National ID Month: The Primer

Among the largest biometrics technology deployments in the world you will find government applications of national ID. Massive biometrics databases, containing citizen biometric data, allowing the countries that employ them to dole out essential services, conduct elections, keep track of visitors and more. September is National ID Month at FindBiometrics in which we will be placing a special focus on the concepts, applications and deployments involved with the most ambitious biometrics-powered programs on Earth.

Around The World

According to The Global National eID Industry Report from Acuity Market Intelligence, by 2018 half of the world’s population will have national ID cards. That big figure is made up mostly of Asia, which comprises 60 percent of the total, and the forecast includes nearly all of Europe. In 2015 alone we have seen a great amount of national ID news, including newly undertaken initiatives to biometrically register citizens, continued national identification projects, and industry awards in the field.

The following links will get you up to speed on the global national ID scene, with news stories from the Caribbean, to Africa, throughout the Middle East and covering Europe and Asia as well:

In Five Years Half The World Will Have National eID Cards

White Paper: NEC AFIS created the world’s largest civilian fingerprint identification database for HANIS

Jamaica’s National ID System to Incorporate Biometrics

I3 Continues Work Supporting Afghan National Biometrics Program

HID’s Angola ID Solution a ‘Shining Star’ of GSN Awards

ECOWAS to Implement Biometric ID Cards

Israel Extends Biometric ID Trial Ahead of Scathing Report

Deadline for Enrolment in Saudi Arabia Biometric Registry Looms

Nigerian President Calls for Biometric Data Centralization

Morpho Becomes Sole Supplier of Slovak Republic’s Official Documentation


Multifactor BiometricsThe most ambitious national ID program in the world is India’s Aadhaar project conducted through the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The UIDAI was created in 2009 and has been tasked with the collection of citizens’ biometric and demographic data – which is stored in a central database – and the issuing of 12-digit Aadhaar ID numbers. The program is still opt-in, but the program is a constant fixture in national ID news, whether it’s because of a new service enabled by Aadhaar, a controversy sparked by new requirements, or private concerns aiming to help further its growth.

The following links will give you an idea of some of the top level ways Aadhaar has been in the news recently:

Telecoms Pressure Indian Gov’t to Allow Biometric User Registration

Indian Citizens Can Update Aadhaar Info Online

Morpho Lends Tech to Aadhaar Hackathon

IriTech’s Biometric Scanner Bolsters Aadhaar Authentication

Aadhaar Requirement for Workers Faces Backlash

Beyond ID

Doctor workplace with digital tablet and stethoscopeWhile national ID carries the essential burden of proving a person’s identity and citizenry, the applications stretch beyond those of your average birth certificate or driver’s license. In Nigeria, national ID is being used to fight the extremist threat of Boko Haram. In India the Aadhaar program is at the heart of time and attendance deployments in hospitals and government positions while also being used to implement the country’s ambitious health plan. You can even see biometrics used on a national scale in call centers, with one of the largest voiceprint ID technology deployments implemented by the the South African Social Security Agency.

The following links will help illustrate the further applications of biometric national ID:

Biometric National ID Invoked to Fight Boko Haram

India to Administrate Health Plan with Digital Citizenship Cards

Delhi Government Mulls Biometric Attendance for Hospitals

GenKey to Develop Biometric Health Card for Kenya’s NHIF

Voice ID Biometric Deployment in South Africa Among the Largest In The World


Biometric Voter RegistrationA subset of national ID is emerging in the case of federal elections around the world. Voter ID databases are ambitious projects meant to enable electronic voting in the democratic process. While the deployments in this field are singular in purpose, they are similar in scale and ambition to the national registries described above, facing many of the same challenges and, in some cases, tighter deadlines.

The following links will catch you up on how large scale biometric ID is affecting elections across the globe:

COMELEC Presses to Register Four Million Voters’ Biometrics

Estonian Voters Cast Ballots Online

Smartmatic Providing Remote Voting Terminals To Brazil

Zetes Signs With Republic of Togo For Biometric Voter ID Enrollment

Suprema Readers Deployed For Ugandan Biometric Voter ID

Iris ID Announces ESI Biometric Voter Registration Integration

Republican Senator Suggests Biometrics Tech to Resolve Contentious Voter ID Debate


Biometric ID, National IDBiometric ID has been embraced by the United Nations as a solution for tracking refugees. The deployments in this case are smaller and more targeted than the national ID deployments described above, but are worth noting in terms of their international importance and utility.

The following links will help you make sense of how biometric ID is being put to use for those seeking refuge:

UN Refugee Agency Brings Biometric IDs to South Sudan

UN’s Biometric Refugee ID Rollout Starts in Thailand

Malaysia Urged to Adopt Biometric IDs for Refugee Crisis

UN Agency Selects Accenture for Refugee Biometrics Project

Talking About It

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Peter O’Neill, president of FindBiometrics, recently had a chance to speak with Christian Rutigliano, the international sales manager of Green Bit, a global fingerprint biometrics company and one of the sponsors of National ID Month. The conversation involves an in-depth technical conversation regarding Green Bit’s National ID solutions and is a great resource on the ins and outs of real life biometric national ID from a vendor’s perspective.

Interview with Christian Rutigliano of Green Bit


Stay posted to FindBiometrics throughout September as we continue this conversation with National ID Month. Take part in the discussion by following us on Twitter and tweeting with the hashtag #FBNational.

National ID Month is made possible by our sponsors Green Bit Biometric Systems and NEC Corporation of America.

September 3, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter