIS is a significant step forward with regard to the use of biometrics internationally, in that it provides for identification verification of subjects from different countries without sharing of biometric information between those countries,” noted Bob Kocher, CEO of I-3. “Privacy and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) disclosure are top-of-mind issues these days with respect to biometric use, and we specifically wanted to find a way to address that concern with IBIS.”
IBIS encompasses a system and method for international biometric identity verification between two countries, without transferring biometric information between the two countries. It will replace the traditional approach of identification via uniforms and identification cards, which are easily compromised, into a secure approach of leveraging biometric information through a person’s identity. This approach is consistent with the policy of not sharing any biometric information relating to verification of identification of individuals with other countries.
“We imagine applications where partner nations, working in international assistance, humanitarian, and even military operations domains, can rapidly and securely vet individuals from other countries biometrically, without compromising that individual’s personal information,” stated Kocher.
Ideal Innovations is an inventions company that develops innovative ways to solve difficult problems. It has additional experimental efforts underway, including developing methods for identifying potential elite future performers, rapid secure access systems, and early detection of viruses.
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) requested information about Amazon’s data collection practices involving biometrics in a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. The senators expressed concerns about the company’s use of data gathered by Amazon One, the company’s palm-print recognition and payment system.
The letter follows reports of Amazon offering credits to consumers to share their biometric data with Amazon One. Amazon has also announced that it is planning to expand the program, including potentially selling Amazon One technology to third-party stores.
“Amazon’s expansion of biometric data collection through Amazon One raises serious questions about Amazon’s plans for this data and its respect for user privacy, including about how Amazon may use the data for advertising and tracking purposes,” the senators wrote.
“Amazon One users may experience harms if their data is not kept secure. In contrast with biometric systems like Apple’s Face ID and Touch ID or Samsung Pass, which store biometric information on a user’s device, Amazon One reportedly uploads biometric information to the cloud, raising unique security risks…Data security is particularly important when it comes to immutable customer data, like palm prints,” the senators continued.
We write regarding concerns about Amazon’s recent expansion and promotion of Amazon One, a palm print recognition system, and to request information about the actions Amazon is taking to protect user data privacy and security.
Amazon One appears to be a biometric data recognition system that allows consumers to pay for their purchases in grocery stores, book stores, and other retail settings using their palm print. Consumers can enroll in the program at any location with an Amazon One device by scanning one or both palms and entering their phone and credit card information. Amazon One devices are currently in use in more than 50 retail locations throughout the United States, including in Minnesota. Locations with the technology currently include Amazon Go stores, Whole Foods locations, and other Amazon stores.
Recent reports indicate that Amazon is incentivizing consumers to share their biometric information with Amazon One by offering a $10 promotional credit for Amazon.com products. Amazon has also announced that they have plans to expand Amazon One, which may include introducing the technology in other Amazon stores as well as selling it to third-party stores. Amazon’s expansion of biometric data collection through Amazon One raises serious questions about Amazon’s plans for this data and its respect for user privacy, including about how Amazon may use the data for advertising and tracking purposes.
Offering products from home devices to health services, Amazon possesses a tremendous amount of user data on the activities of hundreds of millions of Americans. Our concerns about user privacy are heightened by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party contractors and allegations that Amazon has violated biometric privacy laws. We are also concerned that Amazon may use data from Amazon One, including data from third-party customers that may purchase and use Amazon One devices, to further cement its competitive power and suppress competition across various markets.
Amazon One users may experience harms if their data is not kept secure. In contrast with biometric systems like Apple’s Face ID and Touch ID or Samsung Pass, which store biometric information on a user’s device, Amazon One reportedly uploads biometric information to the cloud, raising unique security risks. Like many companies, Amazon has been affected by hacks and vulnerabilities that have exposed sensitive information, such as user emails. Amazon’s various home device systems have leaked information or been hacked, as highlighted in a recent letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from 48 advocacy organizations. Company whistleblowers earlier this year also raised concerns about Amazon’s security practices. Data security is particularly important when it comes to immutable customer data, like palm prints.
In light of these issues, we respectfully ask that you provide written answers to the following questions by August 26, 2021:
Does Amazon have plans to expand Amazon One to additional Whole Foods, Amazon Go, and other Amazon store locations, and if so, on what timetable?
