Bhutan taps Papilon to create biometric database for law enforcement

digital identity biometric registration

The Department of Civil Registration and Census (DCRC) in Bhutan has announced a new program to capture residents’ biometric data in order to reduce crime rates in the country.

The project is set to collect different biometric datasets, including fingerprints, iris, palm, and facial data.

According to Kuensel, a Bhutanese daily newspaper, the country’s legacy automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), contracted in 2013, has already collected more than 40,000 fingerprints.

It is a necessary step, the paper claims, as Bhutanese Police reportedly received 252 cases for fingerprint identification in the past five years, of which only 81 matched those in their database.

The first pilot of the ABIS project was launched on April 6 in Thimphu, the country’s capital.

The biometric identification system will be used not only to identify criminals, DCRC said, but also to identify fingerprints of contested documents from various agencies such as courts, the National Land Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission.

It may also be utilized in the future to provide residents with digital identification services at a governmental level.

The new system is created by Turkish biometrics company Papilon Savunma. The performance of the company’s biometric algorithms has been tested by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, and its technology has been certified by the FBI.

Kuensel confirmed that, while the ABIS will be available in every police station, all sensitive information will be routed through Virtual Private Network (VPN) to guarantee the safety of citizens’ biometric data.

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