Innovation That Matters

Facial recognition app

Facial recognition app to become e-gov ID service

Work & Lifestyle

A free app can be used as a digital identity provider in a bid to help citizens swiftly and securely access services.

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Available for both Android and iOS users, a digital identity app Yoti can be set up in under five minutes. Users scan their passport and take a selfie. Yoti’s technology team then verifies each account using facial recognition technology as well as performing additional checks. By linking official government documentation with the selfie, the platform is able to prevent the creation of fake accounts using videos or photos. Additionally, Android users can choose a preferred level of security by scanning the biometric chip in their passport into the app.

The London-based startup uses bank-level data encryption for security, and all aspects of a person’s digital identity are stored separately. This removes the risk of anyone hacking into the system and accessing profiles. Yoti emphasizes the fact that each individual user can only access his or her own data. As an additional security measure, when asked for ID, a user can choose which type of ID to share and how much. This lets users control who sees how much of their personal identity.

The Government of Jersey recently announced its decision to use the app as its official identity provider. The plans have taken more than three years to come to fruition. The introduction of the new service is due to begin in July 2018. The Government’s digital team says that users will no longer need to remember multiple usernames and passwords and ideally, by not having to carry as much documentation with them, will keep official identity papers more secure.

Biometric and digital identities are being tested in a number of ways. The Indian government recently introduced digital drivers licenses and an online secure cloud storage system for all official services. And a team of German researchers found a way to use the unique sound of an individual’s skull to securely identify owners of smart wearables. What needs to be added to these types of innovations to improve understanding and use of privacy options?



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