Major International Deployments of the Iris Recognition Algorithms: 1.5 Billion Persons
As of early 2018, at least 1.5 billion persons worldwide have had their iris patterns
mathematically encoded using the Daugman algorithms for enrollment in national ID
or entitlements programmes. Here are some of the notable deployments:
- The Unique IDentification Authority of India (UIDAI) enrolled the
entire population of 1.25 Indian citizens within 3 years, which entailed an
enrollment rate of about a million persons per day. The purpose is to
improve access to social benefits, subsidies, and other entitlements with
reduced fraud; historically less than half of Indian Government aid actually
reaches its intended recipients. The entitlements ID scheme required
massive concurrent de-duplication checks across the entire database while
it was being built. Mathematically this workflow scales as the square of the
database size, requiring hundreds of trillions of iris cross-comparisons
daily. Avoiding "ID collisions" (False Matches) at such a scale is made
possible because the entropy extracted by the iris recognition algorithms
famously confers extreme resistance against False Matches. A short
article describing this application and how it works is available at
the next link on the Main Page.
- A similar national ID program has been launched by the Government
of Indonesia, whose target is to enroll the iris patterns and fingerprints
of the full population of 172 million persons within a few years, proceeding
at the rate of about 600,000 per day. The Indonesian National ID Program uses
the acronym "e-KTP" for the electronic national identity card.
- The Government of Singapore has launched iris recognition for
ID cards, passports, immigration control and border clearance (ICA).
- In Mexico, the National Population Register ("RENAPO") aims to
encode and enroll the iris patterns of 110 million citizens, with a
parallel programme targeted at school children for security purposes.
- The US Department of Defense has enrolled the iris patterns
of 10 million service personnel in a military electronic ID card scheme
called CAC (Common Access Card).
- Several countries or emirates in the Middle East, including
Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates,
use these iris encoding algorithms for national registry purposes
and for Visa applications (e.g. to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage).
- Elsewhere in the Middle East, the UN Iris-ID Program uses these
algorithms for tracking and delivering aid to refugees from
the conflict in Syria. As described in this
Scientific American article, "Security systems identifying individuals
by their irises are a centerpiece of the United Nations assistance strategy
for Syrian refugees in Jordan."
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