A bill that requires banks to share clients’ biometric data with the state has been adopted by lawmakers of Russia’s lower house of parliament.
EuroWeekly reports that the development, first posted on Russian journalist Alexander Khinstein’s Telegram account, is part of efforts by Russia to ensure people with disabilities and those living in remote areas have access to digital services anywhere across the federation.
If ultimately enacted, the biometrics would have to be duplicated in Russia’s know-your customer Unified Biometric System. No consent would be needed from bank customers.
There have been privacy, use and storage concerns with the face biometrics database since it was launched in 2018 and was considered fully operational in 2020.
State police and intelligence services have access to the UBS, proof enough for some that the government is using it for covert surveillance.
The government would be obligated to report data leaks.
Such a report, according to the bill, would have to be done within a day of the discovery of the leak and three days for the government to make public steps it has taken in response after an internal probe, according to EuroWeekly.
Lifestyle publisher Aroged writes that the move is designed to get more organizations to access the UBS and to expand the use of biometrics-based payment.
Russia recently said it is setting up a facial recognition surveillance system along its borders with Ukraine and in other neighbouring territories under its control, with the aim of detecting and prosecuting acts of terrorism.