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Smartmatic, Haiti partner for national biometric civil ID and registry


The government of Haiti has announced it will partner with Smartmatic to modernize the Caribbean country’s civil and identity registry system.

Smartmatic will transfer all the required technology knowledge to Haiti as the process unfolds. This project is set to begin immediately with a one-year implementation phase, in which Smartmatic will deploy 700 registration units to biometrically capture faces and ten fingerprints from all Haitian citizens.

“We at Smartmatic are focused on our projects having a significant social value for citizens in the countries where we operate,” Antonio Mugica, Smatmatic’s CEO said. “We firmly believe this will improve the quality of life for Haitians.”

Of the 700 units from Smartmatic, 600 will be distributed across the national territory and the remaining 100 will be used for foreign missions abroad. Additionally, Smatmatic will provide associated services, such as project management and technical support to ensure Haiti has the necessary infrastructure to implement a biometric enrollment platform for its population.

Ever since a massive earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, claiming 300,000 lives, the country has been in a state of constant upheaval. One of the more pressing concerns for the government has been to reach realistic figures about the populations living in Haiti’s national territory. Since the earthquake, there has been a significant migration of people across the region, aggravating the need for an updated national biometric registry.

According to a Spacedaily report, ID fraud and theft have been rampant since the earthquake. “The [earthquake’s] aftermath saw unscrupulous gangs engaging in crimes that ranged from theft of relief supplies, state funds and materials to various kinds of ID fraud aimed at extracting donations, many from the United States.”

Many of the scams are helped by lack of data about Haitian citizens, the article suggests. “Abuse of aid funds is seen as one of the reasons why only about half of the $4.46 billion aid pledged after the quake has found its way into Haiti.”

A recent BiometricUpdate.com Biometric Research Note looks at the implementation of government eID programs and asserts that accuracy and systematic processes are keys to a successful system.

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