MTC customers must share biometrics for SIM registration

MTC customers must share biometrics for SIM registration

Customers of the telecommunications company MTC are required to share their biometric data as a bargaining chip for SIM registration and the use of services.

Over 5.2 billion people, comprising 70% of the world’s population, own a mobile phone, and are required to exchange their basic information to obtain a SIM contract, however occasionally biometric data can be part of mandatory information.

The company itself has played down concerns over privacy for collecting biometrics from customers, citing the precautionary action is needed to curb fraud and data of users is stored carefully to restrict invasive monitoring of customers’ private conversations and personal data falling into the wrong hands.

Since introducing biometric sim registration, MTC reports fraudulent crime has fallen by 80%.

The period of mandatory biometrics for SIM registration will run from 1st January to the end of the 2023.

Biometric registration legislation currently exists in countries such as: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, China, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates.

Report highlights inconsistencies and disparities in accessing myGov

Report highlights inconsistencies and disparities in accessing myGov

The User Audit report into Australia’s myGov system reveals disparities in different digital services and login authentication between myGov and other government systems.

It also undermines the recent costs of redesigning myGov and launching a smartphone app while different services harness unique login actions, control their own identity

While the report’s engagement with user focus groups highlighted the main access point to government services overall performed well, it cited a 2022 PWC Citizen survey which found that 46% of participants attributed confusion around accessing services to an increased volume of digital channels.

Action: The report advises that the government provide a common service delivery.

Users of multiple agencies have to submit the same cumbersome information.

The lack of digital identity providers onboarded to the Australian Government Identity System also limits who can get a ‘strong’ digital identity so this number is significantly lower than the number of myGov users.

Further, inadequate privacy protections for personal data stored in myGov is lagging behind the advancements and use cases of digital ID and the report recommends further work in myGov and its member services to track and make a record of end to end user experience across the digital services ecosystem.


Florida law enforcement seeks $20 million for future cloud-based biometric identification system

Florida law enforcement seeks $20 million for future cloud-based biometric identification system

Florida’s law enforcement is calling on the government to raise $20 million towards provisioning a modern biometric identification system in Microsoft cloud.

The vast police database in the cloud will increase capacity to store biometric data from offenders once they offend and be better compatible with system updates.

$3.9 million was raised by lawmakers last year to transition the outdated bones of a system to a faster, higher capacity and upgradeable Multi-biometric Identification System.

The update will take 15 to 30 months to complete in phases incurring costs of $8.16 million this year, $11.7 million of government revenue and $10 million in maintenance costs thereafter.

The cloud-based system will have capacity for face recognition data but for the short-term the Florida police department will not be leveraging the database to make facial offender matches.

IDEMIA is supplying its Multi-biometric Identification System software to enhance database management.

Florida police leverages multiple biometric modalities for ID checks for example mobile fingerprint scanners to conduct rapid identity checks which officers submit the data from their mobile device to state or local police databases.


OneButtonPIN: authentication made easier for blind or visually impaired

OneButtonPIN: authentication made easier for blind or visually impaired

Academics from University of Waterloo and Rochester Institute of Technology have addressed the limitations of the most common biometric modalities, developing a new authentication method that will frictionlessly verify blind and visually impaired people.

The method has been called OneButtonPIN; rather than entering pin numbers, the user counts the number of haptic vibrations to enter the correct pin. The solution will be revolutionary in expanding visual types of biometrics to touch. Currently, authentication methods require users with sight to draw patterns, enter passwords or pin codes, and position themselves correctly for face recognition.

While passwords and other methods can be targeted by privacy attacks, OneButtonPIN taps a unique sign-in method which coordinates numbers to vibrations in a sequence.

This method is imperceptible to outsiders and mitigates the risks of blind or low vision individuals having to rely on audio assistance technology which could leave them vulnerable to eavesdropping.

“While OneButtonPIN was designed for BLV people, many users will appreciate the added security,” Watson said. “When we make things more accessible, we make things more usable for the average user as well.”

OneButtonPIN ensures 83.6% accuracy.

