Singapore will become the world’s first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy advocates are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse.
From next year, millions of people living in the city-state will be able to access government agencies, banking services and other amenities with a quick face scan.
This biometric check will do away with the need to remember a password or security dongle when performing many everyday tasks, its creators say.
It is part of the financial hub’s drive to harness technology, from ramping up the use of electronic payments to research on driverless transport.
Singapore authorities are frequently accused of targeting government critics and taking a hard line on dissent, and activists are concerned about how the face scanning tech will be used.
“We want to be innovative in applying technology for the benefit of our citizens and businesses,” Kwok Quek Sin, who works on digital identification at Singapore’s technology agency GovTech, told AFP.
Facial verification has already been adopted in various forms around the world, with Apple and Google implementing the technology for tasks like unlocking phones and making payments.
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