Rostelecom, RTLabs, VTB present a Unified Biometric System (EBS) prototype

6 October

Introducing EBS will help create an infrastructure for digital economy

A presentation of the Unified Biometric System (EBS) was made at Rostelecom’s demo platform at the FINOPOLIS Innovative Financial Technologies Forum, which took place in Sochi on 5-6 October. Rostelecom’s President Mikhail Oseyevsky personally showed the Chairman of the Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina how the System operates, the user registration scenario and the subsequent remote user identification. To demonstrate the functionalities of a biometric platform, Rostelecom and its subsidiary RTLabs, with the participation of the VTB Group, have developed a prototype of a retail office and a mobile bank.
The unified biometric system is a digital platform that is able to remotely identify an individual by their biometric parameters. Its development was originally initiated by the Central Bank of Russia and the Russian Telecom Ministry, with a working group formed to include representatives from the Central Bank, the Telecom Ministry and a number of banks.
‘With the Unified Biometric System, banks will be able to remotely open accounts for new customers, transform retail offices, making an important and secure step towards digital banking,’ said Ivan Berov, Director for Digital Identity, Rostelecom.
For reasons of maximum security and reliability, EBS uses a multimodal model that can process a range of biometric parameters. Currently used are two types of modality: voice identification and a digital cast of the face visuals. Going forward, the system will be complemented by other biometric identification components, which will help expand its application area and raise the level of security.
"The Unified Biometric System is intended primarily for banks and financial organizations. In the future, it could be used in healthcare (telemedicine), online education, e-commerce, retail or federal and municipal services. It is worth noting that EBS is integrated with ESIA and will serve as a building block for Digital Economy, on a PPP principle,’ said Mikhail Bondarenko, E-Government Director at Rostelecom.
Among those who pilot-tested the system were Alexey Kozyrev, Deputy Minister of Telecom; Elman Mehtiev, Executive Vice President of the Association of Russian Banks; Olga Dergunova, Deputy Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank; Andrey Yemelin, Chairman of the National Council for the Financial Market and other Forum participants and visitors.
‘We regard biometrics as a forward-looking technology. It will make complicated transactions simpler for clients who now have to visit physical bank branches or contact the call centre in person. This will logically make mobile banking more attractive and will help expand the number of online services,’ said Deputy Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank Olga Dergunova.
To make EBS operational, it is required to change Federal Law 115-FZ On Countering Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. These amendments are absolutely essential for implementing the Unified Biometric System and will facilitate successful delivery of the Digital Economy Programme adopted by the Russian Government.
On 27 September 2017, the bill passed the first reading at the Duma where it was backed by all MPs.
Full-scale implementation of EBS will help put in place a critical infrastructure for digital economy. EBS is expected to be commissioned in mid-2018.