Royal Mail held to ransom over stolen data

Royal Mail held to ransom over stolen data

Hackers that have compromised Royal Mail’s data engine in a ransomware attack announced on Wednesday have issued a ransom for payment to stop the data being leaked.

The culprits are a criminal gang called LockBit. Acknowledging the disruption, Rail Mail stated it was seeing a severe impact on its operations to ship packages and letters internationally, asking for parcels not be posted until after the matter is resolved.

Despite this, import operations will “perform a full service with only some minor delays”. “Our teams are working around the clock to resolve this disruption and we will update customers as soon as we have more information”.

Lockbit is thought to operate from Russia. The Financial Times has reportedly obtained proof of the ransomware attack. In an address to Parliament, Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson said: “We’ve confirmed that we’ve had a cyberattack”, although he believes that LockBit are mounting pressure compounded already by strike action despite not actually having compromised any data.

Lockbit has unleashed attacks affecting over 40 organisation in the last month but Royal Mail is so far the largest scandal-hit company, which harbours a customer base of 29 million addresses across the UK. At a distribution centre in Northern Ireland, workers have reported that printers involuntarily printing notes reading ““your data are stolen and encrypted”.

Royal mail does harness a customer-facing digital identity interface (EasyID) to confirm customers when they collect parcels.

The best passports for travel without a visa

The best passports for travel without a visa

The top passports for travelling to destinations around the world without a visa have been ranked in a latest study.

The study by Henley & Partners found that Japan ranks the highest for the last 5 years, permitting travel to 193 out of 227 destinations without a mandatory visa. In the positions behind, South Korea and Singapore were ranked joint second where 192 destinations are open to travel to without a visa. Germany and Spain occupied third place and Luxembourg, Italy and Finland also allow non-visa travel.

The Henley Passport Index provides information on 199 passports and 227 places in the world that is opening up to freer travel, especially with eased restrictions. Global travel has resumed to 75% of pre-pandemic levels and the events of the passed 3 years has even led to the term “revenge travel’.

Find the full list of countries ranked from No 1 to 109 here:

Perhaps unsurprising, it is not easy to travel seamlessly with passports from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, facilitating 12% of travel worldwide and contributing to 1% of the global economy.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners who began the Passport Index 20 years ago, said the findings were eye-opening to the “passport power” and what it means for the value of the aviation sector and secure travel documents.

“The Henley Passport Index measures visa-free access to 227 destinations across the world, which of course makes it an extremely useful tool for travellers. However, for global citizens and international businesspeople, a better measure of economic mobility and opportunity afforded by their passports is an indication of what share of the world’s GDP is accessible to them visa-free. Our latest research into how much global economic access each passport provides is a useful tool for investors, in addition to giving new insight into the ever-widening economic inequality and wealth disparity that has come to define our world”.

US and China share the highest levels of GDP with 25% and 19% respectively.

Find out more:




Aviation minister calls for more urgency over e-gate facilities

Aviation minister calls for more urgency over e-gate facilities

Minister of Ports Shipping and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva, has demanded more urgency to install e-gates at one of Sri Lanka’s biggest airports, Bandaranaike International Airport. After delays holding the airport’s refurbishment back from making any real progress, he issued direct instructions to airport officials during a special meeting at the Ministry auditorium.

The project, which began in 2017, was stalled on numerous occasions due to difficulties with obtaining the right approvals and expenditure. However, he effectively stated that the installation was overdue and needed to be delivered at pace.

The airport will install two new e-gates at the Arrivals Terminal and two more at the Departures Terminal, as part of Phase I of the project to improve efficiency to safe, convenient travel for passengers.

Passport fees in UK to rise

Passport fees in UK to rise

The UK Government is set to increase passport application fees. Following suit of many costs rising due to inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, the Home Office is asking for more funds from those who regularly use the service.

This will reduce funding from taxation to help the Home Office continue to function and manage manufacture costs, processing passport applications and support overseas for lost or stolen passports.

Passport fees have remained level over the last 5 years but will now better reflect the services provided by the Home Office and help the government to continue improving its services.

