The Ivory Coast is looking to overhaul its national identity program through a new partnership with GenKey. To that end, the biometrics specialist will be supporting the development and distribution of biometric national eID cards to every citizen in the country.
The cards themselves will be manufactured by Semlex, and will use GenKey’s BioHASH technology to store people’s fingerprint data. BioHASH is an ISO-certified solution that converts an original biometric image (such as an image of a fingerprint) into a stable numeric code. After that, authorities can refer to that code instead of the original image during a subsequent identity check. The solution is designed to protect the integrity of the biometric template (and the personal information of the person it belongs to), since it is impossible to reverse engineer the image from the template stored on the device.
The upshot is that the new Ivory Coast IDs will not store biometric images directly on the card, and will instead rely on the codes for verification. The system does not use traditional PKI structures, which should improve the utility and interoperability of the cards throughout the 15-country ECOWAS zone in West Africa. The Ivory Coast’s cards are compliant with the ECOWAS Biometric ID Card program.
“This privacy-by-design approach to storing and verifying biometric information pioneers a next level in identity security and standards in the protection of biometric data, providing a much more efficient way to provide ID verification,” said Semlex Europe CEO Stephan Delforge.
GenKey partnered with the World Bank in early 2020 to create a biometric registration system for civil servants in Niger, which is also a member of ECOWAS. More recently, the company updated its ABIS to give customers the ability to delete biometric information. Doing so allowed the company to comply with the European Union’s latest GDPR regulations.
January 5, 2021 – by Eric Weiss