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July 13, 2009

IBM Signs 7-year National Biometric Identity Service Contract with U.K. Identity and Passport Service

IBM has signed a seven-year agreement with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to provide a core element of the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) plans to upgrade to biometric passports. IBM (News - Alert) said the agreement will improve the security of the U.K. border.
 
The National Identity Service combines dedicated identity documents, such as passports and identity cards, while providing a range of identity services for both individuals and businesses. It will make use of biometrics or unique physical features (the face and the fingerprints) to lock a person to his/her unique biographical identity (name, address, date of birth). The National Identity Service replaces the need for a range of documents with one card.
 
According to the agreement, IBM will provide a replacement for the U.K. Border Agency's (UKBA) Immigration and Asylum Fingerprint System (IAFS) which holds biometrics collected from visa applicants. The contract will also offer a secure database for storing facial and fingerprint images for the next generation of biometric passports.
 
John Granger, general manager of IBM Global Business Services, said: “At a time when the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, both through personal travel and electronically, these new systems are part of building a smarter and safer planet where identifying ourselves when we travel is easier and more convenient. We look forward to extending and enhancing our existing relationship with the IPS and the U.K. Border Agency.”
 
IBM will integrate and operate the solution as the prime contractor. IBM will use its hardware and software capacities to build these solutions. Apart from obtaining biometric services and software from Sagem (News - Alert) Securite (SAFRAN Group), IBM will also obtain integration and operations support from Atos Origin.
 
Recently, the City of Venice worked with IBM to develop a mobile phone-based pilot initiative which will provide instant information on historical sites. Visitors to Venice who have a Wi-Fi enabled mobile device can download an application called TagMyLagoon with the help of a new free Wi-Fi network provided by Venice throughout the city.

Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray
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