16 April 2018
iProov, a leading provider of biometric facial verification technology, today announced it has become the first British – and indeed overseas – company to be awarded a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).
The contract has been awarded to iProov to help US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) improve the passenger entry operation process.
London-based iProov was launched in 2013 by CEO Andrew Bud. The company’s facial biometric technology, patented in the US and UK, is used by banks and governments around the world for secure customer onboarding, logon and authentication, to ensure new and returning users are genuine and guard against fraudulent attempts to gain access to personal data or use a stolen identity.
The contract iProov has won will see the company develop technology that aims to enhance cross-border passenger travel at unmanned ports of entries while reducing processing time. It could help US CBP quickly, accurately and reliably identify travellers as they process through US border crossings.
At the heart of this announcement is iProov’s Flashmark technology, deployed in its secure, cloud-based facial biometric verification system that can be accessed via a user’s mobile phone. In this case, iProov’s technology will work with existing CBP systems, on which travellers’ details are pre-registered. In the run up to arrival at the US border, whether 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 securely to their pre-registered photo, via their mobile phone. The process is simple, much quicker than waiting in line, and more secure than traditional methods.
Dr. Liam Fox, Secretary of State for the UK Department for International Trade, commented, “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.”
The reason iProov was selected comes down to its ability to detect ‘spoofs’. In a self-serve identity verification environment, 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 the technology that can detect these spoofs, and in this way is uniquely able to help governments tackle the pressure they are under from increased traveller numbers to swiftly but securely verify each and every traveller.
It is this growth in international travel which led the DHS S&T Directorate’s SVIP to look for partners to help tackle the cross-border passenger entry operation process. Over 112 million passengers enter the United States annually and over 1 million attempt to pass through its borders each day, increasing the pressure on Customs and Border Protection to facilitate the entry of international visitors, increase tourism and foster economic growth while ensuring the highest level of security.
iProov’s CEO, Andrew Bud, who will be speaking about the contract win while part of a UK trade delegation with the UK’s Department for International Trade to global cyber security conference RSA in San Francisco, commented, “We are delighted that iProov has been selected by the US Department of Homeland Security to enhance the way in which it processes people through US borders. 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.”
This is not the first time iProov has been recognised for its industry leading identity verification technology. 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.