IDEX Biometrics selected for digital currency solution

IDEX Biometrics selected for digital currency solution

 IDEX Biometrics ASA, a leading provider of advanced fingerprint identification and authentication solutions for card-based solutions, announced today that Union Smart Card Co., Ltd. (Union Smart), of Shenzhen, China, is utilizing the company’s fingerprint authentication solution to secure the Cold Wallet Visual Payment Card. Union Smart has developed this “cold wallet” card solution in collaboration with six major banks for use in implementation of China’s Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DC/EP) initiative.

Union Smart has leveraged its patented cold sealing card manufacturing technology to develop a payment card that includes Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, expanded storage, a display, and a keypad, in addition to IDEX Biometrics’ authentication solution. This innovative device represents a complete card-based solution for supporting payments using digital currency.

China has a stated goal to be the leading major economy to displace traditional, central bank backed hard currency with digital currency. To that end, China will be showcasing initial deployments of both card-based and phone-based digital wallets during the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022.

The Cold Wallet Visual Payment Card and similar cold wallet devices offer a secure and convenient alternative to mobile wallets on smartphones and will also bring digital currency solutions to the portion of the Chinese population without banking relationships or mobile phones. “The central bank intends to provide inclusive, easy-to-use, digital central bank currency for all people, and this product will be particularly effective in serving the needs of those in rural areas and underserved groups,” said Jiang Kai, Chief Executive Officer of Union Smart. “Our new Cold Wallet Visual Payment Card is the most complete and easy-to-use cold wallet solution available.”

Vince Graziani, Chief Executive Officer of IDEX Biometrics, stated, “IDEX Biometrics’ authentication solutions are the natural choice for card-based digital currency applications.  We are pleased to be partnered with Union Smart in the development of this device, which should expand secure and convenient access to the DC/EP initiative across China.”

CBP releases July 2021 operational update

CBP releases July 2021 operational update

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released operational statistics for July 2021, which can be viewed online here.

“In July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection played an important role in our nation’s ongoing economic rebound, facilitating a continued growth of legitimate travel and trade, while protecting consumers and our country’s agriculture. Commercial trucks this fiscal year are transiting through our ports of entry at higher numbers than they did in Fiscal Year 2019, while passenger vehicle, pedestrian travel, and air travel numbers are bouncing back from a comparable period in 2020 affected by the pandemic,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller.

“CBP continues to take necessary measures to safely manage the Southwest Border and protect the health of communities, personnel, and migrants themselves. The vast majority of single adults and many families continue to be expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 authority, and those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain are placed in expedited removal proceedings. CBP has also adapted to changing dynamics between ports of entry along the Southwest Border, continuing to take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by expelling roughly half of those encountered under CDC’s Title 42 public health authority.”

CBP Enforcement Numbers for July 2021

The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border.

  • The number of unique encounters in July 2021 was 154,288.
  • In total, there were 212,672 encounters along the Southwest Border, 27 percent of which involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14 percent for Fiscal Years 2014-2019.
  • A majority (52 percent) of encounters continue to be single adults, with 110,443 encounters in July, a 6 percent decrease from June.
  • 95,788 encounters, more than 45 percent of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42. 116,884 encounters were processed under Title 8.
    • 85,563 encounters involving single adults (78 percent) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 24,880 processed under Title 8.
    • 9,948 encounters involving family unit individuals (12 percent) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 73,018 processed under Title 8.
  • A total of 845,307 unique individuals have been encountered year-to-date during Fiscal Year 2021, compared to 796,400 during the same time period in Fiscal Year 2019.
  • So far in Fiscal Year 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents along the Southwest Border have placed more than 60,500 migrants who cannot be expelled under Title 42 in Expedited Removal proceedings.
  • To address recidivism, in July CBP began a Repeat Offender initiative, under which single adults who have previously been apprehended and deported under Title 8 are referred for prosecution.

Unaccompanied Children

  • Encounters of unaccompanied children increased 24 percent, with 18,962 encounters in July compared with 15,234 in June. In July, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 1,363 per day, compared with an average of 794 per day in June.

Family Unit individuals

  • Encounters of family unit individuals increased by 49 percent from 55,839 in June to 82,966 in July—still below the peak of 88,587 encounters in May 2019.  The number of encounters with family unit individuals so far this fiscal year (328,121) remains below the number of encounters at the same point in Fiscal Year 2019 (474,545).

International Travel and Trade

One of CBP’s core mission objectives is to enhance the nation’s economic prosperity, including through the facilitation of lawful trade and travel. CBP’s role is vital to America’s economic rebound from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. CBP continues to protect America’s national and economic security by facilitating legitimate trade while rigorously enforcing U.S. customs laws and regulations. While CBP’s trade and travel numbers have not entirely returned to pre-pandemic levels, they have increased significantly in recent months. For commercial trucks, CBP has processed a higher overall number so far this fiscal year compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2019.

Count

FY 2019
(Oct-Jul)

FY 2020
(Oct-Jul)

FY 2021
(Oct-Jul)

FY2020

Through COVID

(Mar-July)

FY2021
Through COVID

(Mar-July)

Mar-July
% Change

Air

111,564,028

59,258,802

32,766,956

7,609,285

21,323,445

180.23%

Passenger

Vehicles

82,219,857

60,351,021

47,332,904

19,974,086

25,471,141

27.52%

Pedestrians

42,205,647

29,486,806

20,614,785

8,213,295

11,094,272

35.08%

Commercial Trucks

10,014,998

9,379,173

10,379,183

4,484,521

5,366,545

19.67%

As international travel begins to rebound toward pre-pandemic levels, CBP also anticipates an increase in border wait times. To ensure a smooth, more efficient inspection process, travelers should:

  • Acquire a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) document and/or apply for a trusted traveler program.
  • Use the CBP OneTM mobile application, an intuitive single point of entry for travelers and stakeholders to access CBP mobile applications and services, including obtaining proof of their electronic I-94 form on their mobile device.

