The Indonesian government is developing a facial recognition system to identify passengers using its transportation system.
According to reporting by Antara News, the ministry is piloting the facial recognition system with state-run airport operator PT Angkasa Pura and state-owned train service provider PT Kereta Api Indonesia.
Gambir Station, a large train station in the capital of Jakarta, has been using facial recognition technology at four boarding gates since May 17, 2023, according to the publication’s sources.
Passengers boarding trains through one of the four gates are not required to show their identity cards or tickets.
As of June 5, 2023, seven train stations in the country have utilized the technology: Gambir Station, Bandung Station, Yogyakarta Station, Surabaya Gubeng Station, Malang Station, Cirebon Station, and Semarang Tawang Station.
Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas said the new measure is in line with the goals of current President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin of “realizing impactful digital public service reforms.”
This includes plans to establish a country-wide “Digital MPP,” an all-in-one application, which integrates various digital public services, in line with the country’s Electronic-Based Government System (SPBE) policy, meaning Indonesian citizens will only need to make one account to access various public services.
Indonesia has been looking to attract significant amounts of funding to support its digital identity rollout.
It was reported in January 2023, that Indonesia may receive $250 million in funding from the World Bank Group’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which would be used to improve the country’s civil registration and increase the use of biometric digital identification for accessing public and private sector services.
The use of facial recognition to pay for access and public transportation is being used elsewhere in the Global South.
However, the introduction of facial recognition on public transportation has stirred controversy elsewhere.
In 2022, a court in São Paulo, Brazil called for a stop to the implementation of SecurOS FaceX in the city’s metro stations, claiming it violated citizens’ right to privacy.