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Biometrics used in property transfers improve convenience, but must be protected

Biometrics used in property transfers improve convenience, but must be protected

In the UAE and Pakistan, individuals can now use biometrics to perform property transfers, while India’s deed database has enabled fraud.

UAE and Pakistan enable property transfers using biometrics

In the UAE, the Emirati platform on the DubaiNow app has been used for the exchange of 1,463 land grants from its inception on July 18th to October 25th, according to a government announcement. The service was launched in tandem by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment, Dubai Municipality and the Dubai Land Department.

The platform completed 68 requests for housing grant exchanges across 23 areas in Dubai, affecting 136 families. Ninety percent of users were satisfied with the service, according to a customer satisfaction survey.

Dubai’s online services use face biometric authentication to grant user access.

Meanwhile, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, an agreement between the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) approved the use of biometric verification for the transfer of properties, the Associated Press of Pakistan reports.

The governing body approved a memo between the RDA and Punjab Information Technology Board to implement the e-filing and office automation system. The system would provide paperless 24/7 services to the public.

Aadhaar and fingerprints masked on deeds after spike in fraud

In Maharashtra, India, the state property registration department has started masking fingerprints and Aadhaar numbers on deeds and rental contracts before uploading them into government sites to prevent Aadhaar-related fraud, according to Times of India.

In order to register a property or transfer a deed, citizens need to provide fingerprints and their Aadhar card information. The documents can normally be viewed for free and downloaded for 300 rupees (US$3.60).

But a majority of complaints regarding Aadhaar-related frauds involved biometrics and other details taken from property documents. Fraudsters would then use the information to withdraw money from victims’ accounts.

Over the past 3 months, 800,000 documents have been masked. One way to mask the Aadhaar numbers is to “replace the first 8 digits of the Aadhaar number with asterisks, while another way is to hash the Aadhaar number of fingerprints using a cryptographic algorithm,” said Rohit Srivastava, who is identified by the Times of India as a cybersecurity expert. “This will make it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access or use the data.”

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