How Biometrics will be used to identify individuals for National Digital Identity

Facial recognition is to be used to identify a person’s identity for National Digital Identity (NDI), Digital Wallet.

The Government Technology (GovTech) Bhutan has collected fingerprints and facial photos during the nationwide biometric data collection. The stored fingerprints and photos will be used case by case based on requirements.

“We use a live finger scanner and DSL digital camera to ensure the right quality of data. It is stored in a government data center securely. During the usage of biometric identification, only templates generated by specific algorithms will be shared to service providers, for instance the NDI wallet. Raw images will not be shared.”

“Facial and fingerprints are unique to each individual like other biometrics like iris, palm prints, palm veins, so we use it as an added feature to identify and authenticate the person who is claiming to be online. With biometrics, we can ensure that the right person is identified.”

The facial biometric including demographic data will be used for onboarding to NDI wallet. When users on-board, they need to take a selfie. To ensure that a person is a live person, and is not using some fake photographs, he or she has to fulfill a liveness test, for example, move one’s head in some direction based on the instructions on the phone screen. Once the liveliness detection is confirmed, the facial matching will be carried out with the selfie photo and image store in DCRC to confirm the identity.

The biometric data was collected as a means to provide authentication services to citizens, which is stored in a secure facility in the government data center. Biometrics are utilized for cross-matching and cross-verification of the same data provided by an individual while onboarding to ecosystem like Bhutan NDI. The raw image which is a data will never be shared with services providers who use the biometric data.

GovTech stated that during the collection of data, fingerprints for some people were difficult to collect. For the current NDI project, they will be using facial recognition and NDI wallet which works with smartphones.

“Those individuals who don’t have and don’t know how to use smartphones, they will be provided with a bio-code on NDI card and they can use it to access their credentials, when they visit nearby counters or these individuals can also authorize someone on their behalf as guardians to use the NDI wallet. Biometrics feature of phones can be used to authenticate besides the PIN code authentication”.

The Department of Immigration is using fingerprints for processing work permits currently. In the upcoming Border Management Solutions, along with the NDI wallet, biometrics are also being explored to be used for verification during entry and exit at the port, for instance the Pedestrian’s Terminals in Phuentsholing.

Other agency specific initiatives will also be explored in the future to make access to services more efficient if it can be done so in a safe manner.

Depending on the requirements, we can explore iris, palmprint and palm veins or combination of these multimodal biometric in the future depending on the utility provided and the safety of data necessary.

During the nationwide collection of biometric, 432,911 individuals data were collected.

Check Also

RBP proposes Nu 95 mn for CCTV cameras with AI features for Safe City and Neighborhood project

A project called ‘Safe City and Neighborhood’ is being proposed in the 13th FYP under …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *