Netherlands using face tech with digital ID pilot
20 July 2018 11:13 GMT

The Dutch government is starting an experiment in Autumn with digital identity cards - in which you can identify yourself with an app on your phone - in Utrecht and Eindhoven.

This way of identification does not only increase safety and privacy, but also convenience, project leader Johan Pouwelse of TU Delft believes, Eindhovens Dagblad reports. 

The app uses a special variant of blockchain technology called Trustchain, which Pouwelse and his team at TU Delft developed themselves. The app can only be opened with biometric data - with facial recognition or a fingerprint scan. Once the app is activated with a face scan, a QR code is generated, which is scanned by the person who needs the identification. The person being identified can decide what information is revealed. So if you want to get into a bar, for example, you can decide to only show your name and age. 

"The advantage of the digital ID is that you can decide for yourself which data is available" Pouwelse said to the newspaper. "When you rent a boat now, you have to hand over a copy of your passport. With all the risks that entails. Digitally you can screen off data, while there is still a signature of the state. Your privacy is much larger with a digital ID, while it is at least as safe as a passport or a driver's license." In addition to safety and privacy, convenience is a big reason for this experiment. "The new generation only has a telephone, with which they communicate and pay. Soon you can also show who you are."

Inhabitants of Utrecht and Eindhoven who want to participate in this experiment will soon be able to download the app and go to their city hall to have a recording made of their face. If the experiment is successful, the intention is that the digital ID will be introduced nationwide. How long the experiment will last and how many people will participate is not yet clear. "We have to have customers and the infrastructure has to work. We are now in discussion with catering entrepreneurs and retailers", Pouwelse said to the newspaper.