Yoti’s BIPA Case, Terrorist Biometrics on eBay, and More: Identity News Digest

Happy New Year and welcome to FindBiometrics’ digest of identity industry news. Here’s what you need to know about the world of digital identity and biometrics today:

Yoti Wants a Jury Trial for its BIPA Case

Yoti, a prominent provider of biometric onboarding services, is facing a proposed class action lawsuit under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), for allegedly failing to obtain consent and provide the proper disclosures in its collection and use of biometric data. The UK-based company has taken pains to position itself as a particular privacy-conscious biometrics specialist, and is evidently confident in its image; it has requested a jury trial for the lawsuit.

An eBay Steal: $68 for a Trove of Biometric Data

A researcher affiliated with the European hacker group Chaos Computer Club claims that a military biometric device ordered online through eBay came with the data of thousands of individuals from Afghanistan and Iraq. The researchers, Matthias Marx, says he paid $68 for the Secure Electronic Enrollment Kit, or SEEK II, a device that had been used by the US military a decade ago in Afghanistan to register the fingerprint and iris biometrics of individuals including terrorists and government contractors. A Defense Department spokesman has responded, saying that the authenticity of the claim cannot be confirmed until the Department is given an opportunity to review the information.

Serbian Legislators Mull Expansive Police Powers

Legislators in Serbia have been working on a new bill that would give police extensive search and surveillance powers that critics characterize as authoritarian. The bill would legalize the police use of facial recognition, and would permit police to search people’s homes without a warrant and to use force against peaceful protestors if they are deemed a threat to ‘general security’.

MNO Raises Concerns With Needless Biometrics Collection

The Namibian mobile operator MTC has raised concerns with reports that the company had been collecting customers’ fingerprint and face biometrics ahead of the January 1, 2023 deadline to register customers’ information and link it to their SIM cards. Legislation requiring the SIM registration made no mention of a need to collect biometric data.

Movano Announces Biometric Ring for Ladies

California-based Movano Health has unveiled a new biometric ring designed specifically for use by women. Like other biometric wearables such as the Oura ring, it can track metrics related to heart rate and SpO2. It can also track ovulation and menstrual cycles, delivering data through a connected mobile app. Movano will demo the device at CES and plans to launch it sometime this year.

New Smart Home Solutions Feature Biometric Tech

Home security specialist Securam has announced a new smart lock featuring an embedded fingerprint scanner as well as support for voice control via Alexa or Google Home. The EOS Wi-Fi Smart Lock will be debuted alongside Securam’s new Wi-Fi Security Switch and its Safe Monitor device at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Abode, another smart home security company, has developed a new smart doorbell with integrated facial recognition, care of Xailient. The Abode Wireless Video Doorbell uses the latter’s Orchestrait solution to attempt to identify visitors. In announcing their collaboration, the companies emphasized that Orchestrait is designed to process biometric data locally, on a given smart home or edge device, and can therefore maintain compliance, they said, with various privacy laws such as GDPR.

Gait Betrays Abaya-Clad Burglar

Police in Dubai have reportedly been using gait recognition, alongside other biometrics, to identify criminal suspects who have concealed their faces when caught in CCTV footage. One such suspect, a man, had dressed himself in a woman’s full-length abaya and niqab face covering before breaking into an apartment and stealing over $3 million, reports the Khaleej Times.