Veridium, a company working in identity access management solutions using biometrics as the primary authenticator, has been awarded a grant from the Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and field test biometric authentication technology on unmodified Android smartphones, improving the way populations in developing countries can access and enroll in financial and government programs.
With this grant, Veridium will roll out a pilot project in a developing region to allow fingerprint verification to be deployed instantly, anywhere, and with no marginal cost. Access to these types of services is pertinent for low-income and developing populations, as they often lack valid identity documents. The lack of dependable identification infrastructure creates an opening for additional issues, including fraudulent financial activities, money laundering and the diversion of government resources.
The grant is awarded by DFS Tech, an initiative supported by the Gates Foundation to engage scientists, researchers and engineers to solve the identity management challenges low income individuals and developing countries face by using biometrics. This project aims to further develop fingerprint capture technologies that are purely software based, robust to spoofing and can capture and verify fingerprints using only the sensors (i.e. camera) on an unmodified Android smartphone.
“We are excited to have been chosen by the Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab and the Gates Foundation to participate in this groundbreaking pilot program,” shared James Stickland, CEO, Veridium. “We look forward to being able to make a true and lasting impact on developing nations in their effort to enroll and authenticate individuals in financial and government programs.”
Veridium’s proprietary biometric solution, 4 Fingers TouchlessID, has the capabilities to help prevent these issues. 4 Fingers TouchlessID captures four fingerprints at once, contactlessly, using a phone’s rear camera and flash. Capturing four fingers instead of a single fingerprint makes it harder to spoof due to the complexity of the data collected. 4 Fingers TouchlessID doesn’t require any additional hardware or sensors and is ready to deploy within any custom app using Veridium’s SDK, which removes the need to deploy hardware peripherals or for individuals to buy new biometrically-enabled phones. Deploying new hardware entirely can be expensive, so 4 Fingers TouchlessID is especially critical for low-income populations and developing countries.
As part of the grant, Veridium is developing liveness detection to detect if fingerprints are real and not a photograph. The user will capture two pictures of their fingers, moving them slightly, and then a 3D model is created. Photographs will then be rejected, as the liveness detection will realize the person looking to authenticate is not who they say they are.
Veridium’s technology ensures the utmost privacy and security for end users. Veridium’s solutions are built using IEEE 2410, the Biometric Open Protocol Standard (BOPS), and with Visual Cryptography. Visual Cryptography is a form of encryption that uses a unique approach to break-up the biometric image into two or more different pieces, with the pixels randomly distributed between the mobile phone and server. Even if one of the systems is compromised, no useful information can be acquired.