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Border facial biometric

A biometric facial verification product company has become the first British – and overseas – firm to be awarded a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). The contract has been awarded to iProov for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) passenger entry at unmanned ports of entries.

London-based iProov was founded in 2011 by CEO Andrew Bud. The company’s facial biometric, patented in the US and UK, is used by banks and governments for customer onboarding, log-on and authentication.

iProov’s Flashmark product, deployed in its cloud-based facial biometric verification, can be accessed via a user’s mobile phone. In this case, iProov will work with CBP systems, on which travellers’ details are pre-registered. In the run up to arrival at the US border, at home or en route, travellers would be able to self-serve the document check that normally happens at the point of border crossing, by authenticating themselves to their pre-registered photo, via their mobile phone.

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for the UK Department for International Trade, said: “The UK and US are world leaders in cyber security. Through close cooperation across various sectors, trade between the two countries has grown to £181.2 billion pounds in 2017 – making the US our largest trading partner and biggest export market. One example of our shared economic and security ties is UK based iProov technology, which uses cutting-edge facial biometric verification technology to enhance security and deter those who seek to cause harm. It is now used by a range of institutions across the world and will soon be used by the US Customs and Border Protection, helping to enhance the way it processes people through US borders.”

iProov points to its ability to detect ‘spoofs’. In self-serve identity verification, the system must be able to confirm whether or not the person presenting themselves for verification is genuinely the owner of the ID credential, not a photo, screen image or doctored video. iProov has ten granted patents in the UK and US for technology that can detect these spoofs.

The DHS S&T Directorate’s SVIP sought partners to help tackle the cross-border passenger entry operation process. Over 112 million passengers enter the United States annually and over one million attempt to pass through its borders each day.

iProov’s CEO, Andrew Bud, was speaking about the contract win while part of a UK trade delegation with the UK’s Department for International Trade to the cyber security conference RSA in San Francisco. He said: “Advances in machine learning and AI have enabled a revolution in facial biometrics in the last few years and we’re now seeing more and more cases of governments and banks turning to self-service, spoof-resilient face verification as the biometric of choice to both increase security and ensure ease of use.”

The company won the 2017 National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Dragon’s Den competition at CYBERUK 2017; it has received a number of grants from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency; and in September 2017 was named the sole UK member of the SINET16, a select group of cyber-security innovators. In the financial services sector its technology is in live use with banks such as DNB in Norway and Rabobank in the Netherlands.


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