In ‘The Future of GovTech’ series, we highlight tech startups with the potential to solve public sector challenges and transform the public services we all use. This week we look at biometric identification team Eyn.
What is the future of ID verification?
“Roughly speaking, over the last decade, the biometric passport or national ID has become the norm: most passports, especially in the West, are already biometric-chip-enabled,” answers Hasan Sheikh Faridul. “The future of electronic-ID is already here.”
Hasan is co-founder of Eyn, a GovStart startup pioneering a new form of tech-enhanced identity verification. Having combined with fellow cofounder Mohamed Ben Arbia at Entrepreneur First, his early stage company takes the traditional modes of identity authentication and gives them a twist.
Whereas most modern systems of identity verification rely on documentation or knowledge keys (a passport or password, for example), Eyn combines these with biometric data — the very physical properties of who the user is. Most significant of all, the verification tool transfers this advanced identification to your pocket, shrinking your average airport scanner to an app and the camera on your smartphone.
“Advanced [verification] technologies are being deployed in large organisations such as national police forces and airports,” comments Hasan. “Mohamed and I saw the opportunity to democratise these technologies for consumers, making our lives easier and safer.”
Eyn’s three-step verification process is bafflingly simple: the user takes a picture of their passport, taps their phone against their passport chip, and takes a biometry-detecting selfie — perfect for the millennial generation. “Billions of smartphones available today,” notes Hasan, “can start using secure facial-recognition technology. “
“Identity theft will be a thing of the past…”
Which public services could benefit from smartphone-supplied identity verification? The answer is most. Logging-in to almost all government services requires identity authentication. As everything from taxes to applying for social welfare moves online, the need for secure digital verification only grows. Eyn could provide one solution for keeping these processes protected.
“In ten years’ time, ID verification and authentication will be provided in one-go, from a smartphone, allowing ‘log-in’ to everything from government services, to banking, to border control. People will control their identity, able to see real-time who can access their personal information — with the ability to revoke access at any time. Identity theft will be a thing of the past.”
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