The new program, headed by NADRA and sponsored by the Pakistani Government, is designed to mitigate terrorism and ethnic violence by helping the country enhance national security and prevent problems related to identity theft, fraud and the use of unauthorized identity documents.

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In the wake of heightened concerns over the misuse of identity and identity documents, the government of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Pakistan has taken a proactive approach to the problem by implementing smart, machine readable radio frequency ID (RFID) passports and national ID cards that integrate multiple biometrics.

NADRA now issues state-of-the-art, machine readable passports and national IDs that include face and finger biometric technologies to ensure authorized applicants are uniquely tied to the secure identity document issued.

“Addressing the growing problem of identity theft and fraud is critical in the Middle East and South Asian countries. We have taken significant steps in Pakistan to protect our citizens and show social responsibility to the international community by verifying a person is who he or she claims to be before allowing that individual to enter and exit the country,” said Brigadier (Retd.) Saleem Ahmad Moeen, chairman of NADRA.

“After an extensive evaluation of various face recognition options, we selected Viisage based on the strength of its technology, the overall company approach and responsiveness to our needs.”

Chairman Moeen continued, “Our partnership and joint strategy is already receiving recognition. Recently, I presented the new passport solution at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference in Montreal, Canada and we were noted as a leader in implementing ICAO’s vision of a smart passport, integrating RFID, face recognition and fingerprint technologies.”

NADRA will use Viisage’s FaceTOOLS(R) product to conduct a one-to-one face recognition search against an applicant’s recorded image in the national ID database.

Additionally, Viisage’s FaceEXPLORER(R) will be used for one-to-many checking to cleanse the national ID database, ensure that duplicates are uncovered, and screen images against watch lists.

Pakistan’s national ID database contains more than 40 million images, making this one of the largest worldwide face recognition projects to date.

After launching its Machine Readable Passport in Pakistan, NADRA is now in a position to market its product internationally. The product contains a unique 2-D bar code and encrypted data in the chip, which has biometrics and other security features.

“NADRA is a valued partner and our visions have aligned perfectly in helping Pakistan protect its citizens and secure its borders,” said Bernard Bailey, president and CEO of Viisage.

“Pakistan’s national ID and passport program demonstrates leadership in implementing advanced technologies to solve identity problems and further establishes a standard for other countries to follow.”