Report on AI use by U.S. government cites biometrics as example of need for internal expertise

Biometrics Research Group | February 19, 2020

The U.S. government must improve its internal AI expertise and capacity to properly leverage the transformative power of biometrics and other technologies, according to a report from experts at Stanford and New York University. The report is meant to guide future government decisions, but along the way reveals some details about the development of a major biometric program. The use of face biometrics instead of iris recognition for border checks by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was decided on due to low iris capture rates and because facial images are easier to come by. An internal report cited in “Government by Algorithm: Artificial Intelligence in Federal Administrative Agencies” shows CBP officials were unable to explain the failure rates produced by the technology, due to its proprietary nature.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Intuit Responds to Complaint from U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Intuit | March 29, 2022

Intuit Inc., the global technology platform that makes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, Credit Karma and Mailchimp, announced that it will vigorously challenge a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In its filing, the FTC inaccurately alleges Intuit’s advertising practices directed consumers who were eligible for free tax filing software from TurboTax or the IRS Free File Program to the company’s paid tax preparation products. The facts say otherwise. The FTC’s arguments are simply not credible. Far from steering taxpayers away from free tax preparation offerings, our free advertising campaigns have led to more Americans filing their taxes for free than ever before and have been central to raising awareness of free tax prep. Over the past eight years, TurboTax products have helped nearly 100 million Americans file their taxes for free, and our most recent free advertising campaign has only accelerated the use of TurboTax free offerings, driving approximately 60% growth from 11 million free filers in 2018 before the campaign launched to more than 17 million free filers in 2021.” Kerry McLean, executive vice president and general counsel of Intuit In fact, Intuit has always supported consumers filing for free as a founding member of the IRS Free File program and in our other practices. The FTC’s complaint fails to acknowledge the reality that Intuit was, at all times, in compliance with the IRS requirements. “The fact that Intuit complied with the rules and regulations of one government agency, but is now being targeted by another, demonstrates a significant disconnect. With the FTC’s action, companies will be much less willing to enter into public-private partnerships with the government that benefit consumers,” said McLean. Intuit continually sought and continues to seek ways to increase the number of taxpayers that file using its free tax preparation products. Last tax season alone, Intuit delivered 17 million free tax filings, the most in the industry. Intuit helped the IRS Free File organization far exceed its stated goals of making free tax preparation available to 70% of filers. Today, free tax preparation is currently available to 100% of American taxpayers. That program, created and governed by the IRS, established marketing requirements for all participants. As a longtime advocate for tax simplification and taxpayer access to free tax preparation, the facts of the case do not support the FTC’s claims. “While it is disappointing that the FTC chose to file this lawsuit, we look forward to presenting the facts in court and are confident in the merits of our position,” said McLean. In its decision to file a claim against Intuit, the FTC commissioners were not unanimous. About Intuit Intuit is the global technology platform that helps consumers and small businesses overcome their most important financial challenges. Serving more than 100 million customers worldwide with TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, Credit Karma, and Mailchimp, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to prosper. We never stop working to find new, innovative ways to make that possible. Please visit us for the latest information about Intuit, our products and services, and find us on social.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

SuperCom Launches New $1 Million Project in Central Coast California

SuperCom | January 18, 2022

SuperCom , a global provider of secure solutions for the e-Government, IOT and Cybersecurity sectors, announces today that its fully-owned subsidiary, Leaders in Community Alternatives (LCA), has launched a new project with a probation department in Central Coast California to provide rehabilitative services. This launch reflects the progression of an award in this county previously announced, and the successful completion of county approval process well as contract negotiations and execution. This project, which also has an emphasis on employment services for women, supports those reentering the community from periods of incarceration by providing evidence-based and individualized services that contribute to a reduction in recidivism. This new project is valued at approximately $1 million over a term of three years, or approximately $340,000 per year. "We are pleased to continue our momentum into 2022 with another new project launch, this time in California with an existing customer, further validating the value of our offerings and the strength of our long-term customer relationships. We attribute this new project also to our successful track record of creating customized programs that best suit the needs of public agencies related to reducing recidivism, improving outcomes, and ultimately changing behavior," commented Ordan Trabelsi, President and CEO of SuperCom. "Looking forward, we expect to win more multi-year government projects with both new and existing customers globally which will add on to our annual recurring revenues." Ordan Trabelsi, President and CEO of SuperCom About SuperCom Since 1988, SuperCom has been a global provider of traditional and digital identity solutions, providing advanced safety, identification and security solutions to governments and organizations, both private and public, throughout the world. Through its proprietary e-Government platforms and innovative solutions for traditional and biometrics enrollment, personalization, issuance and border control services, SuperCom has inspired governments and national agencies to design and issue secure Multi-ID documents and robust digital identity solutions to its citizens and visitors. SuperCom offers a unique all-in-one field-proven RFID & mobile technology and product suite, accompanied by advanced complementary services for various industries including healthcare and homecare, security and safety, community public safety, law enforcement, electronic monitoring, livestock monitoring, and building and access automation.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

