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Blockchain and biometrics leveraged for digital birth certificate in Brazil

Blockchain and biometrics leveraged for digital birth certificate in Brazil

The birth of a baby in Brazil has been registered on a blockchain through a biometric process in what was announced as a first by IBM and Growth Tech.

During a three-day pilot project, the birth certificate of a baby born at São José Health House in Rio de Janeiro, which had partnered with the 5th Civil Registry of Natural People, was registered on a blockchain powered by digital registry services from Growth Tech’s Notary Ledgers network using IBM Blockchain Platform.

A birth statement is made in the registry tool by a member of the delivery team, and the person who registers the child performs biometric identity verification with facial recognition, validates personal data with official agencies, and creates a digital identity for the baby.

“The Birth Registry is used to establish an immutable audit trail of the birth registration process through a number of private and government sector stakeholders who are, as required by Brazilian law, responsible for one or more aspects of the registration process. To this end, the distributed ledger, which is running on IBM Blockchain Platform, is used to keep a log of transactional data associated with workflow activities,” IBM Trusted Identity CTO Dan Gisolfi told Biometric Update in an email. “This is important because public notary companies work on behalf of the Government to carry out the initial birth registration for a specific locale. The initial registration process is subsidized by the Government but the local notary company is then allowed to charge fees for subsequent copies of the birth certificate. These local notaries are the issuers of record of the final birth certificate and as such all their actions are tracked on the ledger. The Government remains the responsible entity that maintains the system of record (SOR) for all citizen persona data.”

The objective of the pilot was to analyze the records created to consider their adoption for maternity wards in hospitals and other facilities.

“Although some maternity hospitals already have notary offices, the issue of a birth certificate is not that simple. In many cases, the parent has to face queues that last up to four hours, especially in public hospitals, with large numbers of births per day,” said Hugo Pierre, Growth Tech CEO and founder. “Blockchain registration is adding several benefits to the Brazilian families, such as the agility to deliver the document to the parents in timely manner.”

The use of blockchain for newborn registration will also bring agility to normally bureaucratic processes like real estate registrations or marriage certifications as adoption increases, according to the announcement.

“Baby Álvaro’s registration is an important step for blockchain in Brazil and shows its relevance in an increasingly digital scenario,” explains IBM Brazil’s Blockchain technical leader Carlos Rischioto. “Another point is that this is a technology that can be applied in different segments, transforming the way companies and citizens relate.”

Asked about the benefit of facial recognition in the process, Gisolfi notes that the biometric technology was implemented by the local partner, but the overall goal is to save time, improve the experience for all stakeholders, and increase trust in the system.

“Since the current workflow is extremely manual and plagued by the potential of human errors during the process which is governed by legal regulations, digital technologies such as facial recognition can provide value in several ways,” he says, by: “(a) authenticating the person(s) responsible for approving various steps within the registration workflow, (b) establishing a correlation for guardianship between parent and the baby’s birth record.”

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