ImageWare has been a major player in the business biometrics market for many years, gaining popularity in large part because of its GoVerifyID solution, which supports multiple authentication factors, including facial, fingerprint, palm and voice recognition. And while that platform delivered some exciting news from ImageWare last September when the company announced that it had integrated into the ForgeRock Trust Network Technology Platform, ImageWare had even more important news before this year's RSA 2019 conference, announcing the new ImageWare digital identity platform.
Naturally, that's where the conversation started in a new interview between the Managing Editor of FindBiometrics, Peter Counter and The Technical Director and Vice President of ImageWare, David Harding, who explained how the digital identity platform fits the product line of your company. Harding continued to discuss the importance of multimodality in today's security environment, ImageWare's efforts to establish its strong network of partners, the growing market for health biometrics and what we can expect from ImageWare in the future.
Read our full interview with David Harding, Director of Technology at ImageWare Systems:
Peter Counter, managing editor, Mobile ID World: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today, David, it's always a pleasure to talk to ImageWare. ImageWare recently introduced ImageWare's digital identity platform, what makes this new solution stand out in the biometric market and how does it fit in with the rest of the ImageWare product line?
David Harding, vice president and technical systems director at ImageWare: First of all, Peter, thanks for receiving me. The ImageWare digital identity platform combines the strongest identity testing capabilities with the broadest and most complete set of multifactor and biometric authentication methods. At ImageWare, we have always had a robust platform and a robust suite of products for two-factor, multi-factor identity authentication, as well as full identification capabilities. But now, with the complete integration of all these products, all the factors of proof of identity and authentication are combined in a cohesive product set. This allows our clients to create and manage digital and biometric identities using government-issued and completely revised documents, reliable biometric authentication and a fully managed digital identity lifecycle.
Then, ImageWare's digital identity platform affirms our long history as a pioneer, innovator and industry leader in the field of biometric identity management. In our recent launch, we presented our new mantra that organizations put identity at the center of their security strategy. Our brand statement, "Identity is the new perimeter," reinforces our strategic differentiation of our competitors' security approach.
Mobile ID World: we are seeing a growing interest in biometrics in the business space. The digital identity platform that was announced in RSA fits that. The high-profile data breaches and the way we work has changed, with the rise of the shared economy, the remote contract workers, which has really made proof of identity and authentication an important aspect of the discussion business How does the ImageWare digital identity platform fit into this new modern workplace?
ImageWare: That is a good question. To answer, let me highlight some of our key strengths in that area:
One: we can use any type of authentication device: mobile devices, desktop computers, laptops, physical access control devices, anything.
Two: we integrate not only in the final point, but also in the source of authentication of the company. Many products try to sit at the end of what they define as the perimeter, which is known in the industry as the "Whack-a-Mole" security approach. Instead, we integrate into the authentication source. For example, Windows Active Directory covers more than 80 percent of business authentication. We are integrated directly into Windows Active Directory for two-factor, multi-factor biometric authentication. We do the same with Linux, IBM ISAM, ForgeRock, CA SSO, SAP HANA and more.
This centralized authentication capability resolves the "Whack-a-Mole" approach and, instead, provides a 360 degree identity authentication capability because the identity is the perimeter. It is not a desktop, laptop or mobile device.
Three: we are verifying the identity before registration. This ensures that the registered identity is the identity in question. We provide an option for users to capture an image of their driver's license, passport or other identification card and take a selfie as part of a seamless integration process. Our technology validates the authenticity of the identification card and biometrically combines the photo with a live selfie to ensure the user is who they say they are. Our robust identity testing platform is compatible with more than 500 ID cards issued by the government, and can verify with more than 100 identity service providers for additional validation as desired for industry-specific use cases.
Mobile ID World: I really love how "Identity is the new perimeter" is evident in its platform. Because of how the workplace has changed, everything is focused on mobility and there is nothing really more mobile than your identity, and now it is just an extension of the company.
Continuing with something that was mentioned in the last answer about multimodality: biometric technology has been adopted by the main consumers and not only the fingerprint recognition as it was five years ago, but the biometrics of voice, face and iris are very familiar to the average user. What effect has this public acceptance of multimodal biometrics have on the industries ImageWare serves?
ImageWare: At ImageWare we have always believed that the adoption of multiple biometrics was inevitable because no biometrics satisfies all authentication needs. For many years I have said that biometric authentication will only be successful if it is situational, environmental and personal. These are the three criteria that any biometric or biometric data set must meet.
Let's break it down and start with the situation. "Situational" means that the biometrics or biometrics used must satisfy the situational need. In other words, that type of biometric authentication must satisfy the security requirements presented. Are you logging into your network, are you making a financial transaction, are you accessing your health care information? Does the requirement for security for supply access really meet that biometric requirement?
"Environment" means that biometrics must work for the current environment in which the person is located. Is it too dark? Then the face may not work. It is too noisy? Then the voice will probably have problems. Can the person use the biometrics that is requested?
And, finally, "personal". Will that biometric or biometric work for the individual? Is there an aversion to the use of biometrics? A good example is a study that was conducted a few years ago regarding authentication with someone's face. They determined that some people do not like being photographed early in the morning. In that case, facial authentication is not a good option at certain times of the day for certain people. Many people do not like to use voice authentication in public; They feel that it attracts unnecessary attention to themselves. And the fingerprint that you mentioned, which is the grandmother of consumer biometrics, has some inherent problems. Approximately 30 percent of the population does not have an easily readable or readable fingerprint. There are several reasons for this that include what you do for a living, your hobbies, even your genetics. Personally, I am one of those 30 percent due to two of those factors: genetics and I have been a musician for over thirty years and, literally, I have worn out the limits of several of my fingertips.
