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Vietnam makes iris biometrics a requirement in revised digital ID draft law

Vietnam makes iris biometrics a requirement in revised digital ID draft law

Iris biometrics scans will become a requirement for those enrolling in Vietnam’s digital ID scheme after the country’s legislature endorsed adjustments to a draft law.

The National Assembly voted to approve the draft legislation for ID cards early today, November 27, according to a Vietnamnet report. The text was okayed by 87.25 percent of the lawmakers in plenary.

Ahead of the vote in the National Assembly, Public Security Minister Tô Lâm had spoken about the adjustments to the text, Vietnamnet noted in another story.

The government official said other that the iris scan which will henceforth be mandatory, a person’s “other names” and place of birth will also be collected during enrollment, adding to other information such as their blood type (to help build a blood bank for health emergencies), and mobile phone numbers and email addresses (to facilitate Government-to-Person interactions).

The iris biometrics collection, the minister explained, is to facilitate the identification of a person especially in cases where the collection of their fingerprints doesn’t work due to physical disabilities or deformities.

On the safety of the biometric data collected, the Public Security Minister assured that their system meets the highest standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on ID documents, as it is stored in an encrypted manner in an electronic chip on the ID card.

Also speaking in a session before the revised bill was voted, a National Assembly delegate Luu Ba Mac has suggested that the iris biometrics be collected voluntarily or in cases of criminal investigation by prosecution agencies, per Vietnam.vn. Another delegate Pham Thi Lieu also raised worries about the extra biographical information to be collected, citing privacy concerns and other consequences.

Other delegates however argued that the decision to scan iris is important given the growing nature of synthetic ID fraud with facial scans.

With this development in Vietnam, the country is following in the footsteps of early adopter countries of iris biometrics for digital ID such as Jordan, Pakistan and Togo.

Worldcoin has also sparked considerable controversy in places like Kenya and Argentina with iris biometrics collection for its cryptocurrency operations.

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