SES Adds Third Satellite from Thales Alenia Space to Extend Services across Europe, Africa and Asia

SES | March 28, 2022

SES announced it has ordered SES-26 a fully software-defined geostationary (GEO) satellite from Thales Alenia Space, joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %). SES-26 will maintain and expand the wide range of content delivery and connectivity services to broadcasters, media companies, telco operators, internet service providers and governmental organisations across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. The digital satellite with both Ku-band and C-band frequencies will replace SES’s NSS-12 satellite at 57 degrees East, one of SES’s longest-held and most valuable orbital positions. From this key location at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, SES will continue to deliver content and connectivity solutions to some of the world's fastest-growing markets. Facilitating connections from the heart of Europe across Africa and the Middle East, SES-26 will be an important platform to support government communications solutions in the region and is synergic with the company’s recently-announced definitive agreement for the acquisition of DRS GES. The position is also home to the Ethiosat platform, a diverse free to air neighborhood supporting a growing community of 10 million TV households across Ethiopia The order forms part of a three-satellite commitment to Thales Alenia Space and incorporates two satellites that will be deployed at SES’s first and most important orbital location, 19.2 degrees East from which SES serves 118 million TV households across Europe. Underlining its philosophy of sustainable innovation and its commitment to the European space industry, SES is the first commercial customer for Thales Alenia Space’s Space Inspire (INstant SPace In-orbit REconfiguration), an innovative product line allowing seamless telecommunication mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to the demand and outstanding flexibility for video broadcasting and broadband connectivity services. For over 20 years, satellites at 57 degrees East have been at the centrepiece of our connectivity network bridging Europe to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. From broadcasting video content across Europe and Africa to delivering connectivity services for aviation, maritime and government, SES-26 underlines our commitment to the growth of our business and to our customers. We are delighted to work with our long-term partner Thales Alenia Space to push the boundaries of next-generation satellite capabilities and deliver the flexible innovation that enables us to stay ahead of our customers’ evolving needs.” Steve Collar, CEO of SES “We are honoured that SES has renewed its confidence in Thales Alenia Space and our Space Inspire software-defined solution. This new contract follows the recent order to build Astra 1P and Astra 1Q and strengthens the strong partnership between SES and Thales Alenia Space. Once again, I’m happy to share this new success with the French and European space agencies – CNES and ESA – who contributed to making it possible thanks to their support,” said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. The procurement of the satellite remains within SES's previously announced Capital Expenditure outlook for 2022-2026 and is fully compliant with the company’s financial policy. About SES SES has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries 8,400 channels and has an unparalleled reach of over 361 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

NSW government showcases its Digital Identity program

NSW government | April 06, 2022

The NSW government has unveiled its Digital Identity program via a new website highlighting the vision its has to make government services and everyday tasks simpler, safer and more secure.  NSW Government chief information and digital officer Greg Wells said the NSW Government was investing in the power of ideas to improve lives and ultimately, the future, and believes the NSW Government’s Digital Identity program would play a big role in delivering a modern, digital government for the customers of NSW.  From retrieving benefits through the Digital Seniors Card to easily accessing digital licences through the Service NSW app, customers are already using digital identity credentials every day to prove their eligibility or to access a service.” Greg Wells, NSW Government chief information and digital officer “The NSW Government’s Digital Identity program will allow NSW customers to conduct a range of new transactions online, providing greater accessibility to government services and better support for customers with disabilities, and those in rural, regional or remote areas.  “We want to safely and securely leverage technology to deliver smarter, faster and easier services for the benefit of NSW customers.”   Mr Wells said privacy and security were of the utmost importance to the NSW Government. Oversharing of personal information and identity crime cost customers and the private sector more than $3.1 billion across Australia in 2018/19 as reported by ACIC.   Wells said the NSW Government is implementing rigorous assurances to make sure customer information is safe and secure. “The NSW Government’s Digital Identity program will provide customers with greater control of how and where their information is shared and enhanced privacy protection against identity fraud and theft associated with physical documents,” he said. “The customer has been at the heart of every decision and will always be in control of any information they choose to share. Customers will choose to opt-in to Digital Identity programs, and ongoing consent will be required, meaning they can opt out at any time. An in-person option will always be provided via Service NSW Centres.”  The NSW and Australian Governments are working closely together to explore the adoption of a national Digital Identity ecosystem, to ensure simple and seamless services for people accessing state-based services. This will deliver significant economic benefits for Australia and NSW and ensure residents get quick and easy access to the services they need.   The NSW Government has allocated $2.1 billion to invest in digital transformation projects through its Digital Restart Fund. The fund is administered by the Department of Customer Service. It targets smart, simple technology solutions which create efficiencies for customers and businesses across the state.

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