Global Times correspondent in India: Yuan Jirong
“First enter the 12digit ID card number, and then after the fingerprint and iris recognition, the computer will immediately show my identity information .I have bought my mobile SIM card with this identity card which uses iris recognition technology. It is very convenient; you no longer need to carry a variety of identity documents as in the past,” says Antara, who is engaged in technical work in India, to this reporter while showing his identity card.
The ID card made with the iris recognition technology which Antara was talking about is the world’s largest biometric identification system established by the Unique Identification Authority of India. The core technology of this project came from Beijing EyeSmart Technology Co., Ltd., which is not only deeply involved in the construction of this project, but also distinguishes itself in the follow-up application stage.
Antara’s ID card is divided into two parts; on the upper part is written his name, residential address, as well as bar code and QR code containing personal information and ID number. The lower part has the date of birth, photos and other content. The upper and lower parts can be cut apart. This ID card is just printed on a simple thin paper, is it durable? Antara said that it is not the paper which is important, but the 12-digit number on the paper; for any authentication in any place in India, you just have to enter these 12 digits, plus go through the fingerprint and iris recognition, you can immediately prove your identity.
Until now, India did not have a unified national identity card system. There are as many as 20 different kinds of ID cards, including passports, voter’s cards, driving licenses, teacher’s ID cards, student’s ID cards, credit cards and company ID cards, which can be used for personal identification. Different identity documents are difficult to use commonly among government departments or financial institutions. Hence people often have to apply for different identity documents for different institutions and usages.
India’s identification project technical director Wama Konara? told this reporter that this has raised a series of problems: the Government cannot accurately know the population information; some people cannot open bank accounts, obtain a driver’s license or apply for loans. Many poor people living in remote areas cannot enjoy the material benefits provided by the government because of not having identity proofs. It is difficult to prevent illegal immigration and keep a lookout for terrorist threats.
In September 2010, India launched a biometric identification system in Maharashtra to create a uniform identification for Indians. The project provides a unique 12-digit ID number for each person by collecting iris and fingerprint information from all Indians. The system collects and stores personal data electronically and enables remote access in a networked database. To this end, the Indian government has set up a special agency— Unique Identification Authority of India which is responsible for this project.
Beijing EyeSmart Technology Co., Ltd. has core independent intellectual property rights, and during the initial stages of establishment of India’s biometric identification system, participated in it using their depth of technical superiority. Wang Xiaopeng, the founder of EyeSmart Technology Company and an expert of China’s “Thousand Talents Plan”, told this reporter that the company took part in the global bidding by the invitation of the Indian government, and stood out in the competition with eight iris recognition technology providers from all over the world. The company has successfully obtained the Indian government’s national license, and can participate in the identity authentication work of iris database ID card system of India’s 1.2 billion people.
Wang Xiaopeng said that EyeSmart Technology has formed an international team of experts along with Intel Corporation, India’s Digital Security Corporation and other partners. They have partnered with the Indian government’s core team and participated in drawing up the contents of other sub-modules like the top-level framework design and iris database storage format. They have also provided the core technologies like the iris recognition algorithm and the overall solution.
Intel India CEO Nivruti Rai said that iris recognition technology from China is the key to this vast project. “India is working hard to promote ‘Digital India’ and inventions and innovations by Chinese companies provide the perfect technology solution for ‘Digital India’.”
(People’s Daily, New Delhi)