A locally developed smartphone app by Fides Cloud Technologies aims to allow individuals and businesses to verify the identity of any South African resident by taking photographs of their fingerprints.

MyBroadband reports that WhoYou was recently launched in South Africa, following a previously released Windows cloud-based application, operating on Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 and used by various corporate clients.

The WhoYou mobile app is currently available for Android devices, with an iOS app, currently in an advanced stage of development, to be released soon.

How it works

Using biometric imaging and smartphone camera technology, WhoYou users take a picture of the thumbprints of the individual whose identity they want to verify. This biometric data is then compared to the National Population Register, maintained by the Department of Home Affairs, instantly returning a confirmation of someone’s identity details, together with their photo.

The app was developed to fight identity fraud – currently a significant problem in the country – by allowing any individual and business to verify a person’s identity. This ability was previously only available to larger organisations like banks and network operators.

Speaking to MyBroadband, the business development director at WhoYou, Craig Hills, said that the app is a cheaper solution to organisations and individuals seeking to confirm whether the identity of a person they are dealing with is legitimate.

“WhoYou gives every South African the ability to confirm everybody else’s identity biometrically, without any specialised equipment or upfront costs. This, in turn, will further help boost trust in transactions across various environments,” said Hills.

Thanks to an embedded anti-spoofing algorithm, together with liveness detection, would-be fraudsters won’t be able to fool the app by presenting, for example, a printed photo of someone else’s thumbs. No fingerprints are stored on the device, and a request for ID validation is sent over a secure internet protocol.

The app is fully compliant with the South African Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), and anyone who uses WhoYou is required to save all 10 of their fingerprints on the app for NPR verification before they are allowed to verify the identities of other people. Users are also required to log in with their fingerprints every time they use the app.

Before a person’s fingerprints are scanned by WhoYou, they will have to give consent and accept the terms and conditions of the app. WhoYou can work in areas with data connectivity issues, and the app is light on data.

The app charges R14.99 per verification and can be used on an ad hoc-basis, without users having to pay a subscription fee.

WhoYou is targeted at insurers that handle claims processing, retailers who allow customers to open accounts, and any individual who would like to verify the identity of service providers at their home or businesses. It may also be used for debit order authentication purposes. WhoYou can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

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