Weekly Industry News – Week of Feb 26

Yura Nunes
Liminal Weekly Industry News

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Week of February 26, 2024

Here are the main industry highlights of this week.

Illinois Proposes Mobile Driver’s Licenses with Biometric Verification

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias supports legislation (House Bill 4592) to introduce mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs), a significant development given the office’s influence in the state. If passed, the bill would enable individuals to display digital driver’s licenses and IDs on their phones alongside physical copies, potentially legalizing digital documents with biometrics within a year. 

NIST Releases Comprehensive Cybersecurity Framework 2.0, Expanding Scope and Emphasizing Governance

This edition, shaped by feedback from stakeholders, features expanded core guidance and additional resources to facilitate easier adoption and implementation of the framework. Developed in alignment with the National Cybersecurity Strategy, the framework now consists of six key functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover, and the newly added Govern function.

AU10TIX Introduces Advanced KYB Solution to Enhance Partner Verification and Mitigate Risks

The solution offers checks against numerous jurisdictions and government registries, providing real-time compliance and risk management capabilities. It comes in three packages, enabling businesses to automate proof of business verification, extend to sole trader validation, and access enterprise-level benefits such as continuous monitoring and AML screening.

Microsoft and Mistral AI Partner to Boost Europe’s AI Ecosystem

Microsoft has unveiled a new partnership with French startup Mistral AI, dubbed Europe’s counterpart to OpenAI, aiming to bolster its presence in the AI industry. The tech giant’s investment of 15 million euros in Mistral AI aims to unlock new commercial opportunities and expand its global reach. As part of the deal, Mistral’s large language models (LLM) will be available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, making it the second company after OpenAI to host its LLM on the platform.

MIT Engineers Unveil Revolutionary Tamper-Proof ID Tag Using Terahertz Waves

Unlike traditional RFID tags, MIT engineers have developed a groundbreaking tamper-proof ID tag, utilizing terahertz waves for enhanced security and affordability. This advancement signifies a significant leap forward in authentication technology, promising heightened security and cost-effectiveness. However, challenges such as precise measurement acquisition and constraints related to the characteristics of terahertz waves still need to be addressed for broader applications beyond barcode scanning.

Google to Shut Down U.S. Google Pay App to focuses on Google Wallet Consolidation

Google has announced the shutdown of its Google Pay standalone app in the United States, effective June 4, as it consolidates and simplifies payment apps. The move aims to reduce user confusion around disparate Google payment apps and emphasize the use of Google Wallet as the singular app for Google’s payment features. After June 4, users of the U.S. version of the Google Pay app will lose the ability to send, request, or receive money.

Nvidia Hits $2 Trillion Market Value as AI Revolution’s Core with Specialized GPUs

Nvidia’s $2 trillion market value is driven by its specialization in “discrete” GPUs (graphics processing units), cementing the firm at the center of the AI revolution. The company’s chips have become fundamental for most prominent tech giants, including Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Oracle. The recent buzz around AI innovation has propelled Nvidia to the third-largest U.S. firm by market value, trailing only Microsoft and Apple.

Qloo Raises $25M in Series C Funding to Expand AI-Driven Consumer Insights and Personalization

Cultural AI company Qloo has secured $25 million in Series C funding led by AI Ventures, with contributions from AXA Venture Partners, Eldridge, and Moderne Ventures. This investment marks a significant step in Qloo’s mission to democratize access to AI technology and introduce a user-friendly interface later this year.

Totango and Catalyst Merge to Forge a Leading Customer Success Platform

The merger will leverage Totango’s enterprise-grade features and Catalyst’s modern interface and AI capabilities, providing a comprehensive customer success platform. The goal is to redefine customer success, capitalize on market opportunities, and potentially go public.

Mobai Secures $2.8M Seed Funding to Enhance Biometric Security Solutions

Norwegian facial recognition and biometric face verification provider Mobai raised $2.8 million in a seed financing round, attracting investors such as sustainability-focused firm TD Veen, former Google and Twitter executive Patrick Pichette, and Oslo consultancy Protonic Partners. Mobai is actively engaged in research and development to enhance its product line, with its solutions tested at recognized institutions like NIST and the Swiss Center for Biometrics.

Klarna Eyes US IPO with $20 Billion Valuation Amidst Recovery from Valuation Drop

Klarna Bank AB, the Swedish fintech company once Europe’s most valuable startup, is reportedly advancing plans for a potential US listing, potentially one of the largest initial public offerings this year. Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the Stockholm-based buy-now-pay-later giant had initiated detailed discussions with investment banks, aiming for an IPO as early as the third quarter, with a targeted valuation of around $20 billion.

Biden to Issue Executive Order Strengthening Data Privacy Against Foreign Access

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to enhance data privacy protection, particularly to prevent foreign adversaries from accessing personal information, including biometrics and financial data. Biden aims to draw attention to the potential threats to Americans’ data security, including biometric, financial, health, and work information.

Switzerland Issues $206M Tender for National Digital ID Verification Provider to Enhance Privacy and Security

The tender aims to procure software for verifying individuals’ identities for the state-operated eID, requiring features like liveness check and biometric face image verification. The bid process includes developing a software development kit (SDK) for integration into the federal digital wallet and a component for manual verification by federal employees.

Avast Faces $16.5 Million Fine from FTC for Unlawful Sale of Customer Browsing Data

The FTC order revealed that Avast unlawfully collected and sold sensitive information to over 100 third parties through its browser extensions and antivirus software; the company allegedly deceived customers by falsely claiming its products would block third-party tracking. Avast’s subsidiary, Jumpshot, rebranded as an analytics company, sold the data without sufficient notice and consent. Avast must inform affected consumers, delete transferred data, and implement a privacy program as part of their remediation measures.

UK Home Secretary Warns of Deepfake Threat to Upcoming General Election

UK Home Secretary James Cleverley has warned that deepfake videos created using artificial intelligence pose a significant threat to influence the upcoming general election. Cleverley, ahead of a meeting with tech leaders in Silicon Valley, expressed concerns that adversaries from Iran or Russia could flood social media platforms with realistic deepfake videos to sway voters. While Meta is setting up a team to tackle disinformation and AI abuse before the EU elections, there has been little commitment among the major social media players toward detecting and banning deep fake videos.

Change Healthcare Hit by Suspected Government-Backed Cyberattack, Causes Widespread Outages

The company took immediate action to disconnect its systems to prevent further impact. The incident, which began early Wednesday on the U.S. East Coast, caused most login pages for Change Healthcare to be inaccessible. Local pharmacies, including Scheurer Health in Michigan, experienced outages due to the cyberattack.

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