CEPA: Russian taking control of citizens’ biometric data

CEPA: Russian taking control of citizens’ biometric data

European policy think-tank the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) has warned that Russia’s government has seized control of biometric data belonging to the country’s citizens.

CEPA wrote in a blog post that the Kremlin had assigned “state system” status to the country’s uniform biometric database (UBS). The system aims to confirm identity in online banking and primarily consisted of bank clients’ facial images and voice samples.

The organisation said that now that the country’s primary biometric database is fully under government control, the authorities can seek to corral people into handing over their data, expand the types and uses of such data, as well as filter out and take over commercial databases.

CEPA noted that in November, President Vladimir Putin said that only the state should have full “responsibility for biometric data collection” to ensure its security, and that it should also regulate access by third parties.

Only a month later, parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Information that did just that. UBS was declared a “state system,” giving the government full control, including regulating access to it, while Rostelecom remains its operator. The Digital Development Ministry is working to transfer commercial biometric databases to the UBS.

CBRE automated visitor registration in business centers in Russia

CBRE automated visitor registration in business centers in Russia

A visitor management solution was developed and put on stream for CBRE in Russia, the global consulting company in commercial real estate services and investments. The system of contactless ID badges without the Security Identification Office participation was implemented by LETA.

A visitor should place a passport on the scanner built into the terminal, and the Smart Engines ID scanning software automatically scans the visitor’s name and requests the application for the visitor. After a positive response, the terminal issues a pass card to enter the building. Now visitors can get a pass themselves in less than three minutes.

“For CBRE’s clients, the execution speed of any request is important, so we are focused on improving the service quality. Cooperation with LETA allowed us to implement a new convenient service. The speed of obtaining a security pass in the terminal creates comfortable and secure (which is extremely important today) conditions for visitors of business centers, and the front desk staff pays more attention to visitors instead of searching for paper applications and issuing passes,” comments Natalia Afanasova, Director of CBRE’s Real Estate Management Department.

“We are glad that our solution helped CBRE to implement its intended plans. The passport scanner was upgraded to adapt our hardware and software complex to the task, integration with the visitor application registration system was carried out. It is certainly an interesting and useful experience for us, and it allows us to take a wider view of the implementation of our products in new areas. In the future, we plan to develop and improve self-registration terminal solutions for office centers, residential complexes, public and health-care institutions,” says Alexey Bugrov, CEO of LETA.

Knopka implements Smart Engines’ technology

Knopka implements Smart Engines’ technology

Accounting outsourcing service Knopka has implemented Smart Engines technology for Russian passport recognition into its HR system. The service users now have access to the capabilities of the Smart ID Engine software product, which provides fast and secure entry of passport data, simplifying the process of hiring new employees. Knopka is an accounting outsourcing company with management accounting and legal protection for firms and organizations in Moscow and throughout Russia.

Now clients of Knopka for a new employee’s employment do not need to enter their passport data manually. The Smart Engines OCR will quickly and accurately extract data from the passport based on modern artificial intelligence technologies. Then it is automatically entered into the new employee’s account fields in Knopka’s customer HR system.

Smart Engines software products do not require any special skills from end-users. Flagship GreenOCR® technology provides high speed and accuracy scanning on scanned copies and passport photos taken from different angles and under other lighting conditions. The document in the image can be at any angle.

“Giving the user a useful hands-on experience means understanding modern standards and applying them in service development. Before using Smart Engines, customers spent up to 10 minutes entering data by hand. Now, this is not required, and the saved time can be devoted to solving the problems of your business,” said Evgeny Kobzev, co-founder of Knopka.

Face Pay service is launched at all Moscow Metro stations

Face Pay service is launched at all Moscow Metro stations

The Moscow Metro has fully launched the Face Pay service, which allows passengers to pay the fare with biometry at all stations of the network», — announced Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport, in his personal column.

The system has been tested by passengers and employees of the Transport Complex of Moscow since the beginning of 2021 and is finally ready for a full launch. To use the new payment technology, you need to connect the Troika transport card and a bank card to the Moscow Metro mobile app and upload your photo. The payment procedures are the same as when passing the turnstile with a bank card. All the data is securely encrypted: cameras on the turnstiles read the biometric key, face image or other personal data of users are not compared.

Maksim Liksutov said that at some stations, that have less bright light, the system might operate a little longer, much alike a smartphone camera that needs more time to recognize a person in the dark or in a poorly lit place. Moreover, the live technology distinguishes a real face from the photos and make the use of photo images to pay for a ride impossible.

According to the Deputy Mayor, Moscow is the city with the largest use of biometric payments in the world. Due to the variety of payment methods, over the past 10 years, the queues at the metro ticket offices have decreased by 3.3 times, and with the launch of the Face Pay, they might reduce even more. In the context of an epidemiological threat, a completely contactless payment method is the safest one. Other payment options will be maintained.

According to the forecasts of the Department of Transport, in the next 2-3 years, 10-15% of passengers will regularly use Face Pay. The Moscow Metro will adjust the number of turnstiles for the Face Pay if the demand for the new service is growing. As for now, at least one turnstile is installed in each station entrance, some of the stations have up to three.

The Face Pay technology is already shortlisted in the TechFest Awards in the categories Best Use of Technology: Artificial Intelligence and Transport Infrastructure Champion.

In a few days after the launch of Face Pay, more than 35,000 people joined the new service.

Russian Railways self-service terminals using Smart ID Engine

Russian Railways self-service terminals using Smart ID Engine

Russian Railways self-service terminals use advanced Smart Engines technologies to sell tickets for long-distance trains. The integration of the Smart ID Engine software product for passport scanning into terminals simplifies the routine procedure of manually entering passenger personal data and speeds up the ticket sales process. The project of creating a network of terminals currently has more than 300 units operating on the railways of Russia and Kazakhstan. The project integrator is JSC Transinfoset.

An AI-based software for data capture of a passenger’s passport was integrated into a new generation of self-service transaction terminals (SSTT). The first samples of terminals were installed at the Leningradsky railway station in Moscow, Russia. Russian Railways plans to expand its SSTT fleet, primarily by equipping the most visited railway stations in Russia with intelligent terminals. Smart Engines is developing energy-efficient algorithms for scanning identity documents integrated into the SSTT. The high-speed Smart ID Engine detects the passenger’s passport and automatically enters the data into the required form fields to issue a ticket. Thus, the passenger no longer needs to enter the passport details on his own, making the ticket buying process six times faster by reducing the time spent on the manual data entry.

With secure and fast scanning of international passports of more than 210 countries and Russia, citizens of the Russian Federation and travelers from other countries can quickly purchase a ticket. Smart ID Engine ensures the security of document processing, simplifying entering passport data and reducing the likelihood of errors during manual filling. Flagship Smart Engines technologies are GDPR and CCPA compliant. Passenger data is extracted and analyzed in local RAM, and passenger data is not saved or transferred to third-party services.

“The accelerated deployment of contactless services and equipment for process optimization over the past years indicates its significance. Manual entry of passport data when issuing a ticket is a routine procedure. That’s why the process of purchasing tickets should be as convenient as possible for Russian Railways passengers. According to our estimates, implementing the Smart ID Engine software product will increase the usability and economic return of self-service terminals”, comments Alexander Galaktionov, General Director of JSC Transinfoset.

“Smart Engines is pleased to become a part of the innovative projects of Transinfoset and aims to further cooperation. The creation of new generation self-service terminals with scanning Russian and foreign passports data will mark a new stage in the ticket sales at railway stations after the automation of ticket offices using smart scanners”, says Vladimir Arlazarov, CEO of Smart Engines, Ph.D.