Have you ever thought about the process that it takes in order to obtain a passport? Get health insurance? Register to vote? In order to gain access all these government benefits (and more) you need to be identifiable to the government. This happens when you register for a national ID card or number, or any mandated identity verification method. These methods vary by country in approach and level of security. Biometrics can help ensure a more secure method to confirm that you are who you say you are in relation to civil identification.
Civil Identification (Civil ID) is the establishment of a unique identity of an individual through the verification, registration, management and conservation of personal data.
This could be a unique identity number, signature, photograph or biometric data—in addition to existing biographic data. By gathering this information, the goal is to establish a unique civil identity in the public sector space for each individual. The purpose of it is for verification and authentication of citizen identities and permission to access to a benefit or service.
Biometric identifiers have been implemented in citizen identification methods in many countries. This helps to combat anonymity and allows citizens to gain access to government services.
Biometrics & Civil ID Around the World
As mentioned above, many countries have mandatory identification systems—some of which have biometric identifiers that authenticate or verify an identity. These may include fingerprints, iris scans, photos of an individual’s face, etc. Biometrics-based Civil ID can be used for more than identification or verification of the identity of individuals when interacting with governments. Some examples of how else these systems are used include for banking services, payment of taxes and voter registration.
Let’s take a look at a few countries that include biometrics in their Civil ID process:
United States of America
In the US, citizens have a Social Security number (SSN) that is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). An SSN is a nine-digit number issued to American citizens and they are also given a card. It is a unique identifier that tracks citizens income and determines social security benefits. It is also used to obtain government benefits, when filing for taxes, applying for a passport, driver’s license and more.
The German parliament has implemented a National ID system that requires fingerprints and biometric images on National IDs.
In 2009, India launched its national ID system, the Aadhaar. This program issues citizens a unique, 12-digit identification number that stores their biometric and demographic data (fingerprints and iris scans). Citizens can also use these IDs to conduct varying types of government business, like filing taxes.
In Ghana, the national ID card is called the GhanaCard and is issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA) to Ghanaians. The GhanaCard holds personal information about a citizen’s identity, that can be always verified. The NIA uses three types of biometric technology: digitized fingerprints, facial templates and iris scans.
The digital ID for the Philippines (Phil-ID) and it collects personal information and biometric data. The biometric data that is collected are iris scans, fingerprint, and facial images. It allows for its citizens to access government services such as opening a bank account. The goal of this system is to enroll all citizens by 2022.
Many countries around the world today have implemented biometrics with their national ID cards to improve civil ID practices. Verifying and authenticating an identity with physical characteristics helps the government ensure safety and allow them to access government–type business. This could be filing taxes, applying for a drivers’ license, or registering to vote. Using biometrics not only helps maintain safety but makes government processes more convenient and streamlined — for a better experience of services for its citizens.
Many countries are already tying biometrics into their civil ID process. As governments can identify citizens throughout the country (including what types of government business they are doing) the bottom line is that; they are trying to ensure citizens safety while eliminating fraud and dangerous activity.
If you are considering biometrics-enabled citizen identification, Aware has a full breadth of offerings that can be the solution. Our innovative biometric offerings provide critical support to help ensure national security and protect citizen freedoms and liberties around the world. Contact us to learn more.