Technology Opinion South Africa

The benefits of using tech to create government ID's

Advanced technology in the creation of government IDs has manifold benefits over legacy systems. These include the elimination of human error, a deterrent to criminals, improved data management, environment adaptability and a better experience for all users.
Joby Mathew
Joby Mathew

Information in biometrically created government IDs cannot easily be misentered, altered or forged, and takes the error-prone visual inspection element out of, for example, border management systems.

If documents are absent, fraudulent or inconclusive, biometrics applies a scientific measurement using high-quality capture devices such as the ten finger-print scan and easy-to-use software which identifies who a person is – not merely what document they hold.

This enables much faster identification of individuals using a system which captures both high-quality biometric images and biographic information in one easy-to-use system as opposed to the manual ink and paper process, which was labour intensive, inefficient and prone to error.

Studies show that the use of biometrics acts as a deterrent to criminals at borders - soon after governments adopt a biometric system, removals and arrests spike as inadmissible subjects are identified in large numbers.

Biometric systems digitise and archive all records in one place so that the whole identity of the individual as well as any documented criminal activities (previously only available in hard copies) are managed. This digital data can lead to more criminal arrests as more information becomes available linking actual individuals (as opposed to their documents which may be false) to crimes.

As the use of biometric government IDs in border management systems continues to spread, there is a tremendous growth in available data which can be used to improve security and enable officials to cast the widest possible net in pursuing persons of interest.

Data interoperability between authorities has also enabled officials to identify subjects who may not already be on their radar. The use of biometrics in law enforcement allows for rapid checks against criminal records, including data about previously encountered subjects as well as latent crime scene biometric data that may not be associated with an identity at all.

Biometric information can be shared in real-time between authorities as opposed to the time-consuming identity-checking of legacy systems.

Another huge advantage of the advanced technology of biometric solutions is that it can be easily adapted to different environments whether fixed, portable or mobile.

Biometric solutions ensure a comfortable and efficient experience for all users. Biometric systems are moving us towards “passport-free” travelling where all registration activities are completed online with only facial/iris/fingerprint biometrics at check-in.

As governments establish end-to-end e-Passport and e-Document programs that address each step of the citizen identity journey, they are creating a solid foundation for an extension to many other applications: not only to validate true identity for improved security but also to simplify the identity journey to streamline and improve the government process.

About Joby Mathew

Joby Mathew, HID Global Director: Citizen Identity Solutions EMEA

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