Saskatchewan Introduces Biometric System to Fight ID Fraud

Identity theft represents one of the fastest growing industries, worth nearly $50 billion a year, and 90% of ID thefts use printed sources rather than digital ones.  In Canada, the provincial government of Saskatchewan is about to harness new biometric technology to fight it.

In order to prevent the production of duplicate (and fraudulent) drivers licenses, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has announced that it will launch the use of facial recognition technology.

The change won’t affect drivers at all — when a resident applies for a license, a facial recognition system will convert their image into a biometric template. This can then be used to compare the ID document against others in the database,

The move is a part of a greater trend in biometric ID systems, which are becoming increasingly popular, especially in Canada.

The facial recognition will also reportedly help improve road safety by preventing suspended drivers from created new IDs in order to get a license. SGI president and CEO Andrew Cartmell said, “This enhances road safety for everyone because it means someone with a suspended or revoked driver’s license isn’t able to continue driving by getting a new license under a different name.”

The photo, when it becomes enrolled in the recognition system, is transformed into a numerical template of the photo by using landmarks on the face, like size and the shape of the eyes, nose and jaw.

“Facial recognition technology will be used only for a very specific purpose; to detect fraud and maintain the integrity of Saskatchewan’s driver’s license and photo ID system,” says SGE on its site.

Customers won’t be required to get a new photo or card until the old ones expire. There also will not be any additional cost to customers, in an effort to make the transition seamless to customers.


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