How many third-party customers has Amazon sold (or licensed) Amazon One to? What privacy protections are in place for those third parties and their customers?
How many users have signed up for Amazon One?
Please describe all the ways you use data collected through Amazon One, including from third-party customers. Do you plan to use data collected through Amazon One devices to personalize advertisements, offers, or product recommendations to users?
Is Amazon One user data, including the Amazon One ID, ever paired with biometric data from facial recognition systems?
What information do you provide to consumers about how their data is being used? How will you ensure users understand and consent to Amazon One’s data collection, storage, and use practices when they link their Amazon One and Amazon account information?
What actions have you taken to ensure the security of user data collected through Amazon One?
Ensuring the security of user data and protecting consumer privacy are of the utmost concern. We look forward to your prompt responses.
Fingerprint Cards today announced that the company’s new biometric solution for the PC market is integrated in the power button of the Latitude 5000 and 7000 Series of laptops from Dell.
Thus far, Fingerprints has been awarded design wins with three of the world’s top five PC manufacturers. Consequently, the company expects to be able to announce further PC models in the near future, which feature Fingerprints’ new biometric PC solution.
“This product launch by Dell confirms the positive trend in demand for biometric authentication in consumer and enterprise PCs. Fingerprints is poised for continued growth in this segment, providing the perfect way to add convenient and secure authentication to PCs,” comments Ted Hansson, Senior VP Business Line Mobile at Fingerprints.
Fingerprints’ new solution for PCs interfaces with Windows Hello and is compliant with Microsoft Enhanced Sign-in (SecureBio), meeting both the biometrics and security requirements of Microsoft. It can be used in combination with a broad range of Fingerprints’ touch sensors, and its software is compatible with the Windows 10 operating system. The solution is tailored for use across a growing number of different form factors and use cases, including notebooks, 2-in-1 convertibles, and PC accessories. Fingerprints’ portfolio of compatible touch sensors is available in various shapes, coatings and customizable colors to support different designs and placements.
Onfido, a global identity verification and authentication provider, together with INTERPOL, the world’s largest police organisation, delivered training to U.S. border control and immigration officers in the latest document examination techniques to help enhance border security checks.
As part of the training, instructors from Onfido and INTERPOL’s Counterfeit Currency and Security Documents (CCSD) unit delivered a three-day, virtual document security examination training course to officers from New York’s JFK and Newark International airports.
Course participants were trained on the latest security features embedded in official government identity documents and provided practical exercises for identifying fraudulent documents including counterfeits, forgeries and fraudulently obtained documents.
The use of INTERPOL global policing capabilities was also high on the agenda, including:
Its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database, which holds some 100 million records on a range of documents such as passports, identity cards and visa stamps
Edison (Electronic Documentation and Information System on Investigation Networks), which provides examples of genuine travel documents, in order to help identify fakes
The Digital INTERPOL Alert Library – Document (Dial-Doc), which allows countries to issue global alerts based on newly detected forms of document counterfeiting
“I was honored to welcome the 30 Customs and Border Protection officers from the New York and New Jersey areas to this vital three-day training event,” said the Director of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (USNCB) in Washington DC. “This rigorous and critical training is the result of a successful collaboration between the USNCB, Customers and Border Protection and INTERPOL that will enhance the ability of border officers to recognize counterfeit security and travel documents.”
Michael Van Gestel, Onfido’s Global Head of Fraud, emphasised the importance of the continued partnership with INTERPOL: “Following the success of the training in 2019, we continue our partnership with INTERPOL to share further training on the latest developments in the field of document authenticity verification. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved from a physical to an online training format. However, this only highlights the same shift that criminals have experienced over the last year or so. Never before has there been such a focus on online attack vectors, and as criminals continue to innovate, this underscores the importance of unifying our knowledge of both 3D and 2D identity document authentication and to share this unique knowledge in training courses such as this one.”
CCSD Coordinator, Daniela Djidrovska said: “Document verification is crucial to ensure that documents are both genuine and belong to the rightful holder. While the examination of identity documents is increasingly being taken over by artificial intelligence, travel documents are designed to be verified by trained personnel using sophisticated forensic document equipment. This joint CCSD-Onfido virtual training provided a vital opportunity to review best practices in the face of the continuous evolution of ID document fraud.”