The US national tax authority announced Monday that it will stop using facial recognition software to verify taxpayers' identities when they create online accounts, following a chorus of privacy concerns. Internal Revenue Service officials had put forth the authentication system as a security measure following years of growing fears over online scams and identity theft, but the program ended up also prompting worries. The initiative involved identity verification company ID.me, which won a nearly $90 million contract to make taxpayers' accounts more secure. The IRS said "it will transition away from using a third-party service for facial recognition to help authenticate people creating new online accounts." "The IRS will quickly develop and bring online an additional authentication process that does not involve facial recognition," it said, as the agency faces staffing shortages and significant backlogs.
It's now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai's Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field. The airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The Indian government plans to decongest its airports by introducing facial recognition technology next year - a proposal that may once again raise privacy concerns in the South Asian country. India's ministry of civil aviation on Thursday said passengers on domestic flights will be able to choose to use their biometric authentication system and go paperless. "Security will benefit from the ability of the technology to verify the passenger at every checkpoint in a non-intrusive way," ministry secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said in a statement. The proposal says passengers would be verified by being photographed at every stage of the check-in process - from entering the airport to proceeding through security and boarding the plane. The India government statement said the biometric technology will be introduced first at Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports by February next year, followed by Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada by April.
The tech giants are racing to get digital assistants into our homes - the Amazon Echo Dot currently has a 40% discount during Amazon Prime Day - but debate rages over whether they are suitable for children. There have certainly been teething problems. Toy giant Mattel abandoned its "AI babysitter", Aristotle, last year following privacy concerns. And music streaming service Spotify is currently testing a way of filtering out songs with explicit lyrics following complaints from parents that family-friendly versions of tracks did not play by default when requested on smart speakers. Amazon Echo meanwhile added a feature to encourage children to be more polite to it following concerns that the abrupt way in which people talk to it was teaching children to be rude.
AI is helping businesses understand "what will happen in the future and how they can stay ahead," says Oracle NetSuite EVP Jim McGeever. He now runs his own firm, Evans Strategic Communications LLC.) CLOUD WARS -- A few months after upgrading its huge portfolio of SaaS apps with "adaptive intelligence" capabilities for the digital economy, Oracle is doing the same for its entire NetSuite family of integrated applications aimed at small and mid-sized businesses. The NetSuite announcement means that while Oracle is still well behind SaaS leader Salesforce.com in revenue, Oracle now offers not only the broadest set of SaaS apps on the market--a truly end-to-end integrated portfolio--but also has the largest family of AI- and machine-learning-enhanced applications suitable for customers ranging in size from the world's largest corporations down to small businesses. The impact will be significant because in cloud ERP alone, NetSuite has 40,000 organizations--standalone companies as well as subsidiaries of big corporations--running its products across 160 countries. And when this NetSuite AI initiative is paired up with the significant commitment Oracle's making to ensure that AI and machine learning are fully infused into all of its IP rather than being a separate application, it's clear that Oracle wants to ensure there is zero daylight between today's AI phenomenon and the company's extensive cloud product lineup--including NetSuite.