PH needs single agency for biometrics data collection, exec says

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By Tom Noda A top executive of a Philippine-based biometrics technology firm said the creation of a single entity or agency in charge of all data collection and storage is the best solution to prevent the possible misuse or abuse of information that pertains to a citizen’s unique physiological characteristics. biometrics3 “It would be best to have a single authorized entity for collecting and storing all the information. Having only one source of data is a way to ensure that input and output of such data is controlled,” said Francis Cruz, general manager of Filmetrics Corporation that specializes in biometrics solutions. Cruz said biometrics involves the acquisition of data from a person’s iris, fingerprint, facial characteristics, among others. He said that unlike in other countries, the Philippines still lacks a national ID system. Instead the government issues the Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) as the single identity card for the four main government agencies — the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Pag-IBIG Fund or Home Development Mutual Fund. “Right now the data is stored electronically everywhere,” Cruz said. “Hopefully, a case can be made to house the fingerprint records of millions of Filipinos under a single location.” In the corporate or enterprise level, Cruz said companies should make sure the data collected is securely stored in their servers. “Of course, their storage should conform to ISO data security standards.” He said biometrics technology in the country is still in its early stages, thus, its usage is not yet maximized. “Institutions have learned to trust it for time and attendance systems. But biometrics has not yet been optimized for other uses such as fast transaction systems, immigration checks and others. A lot can be done with biometrics as we make the technology more available and the price less restrictive,” Cruz said. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="20203,20204,20205,20206"] At Filmetrics, he said the company does integration of biometrics data with access control tools, PVC cards, radio frequency identification (RFID), encrypted quick-response (QR) codes and mobile devices. He said that around 40 percent of Filipinos still do not have any proper form of ID, giving citizens a hard time to get anything done. But with a secure card, processing of transactions can be streamlined, he siad. “Many Filipinos still lack the means for identifying themselves and therefore are unable to claim benefits from the government. With biometrics in place, the government would be assured that what it distributes is given to the correct people, and the people in turn will get faster and more secure services,” Cruz said. ]]>

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