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Biometrics is playing a pivotal role in use cases that extend far beyond border management.

Moreover, as Isabelle Moeller, chief executive of the Biometrics Institute, outlines these emerging applications are being driven and shaped by an equally diverse array of factors.

Let's discover these new trends in biometrics.​


​​​From border management to banking and mobile commerce

Biometric Trends, an interview with Isabelle Moeller, CEO Biometrics Institute

As Isabelle explains, sectors, including banking and mobile commerce, demonstrate a real appetite for the benefits of biometrics.

To further illustrate Isabelle's comments, we selected some of the most evolutionary changes experienced in the field of biometrics in the past months.

  • A report from the NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) member notes banks have also been mandated to use facial and voice recognition technologies for online identity verification.
  • A similar scheme is underway in Mexico, where the National Banking and Security Commission has issued a rule demanding every bank in the country introduce fingerprint scanners for clients within the next twelve months.
  • In 2017 the Indian government announced that, in the future, Indian citizens would need to link Aadhaar to PAN (Permanent Account Numbers – issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes), bank accounts. The same obligation applies to a diverse range of savings and investment schemes. One of the major Aadhar changes​ is also the launch of facial authentication in July 2018.
    Given that the Aadhaar number is inextricably linked to the holder's unique biometric data, marrying it to key financial accounts provides a powerful means of meeting KYC (Know Your Customer) obligations, as well as tackling modern menaces such as money laundering and tax evasion.
    Around 558 million bank accounts have already been linked with Aadhaar. The total number of bank accounts in the country, as per estimates, is about 1.1 billion.
  • In Russia, the central bank has started to roll out a major biometrics program named as "Unified Biometrics System​" (UBS) in summer 2017. A state-owned firm, Rostelecom, will run the database that will collect face, voice, iris, and fingerprint data across the country. In February 2018, Rostelecom, together with Tinkoff Bank, VTB Bank, and Pochta Bank, has presented a beta version of its "UBS", a digital platform developed at the request of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media and the Bank of Russia.

She also highlights that, in different parts of the world, different issues are coming into play.


Local factors shape a global future for biometrics.

In South America, for example, fighting fraud is a clear priority: not just in the financial services domain but also in other potentially vulnerable businesses such as car rental.

  • Brazil, in particular, decided to move forward. Previously, the Brazilian Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) was granted the right to collect biometric data for voter identification as a means to prevent fraud. In early 2017 the government has announced it wants the TSE to collect biometric data from 140 million​ citizens by 2020 with a final goal of creating a single citizen database and unified ID card.

In the developing world, the need to provide citizens with irrefutable proof of identity is critical in terms of widening access to bank accounts, government services, and much more besides.

In Western Europe and the US, meanwhile, the threat of terrorism continues to loom large.


Biometrics is no magic bullet.

Not surprisingly, Isabelle recognizes the potential for further innovation. At the same time, she cautions against the idea that biometrics represents any magic bullet.

An approach of multi-factor authentication is certainly, in most cases, the better way to go.

In other words,  however compelling the technology, retaining trust and confidence in the years ahead will demand that stakeholders treat biometrics as one element of a much broader, multi-layered identification and verification toolkit.


The Biometrics Institute

Founded in 2001, the Biometrics Institute is the leading representative body for this rapidly evolving international industry. As such, it is ideally placed to identify the key trends that are influencing the roll-out of biometric techniques such as fingerprint, face, and voice recognition - and the likely shape of things to come.

Its mission is to promote the responsible use of biometrics in an independent and impartial international forum for biometric users and other interested parties.

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