India looks to secure maritime borders with biometric smart cards

May 13, 2013 - 

The National Informatics Centre (NIC) in Kerala is set to test a biometric identity card pilot project, in an attempt to better-secure India’s maritime borders.

Set to start in September 2013, 800 local fishermen will initially be included in the test and an estimated 300,000 more would be covered. Reported in The Hindu, the government plans to use card readers at harbour and authorized fish landing centres for authorities to verify the identities of fishermen, in an attempt to infiltrate terrorists from entering mainland India.

So far, the NIC has created a national database of 300,000 registered fishing vessels in the country and many operate in Kerala.

The news of this pilot test comes shortly after the Government Accountability Office published a scathing report which argues the TSA and USCG didn’t record clear baselines and didn’t track malfunctioning Transportation Worker Identification Cards (TWIC), despite a decade of work on the system.

TWICs contain fingerprint records, as well as a digital photograph of the card holder.

In the last year, Kerala has seen numerous biometric system deployments. Early this year, police stations were looking to add fingerprint and iris scanning capabilities. In April, Kerala University deployed a biometric workforce management system as a part of a government objective across all universities and some government departments.

A recent research note suggests a systematic approach is needed to implement eID programs, as demand for these technologies has increased, but so too have challenges in issuance, usability and accuracy.


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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