World’s First Facial Authentication Plan in Singapore Raises Privacy Concerns
By: Ashwathy Nair
- It is a part of the financial hub’s drive to harness technology.
- Images will be matched with other data like national identity cards, passports and employment passes.
- The technology is being trailed at some government offices.
In the national ID scheme, Singapore becomes the first country in the world that will use facial authentication, but some concerns are arising by the privacy advocates that, this system appears to be an intrusive one that is vulnerable to abuse.
Facial Authentication Plan will be allowed from next year that millions of people those are living in the city-state will be able to access banking services, government agencies, and other amenities with a simple method of quick face scan.
When performing several daily activities, there will be no need to remember a password or security dongle as this biometric scan will take place. From ramping up the usage of electronic payments to research on driverless transport, it is a part of the financial hub’s drive to harness technology.
Kwok Quek Sin, who works on digital identification at Singapore’s technology agency GovTech, said to AFP that “We want to be creative in implementing technology for the advantage of our people and businesses.”
Facial authentication has already been adopted around the world in different ways, with the technology being introduced by Apple and Google for tasks such as unlocking phones and making payments.
It has also been set up by the governments at airports for security checks on travellers. However, the launch of this technology in Singapore is one of the most aspiring until now, and it is the first one to attach facial recognition to the national identity database. This Facial Authentication technology takes a series of images of a person’s face is different lightings and these pictures are coordinated with rest of the records that are already available to the government, like national ID cards, passports and employment passes. It is ensured by the safeguards that the process is completely secured. “There will be an assurance about the person that, whether the person behind the device is a real person and not an image or video”.
The Facial Authentication technology is being implemented into the digital identification system of the country and is currently being evaluated at some government offices, including the tax authority and the city pension fund. Private companies will sign up for the project, and DBS, which is the biggest bank in Singapore, is part of the trial.
Despite the growing use of the technology that will do scanning of the face remains controversial and opponents have raised ethical concerns regarding this in some countries.
It is being assured that no data will be shared with third parties.