France, First Country in EU With Facial Recognition ID System

France is set to be the first country in the European Union to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a digital identity.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government said it wants the state to be more competent and is, therefore, driving plans to disclose in November the ID program in the form of an application designated by the label Alicem.

The application, only functioning on Android will be the only mode for residents to create a legal digital ID, and facial recognition will be their unique way to do so.

An ID will be generated via a one-time enrollment that works by comparing a user’s photo in their biometric passport to a selfie video taken on the app that will catch expressions, movements, and angles. The phone and the passport will establish contact through their embedded chips.

France’s data regulator says the country is violating Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which makes free choice mandatory, and a privacy organization, La Quadrature du Net, went against the decision in July, before the highest administrative court.

“The government wants to funnel people to use Alicem and facial recognition,” said Martin Drago, a lawyer member of the privacy group that. “We’re heading into mass usage of facial recognition. There’s little interest in the importance of consent and choice.”

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