Will Future IDs Go through Biometrics Databases?



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As part of December 13th’s second examination and adoption of the proposed law to implement biometric ID cards in France in the French Assembly, the questions about biometric identification is increasing around the world.


The project proposed by the UMP Deputy Philippe Goujon is called the “Honest People Database.” The main objective would be to fight identity theft, and to identify victims in case of natural disaster or accidents. Another common reason given is that cyber-criminals can steal your passwords, but not your face or fingerprint.


Through a two chips-system, the biometric card would gather between 45 and 60 millions citizens’ information. The first chip will contain identity data such as civil statues, address, height, eyes color, digital fingerprints and a picture. The second optional chip, called ”e-card”, would be used as an electronic signature on the Internet for trade and administrative purposes.


In the smart cards and biometrics identity solutions field, the French industry is focused around GIXEL (French Association for Electronic Components Systems, Smart Card Industries) and companies such as Morpho, Oberthur, Thalès and Gemalto.


The French technology company Morpho, a spinn-off from the aerospace, defense and security Safran Group, is one of the world leaders in the biometric identification, detection and e-document solutions sector. Morpho offers a range of products and services such as its “IDeal Citi” Smart Card including National e-ID and Corporate e-ID, Healthcare/welfare Card, Driver License, Resident permit, qualified signature. For security reasons, Morpho uses advanced printing technologies and integrates other security features to the documents.


Aside from physical identity solutions, Morpho also manages digital identity on the mobile Internet through its SIMplY Me solution. Simply Me uses a (U)SIM (Universal Subscriber Identity Module) system to secure the use of mobile subscribers’ digital identity credentials on mobile phones, tablets and laptops and on on-line services requiring authentication or e-signatures.


Android security applications already use biometrics to protect smartphones or tablets and to safeguard the files using fingerprint, face or iris recognition and hand-written signatures. However, people should keep in mind there are official security biometric devices with international standards as ICAO and ISO standards, and “gadget” applications that do not comply with these standards.


For example, the Californian FaceCash application lets people pay via their smartphone thanks to a face scanning system. After finding a merchant that accepts FaceCash mobile payments, they are face-scanned to pay in a secured way. FaceCash stores biometric and bank account info on its servers. Other applications were created such as the face recognition Visidon application by AppLock to protect your mobile contents.


Even though politics and rights issues can come into play with centralized biometric databases, such as privacy and traceability issues and a potential misuse as a marketing tool, devices featuring biometrics will certainly evolve. It will take innovative companies to balance the needs of all parties involved in this trending technology.


This article has initially been posted by Lena Baudo on December 19th, 2011 on Opinno‘s blog (Open Innovation).


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