Expert discusses the solutions to identity theft

Expert discusses the solutions to identity theft

Wednesday, 16 September, is International Identity Day. Gur Geva, co-CEO of iiDENTIFii, discusses how the country can tackle the issue of identity theft and ensure individuals are protected. 

South African birth certificate and Identity document
South African birth certificate and Identity document/ iStock

Identity continues to be a polarising topic in Africa, and in response, the international community has sought the creation of an ‘International Identity Day’, celebrated on 16 September 2020, to encourage debate around African identity and individual empowerment.

Teki Akuetteh Falconer, from the African Digital Rights' Hub, a non-profit organisation that promotes research and advocacy on digital rights across the African continent, sees digital identity systems (facial recognition/biometrics) and data privacy, in a push pull scenario.

Falconer advises that the top concerns around facial recognition services are:

 READ: Ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft

1.     Identity fraud

2.     The non-consensual use of a digital identity

3.     Invasion of privacy for nefarious purposes

4.     Racial profiling

5.     Threat of neo-colonialism

While some of these concerns may seem far away, South Africans need to face facts. The South African Fraud Prevention Service reported that within a single year, identity fraud rose by 99%, with impersonation fraud being a top concern.

“Your identity is a tool for empowerment,” says Gur Geva, co-CEO of iiDENTIFii, the market leader in remote biometric identity. “Without a legitimate identity (ID) your ability to function as an empowered citizen is threatened. Basic rights such as access to housing, hospital care and education are at risk and, in many cases, lost due to illegal activities. It is critical your identity remains safeguarded.”

A biometric software solution that is effective needs to be calibrated to suit the needs of the public first and critical business services will follow. This is why it is imperative that businesses adopt a robust Know Your Client (KYC) mentality.

Geva says every country is different and as such, biometric solutions cannot be an ‘off the shelf’ technology.

“Open source coding with biometrics is not recommended as this code can be easily hacked leaving users’ private data and actual identities vulnerable,” he says. Best practice demands that facial comparisons need a solid three-step verification process that not only focuses on imagery rendered by a true liveness ‘selfie’, but various pictures of identity documents too, such as an ID card and a department of home affairs image.

“At iiDENTIFii we have a secure channel with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) which means that our biometric software solution is not only able to digitally ID the person in front of you, but verifies them against legitimate ID documents sitting at the DHA.”

Geva concludes that without a collaborative effort between the individual, business and government, identity fraud will continue to wreak havoc - not only on a macro-economic level, but also at a micro-economic level leaving the victim of the identity target economically disenfranchised.

Image courtesy of iStock/ @Matthew de Lange

Article source/@Craving Novity

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