Facial recognition soon used in France for public services online

Alicem is a smartphone application developed by the Ministry of the Interior and the National Agency for Secured Securities (ANTS). According to Bloomberg, she would arrive in November and allow the French to connect to various public services through facial recognition.

If anyone tells you about a government that wants to identify all citizens through facial recognition, you may think first of all about China. However, it is indeed the government of Emmanuel Macron who intends to set up this system to access services such as the Family Allowances Fund ( CAF ) or taxes.

Thanks to an application called Alicem, or Mobile Authentication Online Mobile, facial recognition will be used to create a secure digital identity to access the dematerialized administrations and will offer no alternative. For now, only users of Android devices will have access. The device will compare the photo of the biometric passport with a video that users will have to create, from multiple angles and showing multiple expressions.

A launch as early as November

The government is trying to reassure that facial recognition data will only be used to create a digital identity, and will be erased without being disclosed to third parties. However, La Quadrature du Net has already launched an appeal before the Council of State in July, and the CNIL has issued a negative opinion on the basis of the RGPD, especially in the absence of an alternative to facial recognition, effectively excluding free consent.

The government is touting the security of the device, a very uncomfortable statement, given that it took only 75 minutes to hack the state’s messaging earlier this year, or that a simple phishing attack made it possible to change thousands of statements online. The opposition raised did not slow down the program. On the contrary, according to Bloomberg, the launch initially planned around Christmas was advanced in November.