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Identification Services

Biometric Identity

Biometrics is the technical term for body measurements and calculations. It refers to metrics related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication (or realistic authentication) is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance.

What is Biometric Identity

We use terminology on a daily basis, sometimes without fully understanding its true meaning. Technology is full of terminology that can even baffle the experts, and one area that often causes confusion is biometric identification and biometric authentication.

Biometric identification answers the question “who are you” and can be applied to both physical and digital scenarios. It is an established solution that is being used in many applications including law enforcement, defense, and border control.

Biometric identification usually applies to a situation where an organization needs to identify a person. The organization captures a biometric from that individual and then searches a biometric repository in an attempt to correctly identify the person. The biometric repository could be managed by a law enforcement agency, such as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint System (IAFIS) run by the FBI in the USA, or be part of a national identity system like India’s UIDAI system.

In the case with IAFIS, the FBI manages a repository that contains fingerprints, facial images, and other physical characteristics, including height, weight, hair, eye color, and even scars and tattoos. The database has more than 70 million criminal records alongside 34 million civil records that law enforcement agents have available on a 24x7x365 basis.

This system is a vital tool in assisting law enforcement agents with their criminal investigations by matching captured biometrics against a repository of known criminals. In this example, matching a captured biometric against a central repository is called a one-to-many match, as the biometric is not indexed.

Identity and biometrics

There are three possible ways of proving one's identity:

1. by means of something that you possess. Until now, this was something that was relatively easy to do, whether it was by using the key to one's vehicle, a document, a card, or a badge.
2. by means of something that you know, a name, a secret or a password.
3. by means of what you are, your fingerprint, your hand, your face.

The use of biometrics has a number of benefits.

The leading one is the level of security and accuracy* that it guarantees. In contrast to passwords, badges, or documents, biometric data cannot be forgotten, exchanged, or stolen, and cannot be forged.

*According to calculations made by Sir Francis Galton (Darwin's cousin), the probability of finding two similar fingerprints is one in 64 billion even with identical twins (homozygotes).

It is in this sense that biometrics is inextricably linked to the question of identity.

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  • Smart Card Technologies

    A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card (ICC), is a physical electronic authorization device, used to control access to a resource. It is typically a plastic credit card sized card with an embedded integrated circuit. Many smart cards include a pattern of metal contacts to electrically connect to the internal chip. Others are contactless, and some are both. Smart cards can provide personal identification, authentication, data storage, and application processing. Applications include identification, financial, mobile phones (SIM), public transit, computer security, schools, and healthcare. Smart cards may provide strong security authentication for single sign-on (SSO) within organizations.

    Smart Cards in Identity

    Smart-cards can authenticate identity. Sometimes they employ a public key infrastructure (PKI). The card stores an encrypted digital certificate issued from the PKI provider along with other relevant information. Examples include the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Common Access Card (CAC), and other cards used by other governments for their citizens. If they include biometric identification data, cards can provide superior two- or three-factor authentication.

    Smart cards are not always privacy-enhancing, because the subject may carry incriminating information on the card. Contactless smart cards that can be read from within a wallet or even a garment simplify authentication; however, criminals may access data from these cards.

    Cryptographic smart cards are often used for single sign-on. Most advanced smart cards include specialized cryptographic hardware that uses algorithms such as RSA and Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA). Today's cryptographic smart cards generate key pairs on board, to avoid the risk from having more than one copy of the key (since by design there usually isn't a way to extract private keys from a smart card). Such smart cards are mainly used for digital signatures and secure identification.

    Some of these smart cards are also made to support the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standard for Personal Identity Verification, FIPS 201.

    Turkey implemented the first smart card driver's license system in 1987. Turkey had a high level of road accidents and decided to develop and use digital tachograph devices on heavy vehicles, instead of the existing mechanical ones, to reduce speed violations. Since 1987, the professional driver's licenses in Turkey have been issued as smart cards. A professional driver is required to insert his driver's license into a digital tachograph before starting to drive. The tachograph unit records speed violations for each driver and gives a printed report. The driving hours for each driver are also being monitored and reported. In 1990 the European Union conducted a feasibility study through BEVAC Consulting Engineers, titled "Feasibility study with respect to a European electronic drivers license (based on a smart-card) on behalf of Directorate General VII". In this study, chapter seven describes Turkey's experience.

    Argentina's Mendoza province began using smart card driver's licenses in 1995. Mendoza also had a high level of road accidents, driving offenses, and a poor record of recovering fines. Smart licenses hold up-to-date records of driving offenses and unpaid fines. They also store personal information, license type and number, and a photograph. Emergency medical information such as blood type, allergies, and biometrics (fingerprints) can be stored on the chip if the card holder wishes. The Argentina government anticipates that this system will help to collect more than $10 million per year in fines.

