Worldcoin May Have a Biometric Data Black Market Problem

Worldcoin, the digital identity and financial services crypto project that verifies people by scanning their irises, has found itself amid controversy after reports alleging that fraudsters are buying iris scans from the black market to register on the platform.

The project, which is headed by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is currently preparing to launch and has been registering users across the world with the help of its physical imaging device called the Orb. The project aims to give everyone on the planet some of its Worldcoin crypto token after registration while their accounts are anonymized.

The lure of free crypto that may be exchanged for real money in the future seems to have been too strong for some people. According to Chinese blockchain-focused outlet Blockbeat, fraudsters have been offering iris scans from Know Your Customer (KYC) merchants in Cambodia for less than $30. Other iris scan may come from African countries such as Kenya.

Blockbeat did not clarify whether the back market iris scans were genuine or whether they were successfully used for registration for Worldcoin.

In response to Gizmodo, Worldcoin said that the platform did not have an issue with iris scans on the black market but it did detect several hundred cases of fraud involving its digital passport World ID, the verification protocol used to determine real identities. The World IDs are being sent to a third-party World app on the black market. The company claims it has taken steps to increase security and create a new recovery process for users’ World ID.

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Consumer Group Warns Smartphone Facial Recognition Apps Are Vulnerable to Spoofing

Smartphone face biometrics from many leading brands are vulnerable to spoof attacks with 2D photographs, according to a new report from UK-based consumer testing and review group Which?, according to Yahoo Finance UK.

The group says the vulnerability is “unacceptable,” and has “worrying implications” for user’s security.

On-device biometrics are used for device unlocking and local authentication, while KYC processes for customer onboarding and strong remote identity verification is typically carried out with server-side biometrics and other signals, with a layer of liveness or presentation attack detection.

The phones tested include Honor, Motorola, Nokia, Oppo, Samsung, Vivo and Xiaomi handsets. Apple’s 3D FaceID biometrics were not fooled by the photos. The devices tested range in price from £89.99 to nearly £1,000 (approximately US$112 to $1,244), but the majority of phones that failed the test are lower-cost or mid-range models.

Out of 48 new smartphone models tested, 60 percent were not vulnerable to spoofing with a photograph.

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Facial Recognition Shows Up in Public Housing, Small Cities

The race to make biometric surveillance commonplace is only getting faster, with systems going up in public housing and municipalities far from city crime.

With the growth comes a mission that residents worldwide have often been told is off the table, that of the all-seeing, always analyzing sentinel that never stops recording what happens in the community.

The issue is again in the news, this time following a lengthy article in The Washington Post reporting on facial recognition systems being used in United States public housing.

Also, Context, a Thomson Reuters Foundation analytical publication, has shown how surveillance vendors are selling smaller cities on big-city facial recognition systems – and how residents are being cajoled into linking their own cameras to police networks.

Post reporters said they found six public housing centers whose boards have purchased surveillance cameras and computer servers. Some of those on the list also use biometric surveillance algorithms.

They were the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing, Omaha Housing, Scott County (Virginia) Redevelopment & Housing, Jefferson County (Ohio) Housing and Grand Rapids (Michigan) Housing agencies.

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First Smart Gun With Fingerprint Unlocking Hits The Market

The first so-called “smart gun” that uses biometrics to unlock for shooting will hit the market at the end of the year.

Biofire Technologies announced this month that it is taking pre-orders for its home defense gun that is intended to prevent unwanted access to children and criminals. This is either a big step forward in gun safety or a gimmick with unreliable technology, depending on who you ask.

Smart guns, otherwise known as personalized handguns, have been in development for many years. The CEO and Founder of Biofire Technologies, Kai Kloepfer, told The Epoch Times in an interview that this is the first “major innovation in how a handgun has been designed or manufactured in 50 years.”

Kloepfer, 26, has been working on designing a smart gun since he was a teenager. “This is a new option for gun owners to give them peace of mind that their children or criminals won’t get their hands on it.”

The Biofire Smart Gun is a handgun that can be stored with fingerprints and 3D facial recognition to unlock it to shoot. The company says unlocking works in the dark. The data is stored in the gun in encrypted form. The gun can have biometrics for up to five total authorized users.

The Biofire gun has integrated infrared sensors in the grip to keep it armed while the user is holding it. As soon as the grip is released, the gun locks. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that Biofire says lasts several months with average use and can fire continuously for several hours. The firearm only comes in 9mm caliber, but buyers are given multiple choices for color and style and left- or right-handed

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Colorado school district to introduce biometric scans of kids for free school meal access

The Poudre School District, in Colorado, will be piloting a controversial biometrics program to make the distribution of free lunches more “efficient.”

The pilot program will launch by May 25, 2023 in elementary, middle, and high schools, if it doesn’t go contested.

According to the school district, the biometric scans would take around two seconds. The program will use identiMetrics scanners, which will replace the current system where students have to enter their ID number on a keyboard to access their free school meal.

The fingerprints will be stored locally by the school district.

