The full potential of biometrics is yet to unfold. The public and private sectors drive its growing usage. In our increasingly connected world, biometrics is set as one of the key enablers of its digital transformation. Today, the biometric industry’s central focus is to protect our identity and improve security for all of us.
As the only form of biometrics that leaves a visible trace, our fingerprints were the first biometrics widely used for identity verification. Today, other biometrics such as face, iris, and DNA are commonly used as well. 2020 will see more and more solutions that offer multi-biometric identification. The combination of multiple types of biometrics enhances security and adds granularity. Depending on the nature of transaction or interaction, different levels of security might be needed. We can already unlock our smartphone with either our fingerprint or face, as this is a comparably less sensitive action. In contrast, mobile biometric devices using fingerprints and faces have, for example, been developed for law enforcement agencies, enabling officers to verify the identities of individuals while patrolling the streets. Another example is the national eID card in Nepal. Nepalese citizens can use their ID cards to interact with their bank, which is why both fingerprint and iris data are embedded into the card for maximum security. 2020 will see this trend growing.
Today, public and private sectors alike face the challenge of achieving two aims simultaneously:
Biometrics is the safest way to verify one’s identity. With the assistance of advanced technologies, the verification of identities with biometrics is fast and easy. However, due to their increased usage, biometric data becomes ever more exposed.
On top of this, the trend of storing data in the cloud increasingly includes even the most sensitive data. From startups to large multinationals, cloud computing has revolutionized the way many organizations store and interact with data. It facilitates easier data management, flow and sharing.
Biometric data is arguably one of the most sensitive types of data that one can get hold of. 2020 will be all about developing ways to provide extremely tight cyber security to protect biometric data – in the cloud or wherever it might be stored, processed or shared.
Three ways of securing data will ensure we can continue to benefit from convenient services and security at the same time, and feel confident in sharing our data:
With high performance levels in terms of speed and accuracy, it is no wonder that we will see a wide adoption of facial recognition technology in 2020. Already over the last few years, many use cases have demonstrated how this technology brings convenience and security. It is one of the least intrusive biometric identification methods because it requires little behavioral adaptation.
Today, facial recognition is already used to enable security and convenience. It is, for example, an important facilitator to manage the increasing number of travelers globally. In Europe, over 18 countries are using facial recognition, allowing 200 million passengers to cross borders using their face1. Banks have also started to deploy biometric-based systems, so users no longer need to visit branch offices when opening new bank accounts. They simply capture a picture of their ID and take a selfie. Liveness check functionalities permit the customer to prove who they are with a few movements of their head, ensuring a photo or video of them is not used to impersonate them2.
As facial recognition continues to be widely implemented, what are some of the new use cases we should expect to see in 2020?
Facial recognition technology offers significant problem-solving potential for both security- and convenience-related use cases. Yet as its use is based on monitoring people’s movements, this specific type of biometric data is particularly personal. Citizens have to keep control of their biometric data. They need to know how their data is used, how long it is saved and for what reason. To address unease, 2019 has already seen several attempts to develop regulatory and, arguably more importantly, ethical frameworks that define the way facial recognition technology should be used. IDEMIA expects this trend to grow in 2020, with national initiatives being escalated to a continental or even global level. As a leading provider in the industry, IDEMIA encourages the cooperation between governments, the private sector and providers of the technology to define a framework that allows all stakeholders and end-users to benefit from this technology while addressing the public’s concerns.
1 Secure Identity Alliance 2019: Biometrics in identity: Building inclusive futures and protecting civil liberties