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France green-lights biometric medical ID

Upcoming centralization.

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French data protection agency CNIL has greenlit the use of facial biometrics for the verification of users of the country’s upcoming digital health card, the Carte Vitale.

According to a report by French news outlet The Connexion, CNIL claims that facial recognition will make the health card app more “secure.” However, facial recognition on the Carte Vitale app will only be used until the country’s upcoming national digital ID, the France Identite, is available.

France Identite will replace or complement traditional physical identity cards.

Carte Vitale is aimed at replacing physical health cards. Last fall, the app was trialed in several regions. During the trial, users verified their identities using selfies.

To access health services, users in the trial scanned their digital health cards using a QR code or NFC (near-field communication) technology.

Aside from approving the use of facial recognition in Carte Vitale, CNIL has also approved its wide rollout. The government plans to make the health app available to all health-insured people living in France by the end of 2025.

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