CEPA: Russian taking control of citizens’ biometric data

CEPA: Russian taking control of citizens’ biometric data

European policy think-tank the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) has warned that Russia’s government has seized control of biometric data belonging to the country’s citizens.

CEPA wrote in a blog post that the Kremlin had assigned “state system” status to the country’s uniform biometric database (UBS). The system aims to confirm identity in online banking and primarily consisted of bank clients’ facial images and voice samples.

The organisation said that now that the country’s primary biometric database is fully under government control, the authorities can seek to corral people into handing over their data, expand the types and uses of such data, as well as filter out and take over commercial databases.

CEPA noted that in November, President Vladimir Putin said that only the state should have full “responsibility for biometric data collection” to ensure its security, and that it should also regulate access by third parties.

Only a month later, parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Information that did just that. UBS was declared a “state system,” giving the government full control, including regulating access to it, while Rostelecom remains its operator. The Digital Development Ministry is working to transfer commercial biometric databases to the UBS.

CBP adds Simplified Arrival at Denver International Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in partnership with the Denver’s Department of Aviation, announced today the implementation of the Simplified Arrival process at Denver International Airport (DEN). CBP’s enhanced international arrival process uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States.As part of our innovation efforts, Simplified Arrival provides travelers with a touchless identity verification process that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.’We are excited to be rolling out CBP’s Simplified Arrival process in Denver,’ said Richard F. Di Nucci, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Francisco. ‘The combination of skilled CBP officers and the use of advanced biometric technology provides travelers with a secure, efficient, and touchless arrival process and enhances the customer experience.’ Simplified Arrival only uses the biometric facial comparison process at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document.When travelers arrive at DEN on an international flight, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. (this should be one paragraph). CBP’s biometric facial comparison process will compare the new photo of the traveler to a small gallery of high-quality images that the traveler has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the U.S. previously may no longer need to provide fingerprints as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial comparison process.Simplified Arrival pairs one of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms (as assessed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) with trained CBP officers who are skilled at verifying the authenticity of travel documents. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.U.S. citizens or those foreign travelers who are not required to provide biometrics who wish to opt out of the new biometric process may notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. These travelers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by a CBP officer and they will be processed consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. New photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system. CBP and its air travel partners are expanding the use of facial biometrics through public-private partnerships to not only fulfill the Congressional security mandate, but also to further secure and enhance touchless travel wherever identity verification is required for international travel.To date, more than 76 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 700 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.

AnyVision to NIST: Companies must purge demographic bias

AnyVision,a leading Recognition AI company, has released an open letter in response to an invitation for public comment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The letter is intended to stimulate discussion around public trust in AI and facial recognition technology.As part of the vital public debate around artificial intelligence, NIST has recently released a document outlining a list of factors that contribute to an individual’s potential trust in AI platforms and apps. The NIST document shows how an individual or organization should consider the factors based on the task and the risk involved in trusting the decision of an AI system and contributes to NIST’s efforts to advance the development of trustworthy AI tools.AnyVision is the first known entity from within the AI industry to address the initiative and respond to NIST in an open letter entitled: "Purging Demographic Bias While Increasing Transparency in Facial Recognition." In the open letter, AnyVision CEO, Avi Golan, issues a call to action for NIST to apply a similar logic to the trusted use of facial recognition technology.AnyVision is a world-leading visual AI platform company that organizations across the globe use to create trusted, seamless experiences in their physical spaces, primarily through the use of face and object recognition technology. In March, AnyVision was ranked among the top solutions in the world and achieved top rankings across all five categories in the Face Recognition Vendor Test conducted by NIST.In the open letter, Golan points out: "Understanding the use case and the criticality of the decisions made by the AI algorithms impact how much trust users should place with the AI systems. If the AI is being used to make a music or movie recommendation based on historical preferences, it’s not critical if the AI arrives at the wrong conclusion. However, if AI is being used to make a cancer diagnosis then that’s another matter. These are the types of nuanced distinctions that are critical as opposed to making broad, sweeping generalizations about the use of facial recognition."In April the European Commission announced regulations on the use of AI including strict safeguards on recruitment, critical infrastructure, credit scoring, migration, and law enforcement algorithms. The EU further delineated risk into categories of unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk, and minimal risk. The regulations introduced additional clarity by recognizing the underlying differences in the use cases in which AI is being applied.According to Golan, "These are steps in the right direction in understanding and categorizing AI. It’s largely understood that AI is providing significant benefits including improved speed, accuracy, cost savings, fraud detection, medical diagnoses, and customer experience. At the same time, it’s vital to address its historical weaknesses. Consequently, AI companies must continue to purge demographic bias from their algorithms and be transparent about their methodology and the training data used to develop their models. Unfortunately, this level of nuance is missing from most discussions today related to facial recognition.’AnyVision’s open letter calls upon NIST to help define and shape the discussion around the responsible use of facial recognition and video surveillance by drafting similar guidelines as they’ve done for the use of AI.Last year AnyVision conducted the Fair Facial Recognition Challenge and invited teams from the AI industry and academia to participate and test whether their algorithms are racially biased. The results of the top 10 teams proved that racial bias can be significantly reduced or totally eliminated by training facial recognition algorithms on a wide range of video and still images of people of different races, genders, and ages. The challenge demonstrated that current AI-based facial recognition systems have dramatically improved in the last couple of years and can achieve unprecedented accuracy in these kinds of scenarios.Golan further remarks, "AnyVision is willing to share its industry insights and best practices from our vast research experience with leading global players, including name-brand retailers, global hospitality and entertainment companies, and law enforcement agencies from around the world. Moreover, AnyVision welcomes the opportunity to work with NIST, as well as thought leaders from academia and NGOs, to help draft these guidelines and best practices."