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Rostelecom voice and facial recognition system reaches beta launch

Rostelecom has announced the launch of the beta version of its Unified Biometrics System (UBS) in partnership with three Russian banks to integrate voice and facial recognition into their systems.

The cloud-based digital platform was created by Rostelecom, the state telecom, at the request of Russia’s Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications and the Bank of Russia, and banks can access it through the Interagency Electronic Interaction System. User data is encrypted in transmission, and Rostelecom’s IT solutions subsidiary RT Labs is developing a mobile application with built-in encryption.

The company only began working on the UBS six months ago, when regulatory hurdles were cleared with amendments to national legislation. The partner banks for the beta launch are Tinkoff Bank, VTB Bank, and Pochta Bank, and more than 20 banks have started to test UBS, which is expected to reach commercial launch in July 2018, according to the announcement.

“In the long term, the Unified Biometric System will make it possible to digitalise most of the processes, including state and social services, as well as enforce national security in transport, voting procedure and even population censuses,” commented Mikhail Bondarenko, CEO of RT Labs.

It was reported in December that the Russian Duma was considering a bill to require Rostelecom to provide bank customers’ biometric data to the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service (FSB) without customer consent.

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