Nepal’s government is gearing up for a national biometric ID project, reports República. It’s working with Safran Identity and Security, which won a $4.9 million contract to handle a variety of technical components of the biometric ID program, and has already begun to set up hardware for the project.
The plan is to distribute up to 117,000 ID cards over the next 18 months, starting with an initial pilot district and civil servants employed in the Singha Durbar administrative area. The next phase will cover an additional 15 districts, a third will cover 25 more, and the fourth and final phase will see the ID cards deployed to the rest of the country. All told, the project is expected to take over five years.
As for the biometric ID cards themselves, they’ll include a range of document data, from driver licenses to passports to voter credentials. In other words, the IDs are on a scale of ambition similar to the Aadhaar ID cards in India, which are increasingly used for biometric authentication in a wide range of contexts, from tracking public servants’ work attendance to banking at ATMs. A handful of other countries, such as Israel, Afghanistan, and South Africa, also have biometric ID projects underway, and as the benefits of ambitious programs like those of India and Nepal become clear over the coming years, it’s quite possible that many more will follow suit.
August 17, 2016 – by Alex Perala