Quebec Government Mulls Biometric Options for Digital ID Program

Biometrics News - Quebec Government Mulls Digital ID for Citizens by 2021

The Quebec Government has begun looking into the creation of a digital identity profile for every citizen to increase the security of private data.

Éric Caire, the minister for government digital transformation, said he has begun looking for a private company to help the government realize the goal of replacing outdated methods of identification such as plastic medicare cards and drivers’ licenses.

“I think everyone would agree that the use of the social insurance number (as an identification for services) is an out-of-date system,” Caire said. “We have to find other methods, more current and safer, to create a real identity,” he added.

Caire said that the government has been considering this move for some time, but the recent major data leaks from credit giant Desjardins Insurance that exposed more than 4 million customers’ data has put more urgency behind getting the project done.

“I think today we need to be very, very aware of the value of data,” Caire said. “When I say data is the petroleum of the 21st century it is exactly that. It is coveted. (Attacks on data are) a threat, it is a huge threat and we must address it in future cyber-security policies.

“The threat is as much outside as inside (organizations). We put a lot of efforts in warding off outside threats but maybe we under-estimated the internal threat (by unscrupulous workers). Look at recent events: The security breach emerged from the inside. We are very aware of this and will focus on this more.”

In order to ensure the security of citizen’s data and authenticate their identity, Caire indicated that biometric identification may be used for the new digital profiles. Tools like voice or facial recognition could be used to prevent identity theft.

“If I take your fingerprint, your voiceprint, facial recognition … these markers can help ensure we are talking to the right person,” he explained.

Sources: The Montreal Gazette, CBC

December 12, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis