Sheikh Mohammed: UAE Cabinet approves trial of facial recognition technology

Facial ID to be tested within Ministry of Interior and, if successful, introduced more widely

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The UAE will begin trials of facial recognition technology to serve as proof of identity and cut paperwork.

On Sunday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, led a Cabinet meeting that approved the start of the trial.

Sheikh Mohammed said facial recognition would be used in "some private sector services to verify the personal identity of individuals instead of submitting a lot of documents".

The move is aimed at speeding up services and easing workflow while improving personal security.

Sheikh Mohammed said the technology would be tested at the ministry and "if successful, it will be circulated".

The Cabinet also formed a team that will be responsible for automating government work using remote communication applications.

That project will be led by Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, Artificial Intelligence and Remote Work Applications.

"The future of government work will be different in the coming decades," said Sheikh Mohammed, who last year reshuffled the Cabinet and consolidated many government departments after the coronavirus pandemic began.

At the time, he said the goal was to create a more agile government.

The Cabinet also restructured the board of directors for Etihad Rail, which is led by Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court.

Sheikh Mohammed said the project would leave a "permanent developmental footprint" on the country.

Sunday's meeting began with a moment to recognise and bless the UAE's achievement of sending a spacecraft to Mars.

Sheikh Mohammed called it "an achievement to start the next 50 years of the UAE" and "a project that brought the scientific aspirations of the Arabs to new stations".