Oman goes biometric with Safran

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Already a regional leader in embracing identity technology, Oman this week announced a new multi-biometric platform to better integrate its national biometric identity mechanisms.

In partnership with Safran Identity & Security, the Sultanate will deploy an Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS) aimed at enhancing public security and boosting tourism.

According to Safran, ABIS will facilitate communication between Oman’s multiple biometric-enabled systems in a single database capable of managing fingerprint, facial recognition, iris scan, and DNA data. The platform is also designed to execute biometric enrollment, identification and verification services across all government organizations.

Oman has previously collaborated with Safran to build an expat worker identification program powered by iris scans as well as a local-level fingerprint identification system.

“We are very honored that the Sultanate of Oman has renewed its confidence in Safran Identity & Security after an intense competitive bidding to deploy this unique system in the world,” Samuel Fringant, Executive Vice President of Safran’s Security Division, said in a press release.  “This contract allows us to consolidate our relationship with Oman and strengthen our local presence through sustained investment, especially in the area of high technologies.”

The Sultanate has long been an early adopter of new public sector identity technologies. As part of its National Registry System, Oman became the first Middle Eastern country to roll out a biometric smart card ID program in 2002. The system was honored by the United Nations in 2009 for its success in improving the delivery of public services, and today Omanis can use their e-ID cards for everything from voting to paying for parking.

The ABIS platform will incorporate civil identity along with other major existing programs like the “iBorders” system, which uses biometric data for border control and traveler risk assessment, and the Royal Oman Police’s “Yaqeen” biometric criminal database.

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Kaelyn Lowmaster is One World Identity’s Principal Analyst. Prior to joining OWI, she worked in the Army’s International Affairs Division at the Pentagon, and coordinated Johns Hopkins’ graduate programs in Nanjing, China. Kaelyn holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and a BA from Colgate University. She is currently based in Tokyo.