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Switzerland to spend $27M on new multimodal biometric matching system

Switzerland to spend $27M on new multimodal biometric matching system

The Swiss government is earmarking 24.61 million Swiss francs (roughly US$27.18 million) for the renewal and upgrade of the country’s Automated Fingerprint Matching System (AFIS). The new system named AFIS2026 will feature biometric facial image matching alongside fingerprint and palm print matching systems. The Federal Office of Police (Fedpol) clarified, however, that AFIS is not a facial recognition system as those are prohibited by law in Switzerland.

AFIS systems have been used for decades by law enforcement agencies worldwide for criminal investigations while governments also use them for elections and migration purposes. The Swiss police use AFIS to process more than 340,000 identification requests per year, receiving them from national and international law enforcement agencies, customs and migration authorities.

The new system will allow investigators to compare an image of a suspect with identifying images contained in the AFIS system.

“Facial image matching is a complementary method of biometric identification of people and traces from crime scenes, especially when fingerprint or DNA traces are lacking,” the government said in a press release.

The estimated costs of the AFIS2026 project from 2024 to 2026 will amount to CHF 26.82 million ($29.62 million). Operating costs are estimated at CHF 5.8 million.

The global market for AFIS may reach $68 billion by 2030, according to last year’s report from Allied Market Research (AMR). Among the key players for the future of AFISs are Thales, Idemia, HID Global, Precise Biometrics, Innovatrics, and Suprema, the report states.

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