NADRA, Sindh Police disagree over fingerprint database usage

November 13, 2012 - 

The Sindh Provincial Police and the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) in Pakistan have come to an impasse regarding access to fingerprint data, reported.

Sindh police authorities have been seeking access to NADRA’s comprehensive fingerprint data since early 2011. In Pakistan, NADRA exists to index the biometric and issue national identity cards to citizens – they are not an arm of law enforcement.

Recently, NADRA announced the roll-out of new smart ID cards, claimed to be the most advanced identity document in the world.

According to an anonymous source in the article, the Sindh police feel as though their scope of work demands they have access to such a national database, though NADRA maintains that their databases are solely meant for identity management, not law enforcement.

Additionally, there are differences in the kind of biometric data stored by NADRA’s database, as opposed to a database storing criminal data. The NADRA civilian AFIS uses flat fingerprints, and the criminal AFIS uses roll fingerprints. Also, NADRA captures only a frontal face photo, whereas criminal systems use right and left poses as well.

Though there is disagreement between these two organizations, NADRA has helped identify criminals in the past.

“The meat of the point is that NADRA shares information and not data with the law-enforcement agencies. This way, the privacy of citizens also remains protected against abuse,” the article’s anonymous source said.

Do you think law enforcement agencies should have access to citizen identity management biometric databases?

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj