The fight against document fraud and identity theft requires the implementation of new technological solutions.
Biometrics has quickly established itself as the most pertinent technology for identifying individuals in a fast and reliable way through the use of unique biological characteristics. Hitherto reserved for sensitive fields such as the security of military sites, today many programs are drawing on biometrics and applications for the general public are now seeing rapid development. These applications are predominantly introduced by national authorities, as the capture and management of a population's fingerprints call for tightly regulated legal and technical framework.
The application which has been most widely deployed to date is the electronic passport, particularly with the second generation, which stores two fingerprints in addition to a passport photo. Biometrics provides irrefutable evidence of the link between the document and its holder.
Another advantage of this solution is that it speeds up border crossing through the use of scanners, which use the principle of recognition by comparison of the face and/or fingerprints.
Other applications exist, chiefly national identity cards, widespread in European and Middle East countries, and health insurance programs, such as in Gabon. Fingerprints are used to confirm the identity of the bearer of the card before he or she is given access to governmental services or healthcare.
In addition, many countries have set up biometric infrastructures to control migration flows to and from their territories. Fingerprint scanners and cameras installed at border posts and consulates capture certain types of information that help identify nationals entering and leaving the country in a more precise and reliable way. The same applies to visa applications and renewals.
Data acquisition requires reliable equipment to ensure optimum capture of photos and fingerprints, essential for precision during comparison and verification.
Gemalto incorporates a range of acquisition devices which guarantee the best results in all circumstances, in particular in the case of mobile registration of rural populations.
AFIS databases (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), often linked to a civil register database, ensure the identity and uniqueness of the citizen in relation to the rest of the population in a reliable, fast and automated way. They can combine fingerprints, a photo and an iris scan for greater reliability.
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Biometric verification of an insured person’s identity in Gabon on a nonconnected reader. The card can confirm the accuracy of the fingerprints given in total security. It is not necessary to access a centralized fingerprint database.
Microsoft’s Windows Biometric Framework represents the first integrated approach to biometric identification and security.
In December 2009, the Moroccan passport became the first electronic biometric passport on the African continent to integrate digital fingerprints.