Ontario Privacy Commissioner hails major advancement in a privacy-enhancing technology for voice biometrics

    TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - Today, the Information and Privacy Commissioner
of Ontario, in conjunction with PerSay (Israel, www.persay.com) and Philips
priv-ID (Netherlands, www.priv-id.com), is announcing a major advancement
forward in developing a privacy-enhancing technology for biometrics - the
successful combination of Biometric Encryption (BE) with voice biometrics.
    Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, first
became aware of Philips' work in biometric encryption in 2006 when she learned
of their priv-ID biometric encryption system. Shortly after the release of her
paper, Biometric Encryption: A Positive-Sum Technology that Achieves Strong
Authentication, Security AND Privacy, she was contacted by Bell Canada
regarding PerSay's work in voice biometrics. Believing that Philips' and
PerSay's respective technologies held high promise for protecting privacy
while improving consumer services, she urged the two companies to work
together in trying to integrate biometric encryption with voice biometrics.
Several months later, the results were highly successful. "I am truly grateful
to Bell Canada for bringing my attention to PerSay's work - their initiative
helped to make the application of biometric encryption to voice biometrics a
reality," says the Commissioner.
    "What is newsworthy and particularly gratifying is that the performance
results are exceedingly positive. When Philips priv-ID applied their BE
technology to PerSay's voice biometrics, the performance of the combined
technologies remained at a world class level with respect to accuracy, plus
invaluable privacy and security benefits," says Commissioner Cavoukian. "As we
speak, PerSay is adding a new BE engine to their line of products."
    One of the applications being explored for this technology involves
remote voice authentication. In standard remote authentication architectures,
the customer's voiceprint collected at the remote terminal, is then sent to
the processing server. The processing server compares the voiceprint with the
stored template/biometric and sends the result back to the terminal. With BE,
the process can be turned around where the biometrically encrypted template is
sent to the terminal instead of sending the voiceprint to the server. The
comparison is then done at the terminal, with no audio being sent over the
network. Further, the databases created for different applications cannot be
linked together.
    Commissioner Cavoukian is especially supportive of such a solution
because it allows for enhanced security and privacy. The Commissioner
believes, "We are on the cusp of making a truly positive-sum solution a
reality through the use of voice biometrics - an approach that enhances both
the privacy and security of a biometric, in this case, your voice, which
happens to be a unique and unobtrusive form of identification. I am absolutely
delighted with this development."

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Jason Papadimos, Communications
Officer, (416)-326-8828, jason.papadimos@ipc.on.ca

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