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Interpol’s new multi-biometric system from Idemia goes live

Chris Burt

30 Nov 2023

Idemia is supplying fingerprint and facial recognition software to Interpol to aid in police investigations and border control functions, as part of the international law enforcement body’s Biometric Hub.

The Biometric Hub, or BioHub, reached remote operation at borders in mid-November, Interpol says, recounting the story of a fugitive migrant smuggler who was caught posing as a migrant and carrying a fraudulent identification document. It can perform up to a million searches a day, against fingerprint, palm and face biometrics. Its first phase of operation, for identification of persons of interest by law enforcement, went live in October.

Interpol plans to deploy the technology to frontline officers and border locations over the next two years.

The enhanced BioHub will utilize Idemia’s fifth-generation Multibiometric Identification System (MBIS) as its matching engine, according to a company announcement. The upgrade agreement was originally part of a contract renewal signed by Idemia in 2019, and the company revealed that it is supplying its MBIS in 2021.

MBIS 5 features newer algorithms that provide higher matching accuracy in a shorter response time through an interface Idemia says is more user-friendly. The company refers to its high scores in matching performance in NIST testing for fingerprints (MINEX), iris (IREX) and face biometrics (FRVT).

“The Biometric Hub helps law enforcement officers know right away whether the person in front of them poses a security risk,” says Interpol Director of Operational Support and Analysis Cyril Gout. “This is especially important in situations where travel documents are not available or trustworthy.”

Previously, checks against Interpol biometric databases involved multi-step processes including a manual review, and therefore did not return results immediately. The BioHub allows checks against multiple databases with a single search. Manual reviews are still performed if the match does not meet a threshold due to low data quality, according to Interpol’s announcement.

“This project reinforces our longstanding partnership with Interpol, which has been going strong for over 20 years,” says Idemia Group Executive VP for Public Security and Identity Matt Cole. “With the delivery of the new MBIS, developed thanks to our strong dedication to R&D, Interpol will have access to cutting-edge fingerprint, palm print and face identification technologies, enabling it and member countries to identify persons of interest faster than ever before.”

The BioHub is now available to all 196 of Interpol’s member countries.

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