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.
IdentityWeek.net 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.
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.