While the changes are due to be reviewed by Parliament, they are expected to be implemented, meaning the average online application will cost £82.50 for adults, an increase from £75.50, and £53.50 for children.

Applications made via post are also subject to the price increase from £85 to £93 for adults and £58.50 to £64 for children.

The changes will come into effect for all applications on 2 February 2023. Fees for priority sends are being standardised so all customers will pay the same.

After more demand following the pandemic, since January 2022, the majority (95%) of basic passport applications have been processed within 10 weeks. The advice to customers is still to make an application in good time before the need to travel.

Meta commits to verifying users’ age for dating platform

Meta commits to verifying users’ age for dating platform

Social media networks are increasingly under pressure to ensure young users are not exposed to content which is outside their age bracket.

Meta in partnership with biometrics provider Yoti is already immersed in this mission to limit potentially harmful and inappropriate content coming into contact with younger users, introducing age verification to set up new accounts.

Its Facebook Dating, designed strictly for adults, is also getting age verification tools to prevent use by minors. Age estimation trials will go ahead in the US.

If Meta detects someone may be under the age of 18 and trying to access its dating service, it will request the user to verify their age through one of two options: a selfie video or ID upload which is stored securely and encrypted.

Meta, formerly called Facebook, began its new approach to age verification in June, embarking on a technology partnership with Yoti.

Their research undertaken in conjunction with testing revealed that users trying to edit their age to access the platform were four times more likely to complete the age verification requirements.

Meta was able to prevent 96% of teens from changing their date of birth and 81% opted to use Yoti’s video selfie to verify their age.

IDEMIA complete contract to install biometric kiosks in 8 Australian airports

IDEMIA complete contract to install biometric kiosks in 8 Australian airports

IDEMIA has crossed the line on its 2019 tender to install biometric kiosks in 8 Australian airports.

The “Gen3 Kiosk” offers self-service authentication and went through a rigorous trial phase and performance testing prior to deployment.

The solution will fulfil the immigration pre-check procedure at these airports and fast-track registrations, which can be easily integrated with any Entry/Exit system.

According to IATA, their solutions address a security problem that is progressively getting worse with 8.2 billion air passengers expected to use air travel by 2037 while budgets and resources remain tight.

The successful deployments were at Darwin, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Coolangatta, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney airports coming after the installation of 109 Gen3 model Kiosks that passed phase one at the end of 2021.

Wee Liang TAN, Senior Vice President, APAC Public Security & Identity, at IDEMIA made some remarks on the end of the project. 

“We are delighted that the Australian government has once again selected IDEMIA as their partner of choice to help enhance the passenger journey. We are proud of this 18-year partnership that is still going strong today. The innovative Gen3 border control solution contains advanced biometric capabilities that not only help streamline the passenger’s airport experience, but also increase security. This is the result of the IDEMIA team’s continued dedication to successfully deploying such an innovative and industry-leading solution”.

IDEMIA will be exhibiting on our Expo floor at Identity Week Europe on 13-14 June 2023 at the RAI Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam.

Public sector starting to realise the benefits of digital ID and facial recognition

Public sector starting to realise the benefits of digital ID and facial recognition

As digital ID and biometric technologies are outstaying their novelty touch and public scepticism, lots more commercial use cases can be identified in travel, banking, retail and media.

Governments too that offer vast public services to citizens require secure authentication – a definite reason why the public sector is now recognising the benefits of digital ID and face biometrics to improve all its functions.

A GlobalData report suggests that governments must implement stronger identity authentication to set the trend for private companies and explore new phenomenons like the metaverse. has reported on the government’s One Login digital identity program which will streamline over 48 different authentication systems used by governmental departments, migrating to a single login system. This new system will mitigate users of one account having to submit their information each time they access a service.

Driven by the sudden need for proof of vaccination status, governments have also developed e-certificates and COVID e-passports to meet short deadlines.

David Bicknell, Principal Analyst, Thematic Intelligence at GlobalData, says that ‘digital identity’s time is now”. “There are many possible use cases, from financial services to tracking and managing identities in the metaverse.  It took a global pandemic for governments to recognise that vaccination certificates on smartphones enabling foreign travel was the killer app that digital identity could deliver, and people could use, even if they might not recognize it as digital identity.”

