HTT’s Hyperloop technology declared insurable by Munich Re
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) and Munich Re, a leading global insurer, have revealed that HTT’s technology is both feasible and insurable after collaborating and conducting extensive risk analysis research over the past year.
"Offering an insurable system is a massive milestone for this groundbreaking technology,” said Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and Co-founder of HTT. “As we move forward with commercialization of the system and our technology, our biggest challenge remains the creation of a new regulatory framework.”
Munich Re’s Special Enterprise Risks Unit had been created specifically to look at the risks and challenges posed by HTT’s technology, with the report forming the foundation for active strategic risk assessment.
"The technology developed by HTT is set to fundamentally change the way we travel in the future,” said Torsten Jeworrek, member of the Munich Re Board of Management. “Such technological shifts give rise to new insurance needs that demand innovative solutions – which our Hyperloop team at Corporate Insurance Partner is happy to develop.”
As a result of the successful risk assessment, HTT are now set to begin building their project.
"Now with further validation that our technologies and system are feasible and insurable, we are ready to build,” said Chairman and Co-founder of HTT, Bibop Gresta. “We are delighted to have found an innovative partner in Munich Re that takes a constructive and cooperative approach to our very specific needs."
The two companies will continue to work cooperate in the hope of making HTT becoming a real possibility in the not so distant future.
ICO warns of privacy concerns on the use of LFR technology
“I am deeply concerned about the potential for live facial recognition (LFR) technology to be used inappropriately, excessively, or even recklessly. When sensitive personal data is collected on a mass scale without people’s knowledge, choice or control, the impacts could be significant,” said Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner.
Denham explained that with any new technology, building public trust and confidence in the way people’s information is used is crucial so the benefits derived from the technology can be fully realised.
“It is not my role to endorse or ban a technology but, while this technology is developing and not widely deployed, we have an opportunity to ensure it does not expand without due regard for data protection,” Denham added.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has said it will work with organisations to ensure that the use of LFR is lawful, and that a fair balance is struck between their own purposes and the interests and rights of the public. They will also engage with Government, regulators and industry, as well as international colleagues to make sure data protection and innovation can continue to work hand in hand.
What is live facial recognition?
Facial recognition is the process by which a person can be identified or recognised from a digital facial image. Cameras are used to capture these images and FRT software measures and analyses facial features to produce a biometric template. This typically enables the user to identify, authenticate or verify, or categorise individuals.
Live facial recognition (LFR) is a type of FRT that allows this process to take place automatically and in real-time. LFR is typically deployed in a similar way to traditional CCTV in that it is directed towards everyone in a particular area rather than specific individuals. It can capture the biometric data of all individuals passing within range of the camera indiscriminately, as opposed to more targeted “one-to-one” data processing. This can involve the collection of biometric data on a mass scale and there is often a lack of awareness, choice or control for the individual in this process.
Why is biometric data particularly sensitive?
Biometrics are physical or behavioural human characteristics that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices, or data. Biometric data extracted from a facial image can be used to uniquely identify an individual in a range of different contexts. It can also be used to estimate or infer other characteristics, such as their age, sex, gender, or ethnicity.
The security of the biometric authentication data is vitally important, even more than the security of passwords, since passwords can be easily changed if they are exposed. A fingerprint or retinal scan, however, is immutable.
The UK courts have concluded that “like fingerprints and DNA [a facial biometric template] is information of an “intrinsically private” character.” LFR can collect this data without any direct engagement with the individual. Given that LFR relies on the use of sensitive personal data, the public must have confidence that its use is lawful, fair, transparent, and meets the other standards set out in data protection legislation.