Russian banks advised to inform customers of biometric data collection after the fact

Russia’s central bank has issued recommendations for the biometric enrollment processes banks in the country should use to register citizens in the country’s Unified System of Identification and Authentication (USIA) and the Unified Biometric System (UBS).

Banks are recommended to register customers who do not have an individual insurance account number (SNILS) by searching the USIA database for the customer’s passport data, and update the record with face and voice biometrics if necessary, according to the announcement. Banks are recommended to inform the customer about the biometric data registration “immediately after” this process is completed.

The Bank of Russia’s letter also says banks should make clear to customers whether their data is being stored in the bank’s system, or the UBS database.

The recommendations also include checking the readiness of equipment at the start of each day to reduce the time necessary for the process. This may be a reaction to slow progress in data collection, as only 1,200 individuals had registered biometric data in the system at the beginning of August, 2018. Banks in Russia are currently expected to have 20 percent of their branches connected to the UBS, and to connect 60 percent of branches to the system by mid-2019, with the goal of enabling biometric customer verification at all branches by the end of the year.

After having their face and voice biometrics enrolled in the USIA and UBS in-person at an authorized bank, customers can use them for the remote identification mechanism banks use to secure access to remote financial services. The bank provides a map showing the location of hundreds of authorized banks across Russia.

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