Biometrics and advanced analytics revolutionizing how governments address data security and privacy, Accenture report finds

Via Accenture Newsroom

Aug 9, 2017

Biometrics and Advanced Analytics Revolutionizing How Governments Address Data Security and Privacy, Accenture Report Finds

ARLINGTON, Va.; Aug. 9, 2017: Biometrics and advanced analytics are helping to revolutionize the way governments and public service agencies are addressing data security and privacy concerns, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The report, Emerging Technologies in Public Service, examines the adoption of emerging technologies across government agencies with the most direct interaction with citizens or the greatest responsibility for citizen-facing services such as health and social services, policing/justice, revenue, border services, administration and pensions / social security.

As part of the report, Accenture surveyed nearly 800 public service technology professionals from nine countries in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific to identify emerging technologies that are being implemented or piloted. These technologies include advanced analytics, predictive modeling, the internet of things, intelligent process automation, video analytics, biometrics/ identity analytics, machine learning and natural language processing/generation.

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Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents cited Improved data security and privacy protection as the top benefit anticipated by investing in emerging technologies. This is true across all service sectors represented in the survey.

While two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents from border agencies expect to see increased protection benefits by adopting emerging technologies, an even greater number of respondents from social security and revenue agencies –84 percent and 76 percent, respectively –cited it as their top anticipated benefit, according to the report. Revenue, pension and social security agencies emphasized the potential of reducing risk and improving fraud prevention as key benefits for implementing analytics and biometric technologies.

“As public service and government agencies continue to collect and monitor increasing amounts of data, it becomes increasingly critical to take every possible step to protect not only the quality and collection of the data, but to protect all information that could identify individual citizens as well. Advanced analytic technologies are essential to achieving this goal,” said Terry Hemken, who leads Accenture’s Health & Public Service Analytics Insights for Government business.

Survey results also show that 71 percent of respondents said they are currently deploying advanced analytics and predictive modelling solutions. The industry sectors citing the highest levels of adoption of data analytics solutions are revenue and social services (81 percent and 80 percent, respectively), followed by border agencies (74 percent) and public safety agencies (62 percent).

More than two-thirds (69 percent) of all respondents said they are deploying or considering deploying biometric technologies. Interestingly, although nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents said they are aware of video analytics technology, fewer than one-third (28 percent) said their agencies are implementing video analytics solutions.

The industry sector citing the highest adoption rate of biometric technologies is public safety, at 51 percent, followed closely by respondents from pension and social security agencies (48 percent). Just over one-third (36 percent) of border agencies said they were deploying biometric technologies.

The study shows that biometric solutions are in high demand and in widespread use, with e-passports and iris recognition being implemented most frequently. In fact, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of survey respondents reported that they are piloting, implementing or researching the use of biometrics and identity analytics.

“Biometrics-based security solutions working in combination with analytics technologies offer government agencies powerful, and previously unavailable, real-time identification and authentication capabilities, enhancing both the security and understanding of data,” said Ger Daly, who leads Accenture’s Defense & Public Safety business. “This enables a new level of customer service, essentially building government services around the citizen, not the institution.”

Country Insights

  • Data privacy and data security concerns were cited as top challenges in all nine countries surveyed, but were top concerns among respondents from Singapore and Australia, cited by 59 percent and 51 percent, respectively. Respondents from the United Kingdom and Germany were the least likely to say they were concerned about data privacy and security (14 percent and 15 percent respectively).
  • Respondents in Australia and Singapore identified agencies that were the most likely to say they are implementing biometric technologies (68 percent each) while the country with the lowest rate of adoption is Finland, at 22 percent.
  • Respondents from the U.S. were the most likely to say that the deployment of biometrics could reduce risk and improve data security and privacy (51 percent), with respondents from Japan the least likely to hold this view (12 percent).
  • Respondents from Australia and France were the most likely to say that the deployment of data analytics could reduce risk and improve data security, cited by 48 percent and 45 percent of respondents in those countries, respectively. Respondents from the U.S. were least likely to hold this view, at only 2 percent.
  • Respondents in Japan were more likely than those in any other country surveyed to say they use video analytics, at 43 percent, while respondents from Germany were the least likely to adopt this technology, at 18 percent.
  • Agencies in Australia and Singapore are the most likely to implement biometrics/ identity analytics technologies at 68 percent each, followed by Japan (57 percent), France (42 percent) and the U.K. (34 percent).


Accenture conducted an online survey of 774 technology leaders in public service organizations at all levels of government, responsible for creating, maintaining and expanding citizen services, and overseeing budget, purchasing and policy decisions in nine countries: Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey was supplemented by in-depth, qualitative interviews with technology experts across these countries.

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