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UAE governments support biometrics expansion for online services, age verification

First financial exchange signs on to MOI biometrics gateway
UAE governments support biometrics expansion for online services, age verification

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), will provide all its services online via face biometric authentication.

The news was reported by the Khaleej Times, which quoted senior official and project director Fatima Salem Al Mazroui speaking with the publication at the Gitex Global 2022 event earlier this week.

“We aim to have all of GDRFA services and transactions processed through facial biometrics,” Al Mazroui says.

“All GDRFA services such as applying for residency, visa or any other services, will be accessible and verified with facial biometrics. Dubai residents will not be required to use a passport or any other document to verify themselves.”

The executive adds that while GDRFA is working quickly to launch it as soon as possible, it is challenging to provide a specific timeline as implementation for each type of service has a different procedure.

Al Mazroui also confirmed the Directorate recently launched a new version of its app that unifies its services in one application, enabling residents to contact GDRFA directly for any query.

The announcement comes more than a year after the Directorate confirmed Dubai airports had reached 122 biometric smart gates deployed for fast-tracked passenger passport controls.

Al Ansari Exchange launches selfie biometrics for KYC, age checks

Al Ansari has become the first exchange company in the UAE to implement a digital know-your-customer (eKYC) journey in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Interior (MOI).

The KYC service uses the MOI’s digital verification face biometric gateway service, launched last year, to deliver identity validation, including age verification.

“The Ministry proactively invests in cutting-edge technologies and utilizes them to develop services in a creative manner according to the Government directives to adopt the best technologies in digital services,” explains Colonel Dr. Ahmed Saeed Al Shamsi from the UAE Ministry of Interior.

“The MOI has developed the digital verification face gateway service within its work system to enhance the pioneering government work process by providing smart solutions that exceed customer expectations and to maintain the journey of safety and security.”

The deployment comes amidst substantial growth in the adoption of face biometric technologies in the country (and region). In fact, May figures from The Insight Partners suggest that the facial recognition market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to grow from $161.97 million in 2021 to $355.62 million by 2028. This would represent a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9 percent from 2021 to 2028.

Case in point, Dubai Police deployed the first of 400 smart patrol vehicles with facial recognition in March. More recently, facial recognition vendor RecFaces said it was opening a new training center in Dubai.

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