To successfully implement a biometric authentication solution, it has to be multimodal. That is the only way to achieve the maximum coverage and adoption of the population.
Mobile ID World: I really like that idea of a nuanced biometric for each situation, especially because of how the work has changed, but also from the perspective of a consumer device. I live in Canada and it's too cold not to wear gloves outside for much of the year, so I can not use my fingerprint sensor without running the risk of freezing. But also, in laboratory situations where you wear gloves, you wear glasses, it makes a lot of sense to have that choice factor, so I think that's really cool.
He also previously mentioned some of ImageWare's partners and has a really impressive network of partners that includes big names like Fujitsu, IBM, Verizon, ForgeRock, among others. What makes a robust partner network so important in today's biometric landscape?
ImageWare: It took a lot of work for several years to unite our network of partners. The companies you mentioned are leaders in scalable identity management. However, they are not leaders in scalable multimodal biometric platforms that can support hundreds of millions of identities through multiple biometric modalities. Therefore, the associations that we have cultivated are very symbiotic and complementary. Not only do we provide a proven and award-winning turnkey authentication platform solution, we have also integrated that platform seamlessly into our partner's identity management solutions. It is the best of both worlds. We have partners with a massive global reach and customers, while we offer the ability to authenticate identities anywhere and anytime using a multifactor and two factor options.
Our competitors often make similar promises. However, they do not provide the scalability or depth of capacity and features based on the depth of our multimodal intellectual property and multiple patented technology. That's why our associations are so good.
Together it is a win-win for everyone, but especially for the client.
Mobile ID World: Fantastic. Moving on to another great trend of 2019, health has been the big market in everyone's mind when it comes to biometrics. In a way, we see it in Mobile ID World as in the initial stages of a five-year boom such as mobility in 2013. ImageWare is already established in healthcare and is considered a pioneer in taking biometrics to that space . How has the market for medical care biometrics changed in recent years and what do you think is driving this new interest?
ImageWare: Health data is significantly more valuable than most banking information. If your credit card is stolen or your bank account is compromised, it is a relatively quick solution. The banks have adapted and can issue you a new card, change your account number and even resolve any losses incurred.
The health data are different. It's not just about hackers looking for money. We have witnessed adverse national states that attack other nations and steal health records of their populations. We have even had to happen here in the United States. That's why identity authentication has never been more critical to protect private health care information. Unlike financial data, personal health information is extremely personal, sensitive and does not change. It is surprising that the vast majority of health records are protected by PINs and passwords, which have an error rate of 81 percent. That is equivalent to trying to secure your home with all your valuables and loved ones with a lock that fails 80 percent of the time. In these terms, it is easy to see why the healthcare industry is moving towards multimodal biometric authentication to ensure this type of highly confidential and personal information.
Until then, ImageWare Systems recently announced that a leading global financial and payment technology provider has selected our GoVerifyID biometric authentication solution. Congress approved on 21S t The Century Cures Act in 2016 that requires states to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) for all Medicaid personal care and all health services after 2020.
This technology provider is incorporating GoVerifyID SDK from ImageWare into its existing electronic visit verification (EVV) solution, which is used by major health care agencies in the United States. These health care agencies will use ImageWare's biometric authentication service to identify the social worker's visit and to confirm that the client received prescribed health services at home.
This combined solution will not only improve our clients' enhanced due diligence compliance, but also reduce costs and minimize the risk of fraud, while improving the overall efficiency of home-based and community-based services.
Therefore, we see medical care as you do, a rapidly expanding market for multimodal biometrics.
Mobile ID World: Congratulations on the news, that's very exciting. You mentioned that there is a huge cost, but health care is also fascinating, because it also has a real component of improving public health. One issue I'm really interested in is how biometrics can be used in medical care to combat the current opioid crisis, and ImageWare is one of the only biometrics players who take a proactive stance in this area, as demonstrated his recent partnership with Gatekeeper Innovation. How does ImageWare and Gatekeeper help mitigate the opioid crisis?
ImageWare: These powerful drugs are necessary in certain cases. In early 2000, health care providers began prescribing them at higher rates, which resulted in the current national opioid addiction crisis. Many of us know people who have been directly affected and the cost that this still has. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that More than 47,000 Americans died in 2017. and more than 130 die every day from opioid overdoses.
By using multimodal biometrics, patients and healthcare providers can authenticate before they have access to these powerful medications.
Mobile ID World: I think it's a really noble application of biometric technology, so it's really great to see ImageWare working on that proactively.
Taking a wider picture of everything, and we've already addressed some of this, but what are some of the highlights of ImageWare 2019 so far?
ImageWare: Well, 2019 is becoming an exciting year, and what can you expect to see from us? More and better: more partners, more integrations, more biometric options, more two-factor capabilities and multiple factors, new platform improvements that include greater scalability and efficiency, and most importantly, more success.
At ImageWare, we continue inventing, innovating and delivering. It is what distinguishes us clearly in this competitive landscape. We are proud of more than 22 patents worldwide and more than 25 pending.
One final note: stronger passwords do not work. We have seen how they fail. Even two-factor authentication by itself has significant vulnerabilities that can be exploited. We have all read the recent headlines regarding the Citrix 2FA violation. Equifax is considered the most catastrophic data breach in history. Well-known brands like Marriott, MyHeritage and Uber have been victims of data breaches, as have billions of their customers.
So, we must ask ourselves, do not we all have a social responsibility to provide a safe and protected world? At ImageWare, we believe we do it. Our continuous innovations, backed by more than 20 patents of biometric technology around the world, help make this a reality.
Mobile ID World: I can certainly say that we at Mobile ID World fully agree with you, David. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.