June 30, 2022

Phone and SIM card change planned for South Africa

The Impartial Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has proposed tying the biometric information of South Africans to their SIM playing cards in a transfer to clamp down on fraudulent exercise.

In observe, which means fingerprint mapping, facial recognition, retina scans and biometric information might all be tied to an individual’s SIM card – and by extension their telephone quantity.

This has led to considerations in South Africa about elevated surveillance and further avenues for id theft – though this virtually actually received’t be the case says Gur Geva,  chief government of biometric firm iiDENTIFii.

“As a result of biometric expertise solely began making its approach into the mainstream comparatively just lately, customers are nonetheless not sure of what the expertise entails and the way it could also be used. This, naturally, results in some misconceptions and fears.

“The reality is that opt-in biometrics are the most secure way to identify someone – and keep their information and identity safe from misuse – and these differ a great deal from biometrics used for surveillance.”

A brand new sort of biometrics 

Geva mentioned that Icasa’s proposal, and the kind of biometrics at present turning into extra mainstream, is known as ‘remote biometric onboarding’.

“It’s opt-in verification and account authentication as opposed to surveillance. Remote biometric onboarding links a person’s biometric data, whether their face or fingerprint, to their account so that they, and only they, can access the account safely and securely,” Geva mentioned.

From a privateness perspective, it’s not that totally different from present identification strategies, he mentioned.

“When someone has a copy of your ID, they already have your biometric data – an image of your face. How biometric data is managed by mobile operators would still be subject to strict privacy laws laid out in the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines.”

He added that the common individual has round 80 passwords. Passwords they neglect, passwords which are compromised, and passwords that don’t switch between gadgets.

“Biometrics, alternatively, present a seamless expertise the place onboarding now not requires account particulars, an ID ebook, fingerprints, and extra.

“Now, you can add your ID number, hold your phone up to your face for liveness detection, and link your SIM. And yet, it’s safer, because no one except you will be able to perform a SIM swap or take out an additional line without this direct biometric link.”

This security and comfort imply the identification technique will grow to be rather more mainstream, and quickly, he mentioned.

Two-factor authentication might be changed by proof of liveness and a fingerprint, for instance, and even social media might grow to be safer.

“At the moment, solely superstar social media accounts get verified, and even then, not biometrically. However everybody ought to have the power to indicate that their account is really theirs. The quantity of bot accounts is materials– because the due diligence on Elon Musk’s Twitter deal proved.

“These fake accounts can be used to push the same message, thousands at a time, regardless of the accuracy of the message. That could be prevented,”


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