Eduardo Azanza, CEO of Veridas, has exposed in the spanish Senate the opportunities provided by European and Spanish regulations with respect to the new technological, disruptive and social realities.
Speech: regulation of the new technological, disruptive and social realities.
Today, Thursday, April 29th, Eduardo Azanza, CEO of Veridas, has participated in the “Study paper on the adoption of a regulation of new technological, disruptive and social realities” framed in the Committee on Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation in the Senate. In his intervention, as an expert in biometrics and Artificial Intelligence, he has analyzed the past, present and future of one of the fundamental rights of human beings: the right to identity.
Cyber fraud crimes are already 25% of those reported. The personal data of 533 million Facebook users is leaked online. Nearly 20% of Spanish 14-year-olds have gambled money in a gambling hall…
These are headlines and, above all, facts that have been with us for years and whose criminal base is the same: the usurpation and/or non-verification of people’s identity. We currently have weak tools to verify our identity, since it is assumed by manual verifications or credentials of fragile security such as passwords, coordinate cards or SMS.
In his speech, Eduardo Azanza highlighted the importance of “Digital Identity which, in this context, refers to the possibility of exercising the right to claim our individual identity, unequivocally, in order to operate and access all kinds of information and perform transactions securely in the Internet environment, in such a way that trust on both sides of the screen is maximized.” “We live immersed in a technological change, accelerated by the pandemic, and therefore it is essential to provide us with instruments to make this Digital Transformation secure, private and reliable, for which instruments must be articulated to exercise our Real Identity,” added Azanza during the presentation in the Senate.
It is up to the states to secure and protect the identities of citizens. European (Regulation (EU) 2016/679 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the eIDAS Regulation or the PSD2 Payment Services Directive) and state regulations (such as Law 6/2020) provide ironclad, secure and reliable tools to protect our identities and thus give freedom to citizens, companies and administrations to develop and face a great common challenge: secure, reliable and socially impactful Digital Transformation.
From presumption to certainty thanks to biometrics and Artificial Intelligence
Modern biometric technology, thanks to its accuracy, ease of use, security and privacy, allows exercising identity in the digital space in a univocal and secure way. This technology allows a person to perform a digital operation and be accredited univocally to his person, providing all the legal certainty, avoiding fraud and identity theft, in addition to having all convenience to operate in the digital space, improving the efficiency of public administrations and companies, avoiding waste of time, resources and unnecessary travel, reducing the carbon footprint of each transaction.
Eduardo Azanza has highlighted that biometric verification systems (that an individual verifies against himself (1:1)) and identification systems (that search for an individual within a list (1:N)) “do not allow inferring other characteristics of the subject such as behaviours, attitudes, emotions, tendencies, gender, ethnicity, skin colours, etc., nor do they imply the classification of the person in a profile that can determine future characteristics or behaviours. Biometric systems based on artificial intelligence help make more informed and confident decisions; properly configured, they are less prone to error and bias than humans.”
The use of biometric recognition systems has spread in recent years in many sectors, obtaining a very good reception from users. With the most significant guarantees, it allows covering the objective of identifying or authenticating a person’s identity. Of the three elements that have been differentiated when talking about user authentication (possession, knowledge and inherence), inherence is undoubtedly the only one that can provide certainty, while the other two remain in the presumption.
In his speech, Eduardo Azanza highlighted the proposed “Regulation with a European approach to Artificial Intelligence” (published on April 21, 2021 by the European Commission) in which emphasis is placed on what is called “High Risk” applications, including remote Biometric Identification (1:N) systems (meaning that the individual may be being identified without being aware of it). “This regulation proposal does not intend to regulate, nor prohibit Artificial Intelligence or the technology itself, but rather proposes a regulation of some specific applications of that Artificial Intelligence, intending to thus ensure that the rights and freedoms of citizens are always respected,” Azanza concluded in his speech.
Presuming that any use of biometrics is unlawful and may infringe fundamental rights is not justified. There are institutions charged with the mission of defending rights (judges, courts, supervisory authorities such as the spanish AEPD, etc.). They should be the ones to differentiate between lawful and unlawful cases, between technologies that respect privacy and those that are invasive.