Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Slate: How Biometric IDs Will Help Developing Countries Fight Corruption and Bust Fake Workers.

I’ve Got My Eye on You (
Call 2011 the year of the biometric ID. Once the territory of high-security enclaves and spy novels, identification by iris scan, fingerprint, and other unique physical features has now become de rigueur around the world—especially in India, whose program to ID every citizen has been the subject of almost giddy reports about the technology’s potential to democratize society. The New York Times described India’s biometric database as “building real citizenship” for the first time. Wired emphasized how biometrics can finally bring the disenfranchised into the formal economy. The New Yorker detailed the necessity of IDs for the poor in accessing formal savings opportunities.

But entirely underemphasized is another major upside of biometric IDs and the shift to electronic payments: solving the ghost-worker problem.
Slate has a great article on using biometric ID management technologies in developing countries to help interrupt the corruption-poverty feedback loop.

The themes, and even some of the article's linked material, will be familiar to regular readers but the article contains detail on specific implementations and makes a compelling case for more widespread adoption.

Other posts on Biometrics & Development