Kiwibank seeks biometric ID system as iGovt decision looms

Internal Affairs seeks 'trusted organisation' with branch network as iGovt registry

Kiwibank has started shopping for a biometric system that could let it photograph and fingerprint people, suggesting it could become the organisation that will enrol people in the Government's $122 million iGovt identity verification scheme. Kiwibank's head of agency services Mandy Smith said the system would not necessarily be used by people who banked with Kiwibank and its focus was on verifying the identity of people on behalf of other public and private sector clients. "We are increasingly being asked by our clients, mostly in the public sector, about biometric capability." Internal Affairs has been seeking a "trusted organisation" with an extensive branch network to register iGovt users and encourage uptake of the system since February. IGovt manager Andrea Gray said it intended to pick a partner by Christmas. IGovt is designed to make it possible for people to prove their identity to government agencies and private sector organisations, such as banks, using a single user name and password. To use the service, people would first need to register in person at a branch. They would either register their mobile phone number, so they could be texted with a one-off code to key in when accessing a secure service online, or be issued with a hardware token similar to those issued by banks to authenticate internet banking transactions. Ms Smith said photo capture was the focus of its invitation to suppliers, but it would also be asking them about other biometric technologies such as fingerprinting and voice recognition. Some overseas banks were looking at identifying telebanking customers by analysing their speech and overseas high commissions were increasingly interested in how biometric technology could improve visa and border control, she said. "Postal organisations around the world are all looking at similar opportunities."

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