    In 1999 Gujarat was the first Indian state to introduce a smart card license system.As of 2005, it has issued 5 million smart card driving licenses to its people.

    In 2002, the Estonian government started to issue smart cards named ID Kaart as primary identification for citizens to replace the usual passport in domestic and EU use. As of 2010 about 1 million smart cards have been issued (total population is about 1.3 million) and they are widely used in internet banking, buying public transport tickets, authorization on various websites etc.

    By the start of 2009, the entire population of Belgium was issued eID cards that are used for identification. These cards contain two certificates: one for authentication and one for signature. This signature is legally enforceable. More and more services in Belgium use eID for authorization.

    Spain started issuing national ID cards (DNI) in the form of Smartcards in 2006 and gradually replaced all the older ones with Smartcards. The idea was that many or most bureaucratic acts could be done online but it was a failure because the Administration did not adapt and still mostly requires paper documents and personal presence.

    On August 14, 2012, the ID cards in Pakistan were replaced. The Smart Card is a third generation chip-based identity document that is produced according to international standards and requirements. The card has over 36 physical security features and has the latest[clarification needed] encryption codes. This smart card replaced the NICOP (the ID card for overseas Pakistani).

    Smart cards may identify emergency responders and their skills. Cards like these allow first responders to bypass organizational paperwork and focus more time on the emergency resolution. In 2004, The Smart Card Alliance expressed the needs: "to enhance security, increase government efficiency, reduce identity fraud, and protect personal privacy by establishing a mandatory, Government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification". Emergency response personnel can carry these cards to be positively identified in emergency situations. WidePoint Corporation, a smart card provider to FEMA, produces cards that contain additional personal information, such as medical records and skill sets.

    Smart cards are also used to identify user accounts on arcade machines.

    Smart Card Advantages

    The first main advantage of smart cards is their flexibility. Smart cards have multiple functions which simultaneously can be an ID, a credit card, a stored-value cash card, and a repository of personal information such as telephone numbers or medical history. The card can be easily replaced if lost, and, the requirement for a PIN (or other form of security) provides additional security from unauthorised access to information by others. At the first attempt to use it illegally, the card would be deactivated by the card reader itself.

    The second main advantage is security. Smart cards can be electronic key rings, giving the bearer ability to access information and physical places without need for online connections. They are encryption devices, so that the user can encrypt and decrypt information without relying on unknown, and therefore potentially untrustworthy, appliances such as ATMs. Smart cards are very flexible in providing authentication at different level of the bearer and the counterpart. Finally, with the information about the user that smart cards can provide to the other parties, they are useful devices for customizing products and services.

    Other general benefits of smart cards are:

    Increasing data storage capacity
    Reliability that is virtually unaffected by electrical and magnetic fields.

    Smart Card Types

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  • Technology Partnerships

    • Dermalog

      DERMALOG Identification Systems GmbH
      DERMALOG has been shaping the world of security for more than 20 years based in Hamburg the largest German biometrics manufacturer. They have been and keep on revolutionizing biometric security products for law enforcement, civil governmental agencies like national registration, voter and driver registrations, health agencies, security agencies and develop solutions for access and data security, authorization and authentication services as well as mobile security. Governmental organizations as well as public and private businesses all over the world trust their expertise and state of the art biometric products.

      Web: www.dermalog.com

    • IXLA

      IXLA SRL

      They have built their reputation on developing outstanding desktop systems for ID applications that meet the expectations of our customers and partners. Many governments and system integrators around the world entrust their challenging projects with them. They recognise their ability to deliver on time, and to provide support and upgrades in order to maximize their investments. Their direct presence in the Americas and South-East Asia, will meet the increasing global demand for laser personalization of secure ID documents, and provide support to existing and future customers.

      Web: www.ixla.it


      Mühlbauer Group

      The Mühlbauer Group has grown to a proven one-stop-shop technology partner for the smart card, ePassport, RFID and solar back-end industry. Further business fields are the areas of micro-chip die sorting, carrier tape equipment, as well as automation, marking and traceability systems. With around 2,800 employees, technology centers in Germany, Malaysia, China, Slovakia, the U.S. and Serbia, and a global sales and service network, we are the world’s market leader in innovative equipment- and software solutions, supporting our customers in project planning, technology transfer and production ramp up.

      Web: www.muehlbauer.de