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Giving up biometrics at US airports soon won’t be optional, transport security chief says

The chief of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) David Pekoske said that the agency is considering biometric technology to reduce traveler processing times and reduce the number of screening officers. He made the comments at the South by Southwest conference, which focused on aviation security.

Pekoske noted that the TSA’s role is maintaining security and the transportation system and staying ahead of threats. For those reasons, it is “critically important that this system has as little friction as it possibly can, while we provide for safety and security.”

The TSA has been relying on biometric technology in the identification verification process. According to the agency, the newest technology it has been using is over 99% effective and does not have problems identifying darker-skinned people like the old technology.

“We’re upgrading our camera systems all the time, upgrading our lighting systems,” Pekoske said. “[We’re] upgrading our algorithms, so that we are using the very most advanced algorithms and technology we possibly can.”

Pekoske said that the agency will ensure it remains transparent with the public about the data that is taken, what it is used for, and for how long it will be stored. For now, he said that travelers can opt out of processes they are not comfortable with.

According to The Dallas Morning News, giving up biometric data for travel will eventually not be optional.

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US Military Group Wants Weaponized Deepfakes, Better Biometric Tools

At least some in the U.S. military have heard enough about deepfakes and they want in.

Investigative-news publisher The Intercept has got hold of a lengthy technology wish list that its editors feel was created by the U.S. Special Operations Command. Two items in the document are biometric in nature.

The command, most often referred to as SOCOM, performs the United States’ most secret and daring military missions. And officers want to add the ability to create and deploy deepfakes against those outside the country.

They also want to better their game when it comes to biometrically identify individuals using, among other techniques, touchless fingerprint capture over long distances and in all environments. Officials also want rapid handheld DNA collection gear. This can be found in the document above under Biometrics.

In all cases, SOCOM wants to cut false positives and the ability to compare scanned biometrics against watch lists on handheld devices or remote databases. Those handhelds will need to perform all common biometric analyses, including DNA comparisons.

But the showstopper is the unit’s deepfake ambitions (at Military Information Support Operations in the document). The leaders of many advanced economies, including various agency heads in the United States, have publicly stated their wariness of deepfakes.

(Three years ago, a NATO panel about deepfakes dismissed concerns about deepfakes. Even last year, there were those telling people not to worry.)

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Face Biometrics Getting Deeper into Policing, Sparking Concerns

Those worried about the use of facial recognition by law enforcement have warned about how the technology could become entrenched in bureaucracies, growing in use and getting harder to question from outside governments.

A trio of recent reports, from Germany, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom seem to bear that out.

In Germany, a civil rights activist, Matthias Monroy, writing in his own blog, says a facial recognition system used to identify unknown people has grown “dramatically” from 2021 to 2022.

The database reportedly belongs to Germany’s federal police. According to Monroy, it was searched about 7,700 in 2022, compared to 6,100 times in 2021.

About 2,800 people were identified using the police’s algorithm last year, compared to 1,300 in 2021.

The advocate says that the Federal Ministry offered the information after being asked by a party in parliament. He also said that, according to the ministry, the same data has not been received from German states.

The images are gathered from CCTV cameras and from phones used by police to record the faces of suspects of crimes. Asylum seekers are in the same database.

Reportedly, the number of facial images in the police database grew by about 1.5 million last year compared to the previous year primarily because only 400,000 images were deleted.

If German police are starting to hold on to photos longer, they might be in good company.

Trade publication ComputerWeekly is reporting that some in the UK feel the government is adopting a biometrics “culture of retention.”

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Local Farmer Sounds the Alarm: Why Did East Palestine Launch ‘MyID’ Emergency Service to Surveil Biometrics 1 Week Before Ohio Train Derailment?

A man who lives nine miles away from where the Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in eastern Ohio reached out to The Gateway Pundit to sound the alarm on the bizarre coincidences that continue to pile up surrounding the incident.

Bob Moore, a 70-year-old farmer and longtime resident of East Palestine, initially ignored local news reports urging residents to sign up for “MyID” to receive a new biometric tracking device that provides first responders updates about an individual’s health conditions amid an emergency or “major disaster.”

But the suspicious timing of the government’s distribution of this health-monitoring digital ID, exactly a week before the disaster, warrants answers, Moore told TGP in an exclusive interview.

“It was exactly a week before the derailment happened,” Moore said. “The people were asked to go to the local fire department in downtown East Palestine to get that MyID.

“They began monitoring your physical activity, your heart rate, your respiration, anything you might be exposed to. I see this as the kind of censor you would put on an astronaut or on an athlete that you wanted to track to see how he’d react to stress or being winded, or in this instance chemical exposure. It’s a monitoring device.”

Keep reading accused of exaggerating info to push for Digital ID

Controversies continue to plague the biometric identification firm, specifically around its government contracts in the US.

According to reports, after the big IRS privacy-related controversy earlier in 2022, it is now suspected that could have been feeding both the public and House committees with misleading information concerning the level of fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims.

In addition, instead of making sure it was easier to detect fraud, and help those actually in need of help, the service used by 21 states the company provided may have been highly inefficient and therefore near useless – other than promoting the business itself, and the relevance of the biometric surveillance industry.

This is the gist of the allegations coming from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

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