Smartmatic app uses facial recognition to make voting more accessible

Smartmatic has developed a facial recognition-based app that allows people to register for elections and vote by taking a selfie from any location, according to a report by the BBC.

The voting technology combines facial biometric data with a government-issued ID card to establish a digital identity, which prevents would-be fraudsters from logging onto another individual’s smartphone to cast a vote.

The app developer claims the technology is more secure than standard online banking or retail systems.

“There’s huge potential, we’re seeing a huge amount of interest in this,” said Mike Summers, program manager at Smartmatic. “There is an overwhelming reduction in participation in elections because people are more mobile now, so we see an opportunity to strengthen the process, to make it more accessible.”

The UK government said that while it is committed to “embracing technology”, it believes that the paper ballot system is most secure.

In operations since 1872, the paper ballot system enables voters to place a cross in a box next to the name of their desired candidate.

“We believe that the current paper and pen method is the best way forward, it means that each individual’s vote is counted equally, one citizen one vote,” said Chris Skidmore, Conservative MP for Kingswood, Bristol.

Meanwhile, many campaigners believe that the technology would make online voting more convenient as well as raise the accountability of politicians.

“It would make politicians pay attention more to groups who’d be enfranchised more by this method of voting,” said Areeq Chowdhury, CEO of the Institute for Digital Democracy. “We’re banking online, shopping online, even dating online so it doesn’t make sense to continue with a process that is offline, that is stuck in the 1880s.”

Unfortunately, it does not appear that Smartmatic’s app will become available at any point in the future.

Smartmatic introduced its online voting system at last year’s E-VOTE-ID 2016 conference in Bregenz, Austria.

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