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Panel probes future potential of face biometrics for elections, DNA for civil registries

Experts from Innovatrics, Smartmatic, Veridos and Karalundi discuss
Panel probes future potential of face biometrics for elections, DNA for civil registries

Biometrics applications could look quite different five years from now, with different modalities used in elections and civil registries, and more choice in modalities for consumers, a panel of experts said at Innovatrics’ BioCon 2022 event in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Alexander Rakov of Smartmatic explained that Estonia has been using digital technology for its elections for over a decade, and will soon be one of the first countries to use face biometrics in its elections.

When asked how to convince people with less technical knowledge about the security of the data of voters and votes themselves, Rakov explains that voting machines function offline and record votes in aggregate, so the anonymity of the vote cannot be broken even by election officials.

Standards for digital ID and biometrics in development in the EU could result in disruption within voting processes, with easier voter registration and authentication, within five years, according to Rakov.

Corinna Schindler of Veridos discussed the use of DNA as a next-generation biometric modality. Veridos and Innovatrics have been working on the use of DNA for civil identity management, she revealed.

DNA is highly unique and stable, giving the modality advantages over others like face and fingerprints, respectively, Schindler argues. It is also encoded based on distance measurements in a way that can reveal relationships, but not genetic predispositions, and it cannot be spoofed with presentation attacks the way other modalities can.

The VeriDNA identity management system has developed with Innovatrics and hardware-maker Ande, which makes “a portable, ruggedized mini-lab,” that processes DNA within 90 minutes. Innovatrics provides the ABIS technology for the solution.

The solution is hardware-agnostic, however, and Schindler notes the potential for civil registration from birth based on DNA.

DNA as a biometric modality can serve as a root of trust, Schindler emphasizes, but is not appropriate for frequent and lower-security applications like unlocking a smartphone.

Manuel Rojas Montemayor of Mexican systems integrator Karalundi spoke about barriers to the adoption of biometrics, both by consumers and governments.

Maturing digital identity ecosystems with trusted third parties can help to break down those barriers.

In the case of a pension payments project Karalundi was involved in, the process was designed to be easy to use for elderly people by giving them a choice between different biometric modalities.

During the question and answer period the discussion turned to the appropriate role of major technology companies in digital ID management, and how biometrics will be used in five years.

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