Babatunde Anifowoshe, chief information security officer, Nigeria's National Identity Management Commission
18 December 2014 11:14 GMT

Biometrics, identity and information security are areas of great interest. The need to capture biometrics has amplified within Africa and is phenomenal, especially in Nigeria.

Biometrics is captured in relatively all major sectors within the country, for example driving license authorities, Examination bodies, Embassies, banks, regulatory organisations, electoral commissions, telecommunication companies etc.  All these organisations require that biometrics (Fingerprints) are captured and they attach some sort of a unique number to each individual and biometrics captured.

The area of concern is the use and security of biometrics being captured.  The lack of adequate infrastructure within the continent and country makes it difficult to use Biometrics as a means of verification.

Presently, Nigeria, for example, barely use the biometric feature of any data captured for identification in any major services. However, there is a growing commitment to improving the infrastructure in place to ensure the use of biometrics as a means of identification and verification.

From a security perspective, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole, lacks adequate indigenous biometric specialists that are security orientated. With the growth of the Biometric industry in Africa there will be need to shift the emphasis from capture of biometrics to the security of biometrics from a storage and transmission perspective.  

In conclusion, Biometrics capture is widely focused on fingerprints. The capture of other biometrics features such as Iris and the use of other features, such as facial, for identification and verification may well be the next phase, which leverages the need for security of biometrics being captured.

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