CBP encourages Visa Waiver Program travelers seeking to obtain an approved ESTA to take advantage of the time savings offered by using CBP OneTM or the CBP I-94 website. With an ESTA, these travelers can apply for their I-94 in advance of arrival and avoid filling out the Form I-94W at a port of entry.

Facial Biometrics

One of the most important ways that CBP is transforming international travel is through using facial biometrics to create a safe and seamless travel experience for all passengers. Through programs such as Simplified Arrival, CBP is using biometric facial comparison technology to meet the Congressional mandate while further securing and streamlining lawful travel. Please see more here.

  • To date, more than 88 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and seaports of entry.
  • Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 870 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.

Trade Stats/Seizures – Protecting the American Consumer

In Fiscal Year 2021 to date, CBP has processed approximately $2.3 trillion of imports, an increase of nearly 14 percent compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2020. CBP has also seized 63,200 shipments for trade violations in the current fiscal year. In July alone, CBP processed more than 3.2 million entry summaries valued at more than $248 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $8 billion to be collected by the U.S. government.  Trade via the ocean accounted for more than 40 percent of the total import value, followed by air, truck, and rail.

  • Intellectual property rights violations continue to put America’s innovation economy at risk. Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, the livelihoods of American workers, and the health and safety of consumers.
    • In July 2021, CBP seized 2,564 shipments that contained $395,533,125 million of counterfeit goods, including counterfeit Apple AirPods and auto parts, and critical personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders.

Forced Labor Enforcement

CBP continues to aggressively investigate and prevent goods made by forced labor from entering U.S. commerce.  Forced labor is a form of modern-day slavery that violates international labor standards and universal human rights.

  • CBP has issued seven Withhold Release Orders in Fiscal Year 2021 to protect American consumers and businesses from goods made by forced labor.  Those orders target cotton products and tomato products from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; silica-based products made by a company that operates in Xinjiang; palm oil from a Malaysian company; and tuna and other seafood harvested by a Chinese fishing fleet, a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel, and a Fijian-flagged fishing vessel.
  • In Fiscal Year 2021 to date, CBP has detained 967 shipments that contained approximately $367 million of goods suspected to be made by forced labor. The United States will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and stands against cruel and inhumane labor practices.

Drug Seizures

CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continue to interdict the flow of illicit narcotics across the border. Nationwide, drug seizures were up 10 percent in July, a reflection of CBP’s commitment to protecting the people and economy of the United States.  Seizures were as follows:

  • Cocaine seizures increased 91 percent;
  • Methamphetamine seizures increased 20 percent;
  • Heroin seizures decreased 17 percent;
  • Fentanyl seizures decreased 22 percent.

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics can be found here.

Agriculture Stats/Seizures – Securing American Agriculture

In July 2021, CBP agriculture specialists helped protect America’s agriculture, natural resources, and economic prosperity.

  • 5,699 emergency action notifications issued for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States.
  • 65,633 positive passenger inspections conducted, and 575 civil penalties and/or violations issued to the traveling public for failing to declare.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed African swine fever (ASF) in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic through an existing cooperative surveillance program.

In response, CBP’s officers and agriculture specialists took steps to prevent the introduction of the ASF virus into the United States by increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic and ensuring that garbage from these airplanes is properly disposed of.

Also last month, CBP’s Laredo Field Office confirmed three first-in-the-nation pest interdictions.

  • Cyclocephala forcipulata (a type of scarab beetle)
  • Alampyris fuliginea (a type of longhorn beetle)
  • Eburia nigrovittata (a type of longhorn beetle)

If introduced into the United States, these non-native pests could cause irreparable harm to American agriculture and the timber industry.

Heroic Acts

CBP officers and Border Patrol agents have displayed acts of heroism both at work and off duty.

  • Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents rescued approximately 30 individuals in the month of July. In Tucson, AZ, a Black Hawk crew hoist-extracted a man from the rugged terrain of the Baboquivari Mountains.
  • On July 19, 2021, an off-duty Border Patrol agent apprehended a man who was wielding a knife toward civilians in downtown San Diego.
  •  On July 25, 2021, an off-duty Border Patrol agent from the El Centro Sector successfully stopped a carjacking in progress in Westmorland, CA.
  • On July 31, 2021, an off-duty Border Patrol agent pulled a man from a burning vehicle before the vehicle exploded and was engulfed in flames.

CBP COVID-19 Response

The safety of our workforce, our communities, and individuals in our care is a top priority.  CBP personnel put themselves and their families at risk with every encounter with the public. Since the start of the pandemic:

  • More than 9,800 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 35 have passed away, two in the last month.

CBP continues to explore adjustments to workforce posture and health protocols based on widespread vaccine access and easing public health metrics:

  • CBP provides migrants who can’t be expelled under Title 42 or are awaiting processing with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody, and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times.
  • CBP works with appropriate agencies that facilitate testing, diagnosis, isolation, and treatment of migrants, including:
    • Local governments and non-governmental organizations for persons released from CBP custody;
    • DHS and ICE for testing of persons to be released from CBP custody, particularly in locations without local government or NGO testing capability; and,
    • HHS for testing of unaccompanied children.
  • DHS has developed a partnership model to test and isolate families who test positive for COVID-19, and reimburse 100 percent of the cost, provided that the state does not stand in the way.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.