Biometrics and Advanced Analytics Should Define Data Security Strategy for Governments

With the recent security breaches that rocked the UIDAI earlier this year, shows that public services agencies are one of the most targeted entities and under constant threat of data theft. In such a scenario, these government and public agencies have to be in top shape when it comes data security, it goes without saying.

The top two technologies that can help these agencies protect their data include biometrics and advanced analytics. This is according to the recent Accenture report Emerging Technologies in Public Service. It states that biometrics and advanced analytics are changing the way governments and public service agencies are addressing data security and privacy concerns.

In fact, recently UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey has claimed to have put in place advanced biometric technology to ensure more secure authentication process. He said in an interview recently that the security measures have been updated based on latest technologies available in the market.

The technologies that make the government agencies secure

After surveying nearly 800 public service technology professionals from nine countries in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Accenture found that technologies like advanced analytics, predictive modeling, the internet of things, intelligent process automation, video analytics, biometrics/ identity analytics, machine learning and natural language processing/generation, being looked at seriously or being piloted within the government agencies to make sure data is secure and breaches can be prevented.

Government agencies with the most direct interaction with citizens or the greatest responsibility for citizen-facing services such as health and social services, policing/justice, revenue, border services, administration and pensions / social security stand to gain from using these technologies. In fact, the survey showed that over 73 percent of the respondents cited improved data security and privacy protection as the top benefit anticipated by investing in emerging technologies.

“As public service and government agencies continue to collect and monitor increasing amounts of data, it becomes increasingly critical to take every possible step to protect not only the quality and collection of the data, but to protect all information that could identify individual citizens as well. Advanced analytic technologies are essential to achieving this goal,” said Terry Hemken, who leads Accentur’s Health & Public Service Analytics Insights for Government business.

Biometrics is the technology of choice

The industry sector citing the highest adoption rate of biometric technologies is public safety, at 51 percent, followed closely by respondents from pension and social security agencies (48 percent). Just over one-third (36 percent) of border agencies said they were deploying biometric technologies.

“Biometrics-based security solutions working in combination with analytics technologies offer government agencies powerful, and previously unavailable, real-time identification and authentication capabilities, enhancing both the security and understanding of data. This enables a new level of customer service, essentially building government services around the citizen, not the institution,” said Ger Daly, who leads Accenture’s Defense & Public Safety business.

The study shows that biometric solutions are in high demand and in widespread use, with e-passports and iris recognition being implemented most frequently. In fact, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents reported that they are piloting, implementing or researching the use of biometrics and identity analytics. According to the survey, countries in the APAC region showed high inclination towards deploying biometrics. 68 percent of the respondents in countries like Singapore and Australia were in the process of implementing biometric technologies.

As a matter of fact, for UIDAI biometric technology is already in place and is being implemented for better security. In his interview to CNBC TV 18, while talking about how biometric is being used with UIDAI, Pandey said, “We have also started authentication service where you can give your Aadhaar number and give your biometric and then our system will tell yes and no.” The UIDAI uses the biometric authentication for confirming a person’s identity, and to also provide e-KYC document to persons who do not have any other ID proofs required for official purposes.

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