Mobile biometric devices are making it easier for law enforcement and border patrol agents to identify and authenticate persons in the field and on the go.Mobile biometrics has become a norm in today’s world. With all major smartphone manufacturers incorporating fingerprint scanners into their phones now, society has gotten used to using biometric data for identification and authentication on a daily basis. Yet, when it comes to law enforcement or border control using biometric data the discussion gets more complicated.
Still, the mobile biometrics market is quickly expanding and it is forecast to reach US$49.3 billion by 2022, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. Growth is attributed to the growing penetration of mobile devices and increase in mobile transactions. Additionally, advances in battery and camera technology are also contributing to the development of better mobile biometric devices.
For law enforcement and border control agencies, the use of mobile biometric devices is experiencing significant growth. Its ability to provide a convenient and secure way to identify persons at anytime, anywhere is not only contributing to public safety and security, but is also increasing effectiveness and efficiency.
How it’s being used
Today, more and more people are on the move. Mass migrations as a result of geopolitical instability and economic hardships, increased tourism, and more globally integrated business models are highlighting the need for more effective and efficient identity management solutions.
Identity management is being made easier with the deployment of biometric electronic documents and biometric databases such as automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) and automated biometric identification systems (ABIS). “The biometric verification is now accessible in mobility, this is for electronic ID document control and/or to perform biometrics verification to the AFIS/ABIS,” said Rémi Guidet, Marketing Director for Identification Solutions at Gemalto.
The usefulness of being able to identify persons on the spot is even more evident on the border where there are multiple border points of entry covering sea, land and air. “Not all border locations are conducive to disembarkation, have appropriate fix screening infrastructure or are set up for volume surges,” said John Hinmon, VP of Global Marketing at Crossmatch. “And for law enforcement, in-field forensics can enhance effectiveness, while budgetary pressures demand more efficient working procedures.”
It is in instances such as these that mobile biometric devices come in handy. “They enable people’s identities to be captured and verified fast and accurate at any location. This improves and speeds up the work and efficiency of these authorities,” said Gunther Mull, CEO of Dermalog. “Also, mobile solutions are often cheaper to purchase than stationary solutions.”
“With mobile identification, officers can fingerprint individuals without proper ID documents in the field rather than spending hours taking the subject to the station for fingerprinting. This increases productivity so that officers can spend more time on the street protecting communities,” said Shelley Luster, Marketing Manager at Fulcrum Biometrics. “Another use case involves mobile ID ensuring warrants are served on the right individuals. This protects departments from litigation stemming from wrongful arrest.”
Jacky Lecuivre, CEO of Coppernic, noted that one of the main issues for law enforcement agencies is that on-site infrastructures often don’t exist or have been dismantled. “It means that the only solution to fit their needs, in terms of efficiency and flexibility, is to equip the policemen in charge of border control and/or law enforcement with mobile devices that integrate into a single box the required data capture technologies (i.e., biometric, RFID [contactless], smart card [contact], barcode, OCR [MRZ] and the most recent wireless communication systems [e.g., Wi-Fi, BT, GSM/GPRS, 3G, 4G LTE, GPS]).”
Lecuivre added that the police of the world are facing a very serious requirement: to be able to control and authenticate any kind of new generation (biometric/ electronic) secured ID documents anywhere and anytime. This includes in airports and at the entrance and exit of the aircrafts; at ports; at train stations and on the trains; at bus stations and on the buses; at many crossing points that exist along land borders; and as well as anywhere within a territory.