Many governments have proactively implemented automated fingerprint (biometric) identification systems (AFIS /ABIS), or Biometric AFIS solutions for short, to more accurately identify citizens and other individuals crossing their borders. In contrast to traditional non-biometric identification technologies, the implementation of biometric technology is successfully closing many security loopholes in the identification and authentication of citizens and travelers.
The biometric AFIS solutions market does face competition from inexpensive non-biometric technologies, but are still widely adopted by governments for many different applications including:
- Border Control
- Healthcare and Welfare
- Public Safety
- National ID & Passports
- Voter Registration
There are many reasons why biometric AFIS solutions are more effective when it comes to border security. Let’s explore in more detail.
Why non-biometric technologies are flawed for individual identification
Non-biometric based technologies used for creating, maintaining and identifying citizens from large databases have many loopholes:
- Border Control: Before biometrics, criminals would often cross borders to flee from law enforcement jurisdictions where they committed the crime. It was not very difficult for these criminals to hide their identifications and pose as someone else when they crossed the borders. Identity documents are easy to forge before crossing borders and in many cases, antiquated technology simply did not have the capability to provide accurate identification.
Bottom line: Relying on written documents and photographs cannot accurately ensure that a person is who they claim to be.
- Healthcare Fraud: Healthcare fraud includes health insurance fraud, drug fraud, and medical fraud. Health insurance fraud occurs when a company or an individual defrauds an insurer or government health care program, such as Medicare or equivalent State programs. Healthcare fraud costs host countries tens of billions of dollars a year. Numerous cases have been documented of criminals stealing identities to receive benefits such as healthcare and welfare.
Bottom line: Without an automated biometric identification system (AFIS) in place, governments cannot fully prevent healthcare fraud because people with fraudulent intents always find a way to bypass non-biometric authentication methods.
- Voter Registration: Capturing biometric identities of eligible voters allows election agencies to maintain full control of the voting process and act as a preventative measure for potential illegal manipulation of the voting rolls by incumbent leaders or political parties.
Bottom line: Without a biometric identification system, election commissions cannot ensure full voting transparency of an election, especially if the election is conducted on a national level.
Biometric AFIS solutions
Biometric AFIS solutions have proven to be a much more secure and accurate tool to address the problems that traditional forms of identification present. An AFIS system ensures quick and efficient identification while providing information safety through pattern-based algorithms that are used to match a person’s fingerprints or other biometric characteristics against databases to provide access to secure premises. With a biometric AFIS system in place, government agencies such as border control, election commissions, and law enforcement can ensure accurate identification through unique biometric characteristics.
Besides other fields of use such as national ID and law enforcement, border security has become an increasingly complex task as agencies have to cope with a rapid increase of travelers worldwide while maintaining a swift and secure passenger experience. According to the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), nearly 1 billion people cross international borders each year. Automated border control systems adopt a swift, accurate, and secure “land, touch, go” concept that enhances the arrival experience.
With biometric AFIS systems, border security agents, coast guard staff, prison officials and other law enforcement officials can also now use portable devices in real time to identify known smugglers, drug peddlers, and suspects of other criminal offenses. Countries with a central AFIS/ABIS system can easily track and manage the flow of visitors across their border, even in extreme conditions or remote locations.
The same holds true for a National IDs and passports. Since worldwide terrorist activities have increased, we understand how important it is to have an accurate citizen database. Biometrics is the only way this can be achieved. A biometric AFIS system can ensure that a person is not enrolled twice in a database and ensures an individual cannot deny being who they really are or claim to be someone they are not.
The importance of accurate individual identification and raising global security is directly responsible for a rise in biometric AFIS solution implementations through government agencies that directly deal with citizens and travelers.
It is a fact that biometrics have made a name as an innovative, practical, secure, and safe identification management technology. Many believe AFIS solutions to be the future of accurate identification and authentication for countries who want to maintain a protected environment in their home land and national borders.