Photo verification technology
The NSW government is exploring ways in which photo verification technology can be implemented across government services including health, education and everyday activities, to provide you with safer and more accessible services.
The NSW Government will pilot photo verification to allow you to complete government transactions and services online. The closed pilot will run for a finite period and be assessed before any further introduction of the technology. Learnings from the pilot will be used to inform any future use of photo verification, with customer protection enshrined in legislation prior to any subsequent roll-out.
What is photo verification?
Photo verification is a way of confirming your identity using your face. Photo verification services offer proof of identity while improving the security of identity information. The first step in the photo verification process is liveness detection, which ensures that there is a real person present at the point of image capture. This is a very important security feature that prevents fraudulent use and abuse of this the photo verification process. The second step is called photo matching, or comparing the liveness assured facial image with an existing record such as your driver's licence. The process takes a couple of seconds, is seamless and easy to use, making it ideal for everyone, including people with disabilities.
How photo verification works
Photo verification confirms the identity you are claiming to be. You will know it’s occurring as you are in full control, and it is respectful of your privacy.
Your privacy will always be protected:
- You provide consent if you choose to use photo verification – the choice is yours.
- It is only ever initiated by you.
- Photos are never stored.
The technology will match a photo you take of yourself with a reference photo, like a driver’s licence. As soon as the images are successfully matched, the selfie and any photo verification data will be instantly and safely destroyed.
Photo verification and the verification system works on a large technical algorithm where face features are read online. The basic steps include:
Step 1. A picture of your face is captured online during the verification process.
Step 2. Photo verification software reads the geometry of your face. Key factors include the distance between your eyes, the distance from forehead to chin and many more biometric factors. The software system identifies a large number of facial landmarks which are key to distinguishing your face. This results in your facial signature.
Step 3. Your facial signature ‘a mathematical formula’ — is compared to your pre-existing photo data which is present in Government databases like NSW Transport Driving licenses, your Australia Passport or Government Photo ID. Overall, the Photo Verification System (PVS) compares a person’s face against a pre-existing photo in the government-issued identity document database.
Step 4. A final verification and determination decision is made by software, and results are displayed.
What data does the NSW government keep during the photo verification process?
During the photo verification process, Service NSW does not keep nor permanently store any face image to verify or identify you. The government agency that originally collected your personal information when issuing your identity document will continue to hold it.