A NADRA official conducting iris scan of a child at Islamabad office soon after the iris recognition technology was launched on June 4, 2023. Image Credit: NADRA

Islamabad: Pakistan’s national database authority has launched iris recognition technology in different cities to strengthen the current biometric verification system.

This technology is recognised as a highly reliable and accurate identification method. The National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) said in a statement that this technology will complement the automated fingerprint identification introduced over a decade ago and the facial recognition systems.

The system has been rolled out at mega centres at Blue Area in Islamabad, PECO Road in Lahore, and DHA in Karachi, following a successful pilot phase at NADRA headquarters. It will gradually be extended to all 700 NADRA registration centres nationwide.

Securing identities of citizens

The deployment of the iris recognition system marks a significant milestone in NADRA’s efforts to secure the identities of citizens, said Tariq Malik, the chairman of NADRA. He stated that state-of-the-art technology offers precision with enhanced security and efficiency in the identity verification of citizens.

By registering distinctive patterns of the eye of each individual, the automated biometric identification modality adds a third layer of security to NADRA’s existing biometric verification system. Since no two irises are the same, this technology makes it nearly impossible to duplicate or steal identities, offering unparalleled protection against fraudulent activities, Malik added. This upgrade will have far-reaching implications across various sectors, including government services and financial institutions, where secure identification is critical.

What is Iris Recognition?

Iris recognition is a biometric identification technology that uses unique patterns in the iris of an individual’s eye to verify their identity. The iris is the coloured part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. Every iris is unique to an individual, making it an ideal form of biometric verification.

How does it work?

Iris recognition works by capturing an image of the iris using a specialised camera or scanner. The image is then processed to extract the distinctive features and patterns of the iris, which are represented as a mathematical template or code. This template is compared to a database or pre-registered templates to identify or verify the individual.

Benefits of Iris Recognition

Iris recognition offers many benefits, including high accuracy, strong security, fast processing, and universal applicability. It provides precise identification, is resistant to fraud, requires no physical contact, and works for all ages. These advantages make it a powerful solution for enhancing security and streamlining identification processes. Once an iris is encoded, it does not require updating since the patterns in the iris remain consistent throughout a person’s lifetime.