Idiap becomes the world’s third biometrics certification center

The reference in authentication standards, the FIDO Alliance has confirmed the accreditation of Idiap’s Biometrics Center as only the third member of a what remains a very exclusive club, placing it at the heart of those security issues that make up the sensitive and fast-growing domain of biometric certification.

Giving one’s fingerprints and having a photo taken for an identity document has become almost commonplace today. Doing so assures us that we will be reliably identified. But who is responsible for that reliability? Biometric materials producers require independent certification, and—although little known to the general public—the FIDO Alliance is busy putting international standards and certification processes in place. Created by a consortium of industry heavyweights ranging from GAFA to producers of computer equipment, the organization has become the reference in this field. Only three centers, now including Idiap, are accredited by FIDO for certification in biometrics.

Security at stake

As new technologies have become democratized, the tools necessary to fool a biometric recognition system have become more widely accessible. Manufacturers must continually counter such attacks by coming up with more sophisticated measures. In this race, in which security is the prize, the certification of authentication methods is a crucial step and demands for such certification are increasing. Thanks to its FIDO accreditation, the Idiap Biometrics Center can now expect to be busier than ever.

Investment and a long-term strategy

In 2014, with the support of the Canton of Valais and the city of Martigny, Idiap launched its Biometrics Center. The FIDO accreditation is part of the Institute’s long-term strategic goal of becoming a key player in the certification of biometric systems. Itself a long-term project, the accreditation process began over a year ago and required several months of work. Idiap not only trained a number of its staff, it also invested, upgrading its facilities with the support of the Loterie Romande. A biometric testing laboratory housed in a dedicated room was created, and hosts data acquisition equipment as well as a range of tools, including masks used to test attacks made against facial recognition systems.

The Idiap Research Institute is the specialist in the field of artificial intelligence, with over 25 years of experience. Voice and visual recognition, human–machine interaction, robotics, and language analysis are just some of the Institute's areas of expertise. Based in Martigny in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland, Idiap works on local, national, and international projects. The non-profit Idiap Foundation was founded in 1991 by the city of Martigny, the State of Valais, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), the University of Geneva, and Swisscom.

Further information