Mexico plans to start enrolling 110 million citizens into its national ID card program this summer. The program will be among the first to capture iris, fingerprint and facial biometrics for identification, says Terry Hartmann, vice president of identity solutions at Unisys.
Unisys’ Mexican subsidiary was awarded a contract by the Mexican Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Citizen Registry to create and manage the biometric-based citizen identification solution.
The agency will issue another tender for companies to compete for the ID card issuance portion of the project. The country expects to issue cards to citizens over the course of three to four years.
Unisys is charged with setting up 3,000 enrollment centers as well as adding enrollment capabilities to existing government facilities, Hartmann says. Some of these enrollment systems will be portable, suit case style systems.
The multi-modal nature is what makes Mexico’s program different from others out there, Hartmann says. “It’s essentially the first national identity system that will capture iris and use it,” he says.
Mexico hasn’t had a national ID system before, though the country’s voter ID card has used to identify citizens.
While the card technology to be used for the national ID has not been determined, Hartmann says, “there is a very good chance it will be a smart card because they will want to use biometrics for identity verification.”
Exactly how the card will be used has yet to be worked out either, Hartmann says. Similar programs around the world use biometrics for voter registration and even financial transactions. “The card isn’t only for identification, it could be a driver licenses, used for collection of tolls, a travel card and even an ATM card,” he says.
Unisys is seeing a lot of interest in Latin American and Asia in new national ID projects or upgrading existing projects, Hartmann says. “It’s mainly in the countries that don’t have a national ID or don’t use biometrics with that ID … they recognize the problems with identity fraud,” he says.
Listen to an interview between Zack Martin and Terry Hartman on the Regarding ID Podcast.