“It is clear that decentralised identities will help deliver an identity revolution” he added. A revolution is already evident with many countries following the trend of establishing their own digital ID systems to curb fraud rates and common privacy threats.

India has the Aadhaar ID system; Nordic countries and Estonia formed the NOBID Consortium. Japan and China are leaders in surveillance technologies while building stoic digital economies. The EU Wallet is almost on the finishing line and remote ID checks on new workers and tenants in the UK can still be opted for as part of the UK’s Right to Work and Rent schemes.

These examples show the catalogue of changes that governments have made to scale digital ID innovation.

UK Policing 

The use of face and fingerprint biometrics has permeated through UK and Scottish policing and is leveraged as a regular tool in investigations. Biometric data has also been shared by the Home Office with U.S. aviation bodies (i.e. U.S. Department of Homeland Security) to make intelligence that could protect public security readily available.

The Times spoke to an ex-police chief, Tom Wood, who said that new policing methods need not be treated with reluctancy and doubt due to the great benefit on enhancing investigations.

Backlash about privacy has cast suspicion over fingerprint, CCTV and other surveillant methods. A retired Deputy Chief Constable for Lothian and Borders police, Tom Wood spoke about the  public’s perceptions of their freedoms, rights to privacy and consent over personal data being threatened by newer police tools.

All modern police practices “were cast as dire threats to civil liberties”  the article said. Bias and some inherent inaccuracies in the technology are issues to be addressed however this is vastly outweighed by police successes and other proven use cases.

In the Scotsman, Wood discounted the concerns stressing: “We must continue to embrace new technologies, including artificial intelligence and facial recognition”.

Stricter rules imposed in Scotland govern the police’s use of facial recognition technologies so that a balance can be maintained.between privacy and keeping people safe. Scotland’s Biometric Commissioner, Dr Brian Plastow, supports promoting good practice in our police forces but feels biometrics are completely justified to be used as an investigative tool at the police’s discretion.

GA Istanbul airport installs Star Alliance biometrics

GA Istanbul airport installs Star Alliance biometrics

The Star Alliance biometric recognition system is being implemented at iGA Istanbul Airport, which enable frictionless travel through key security touchpoints.

The Star Alliance is a collective union of global airlines formed back in 1997 that has 26 members, including Turkish Airlines – the parter on this tender to install the best-in-class biometric scanning equipment.

The Star Alliance technology is deployed in Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Vienna airports, surviving modern laws on mask-wearing which became mandatory during the height of the pandemic. The face biometric capability is able to accurately detect a full facial image of traveller while wearing a mask.

Miles & More service users are eligible to take advantage of the smoother travel experience which Star Alliance biometrics will provide.

Turkish Airlines has been particularly receptacle to using the biometrics access system and streamlining touchless travel for its frequent flyers.

In the Star Alliance, Miles&Smiles members can register 24 hours before departure to benefit from contactless travel at all participating airports or on relevant airlines, however have total freedom over which can use their personal data.

Retail trials favour implementing age estimation technologies

Retail trials favour implementing age estimation technologies

The findings of nine trials, which tested age verification technology in retail environments, have revealed an appetite to use digital age assessment in the sale of alcohol to over 18s only.

The series of trials were led by the UK Home Office and Office for Product Safety and Standards to assess innovative approaches to age verification using digital ID or age estimation technologies.

Compared to the use of age estimation at self-serve checkouts, trials of digital ID apps received much lower uptake.

The accuracy of the facial estimation technology was undetermined by the trial which did indicate that environmental factors could affect a reliable result. Facial estimation technologies are not as accurate as facial biometrics which are commonly implemented across the travel and private sectors. However, the trial suggested age estimation technologies could be more favourable to digital ID, especially for young people purchasing alcohol. reducing queue times in shops or into licensed premises.

The exploration of different age verification options will help to inform decisions to enhance robust monitoring of retail environments that are licensed to sell age protected products.