PICA to Introduce Facial Recognition System

by / Tuesday, 21 July 2015 / Published in Latest posts

The Government will be introducing a new US$1.38 million facial recognition system (FRS) at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).

  • The FRS will serve as an upgrade to the current Jamaica Passport Issuance and Control System (JPICS), which was implemented in 2001 to provide electronic functionality and machine readable passports.
  • Facial recognition is a type of biometric software capable of identifying a specific individual in a digital image.

The Government will be introducing a new US$1.38 million facial recognition system (FRS) at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
The aim is to better protect the identities of persons applying for passports, said Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer.
She was addressing a Jamaica House Press Briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister today (July 15).

The FRS will serve as an upgrade to the current Jamaica Passport Issuance and Control System (JPICS), which was implemented in 2001 to provide electronic functionality and machine readable passports. Since the JPICS was introduced, over 790 cases of identity theft have been detected. Senator Falconer noted that the FRS, which has over two million machine readable photographs in its database, will reduce or eliminate problems of double identity and improve passport processing workflow.

“All photographs received from applicants will be checked against this database to identify a one-to-one match or to eliminate one-to-many matches,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Jennifer McDonald, said the new FRS will allow PICA to have “a greater level of identity management.”
“What we really want to do is, if someone comes to us with (someone else’s name) we will see that it is a different photograph, and we are able to match not just the obvious matches but we are looking digitally at the various features of the face to see the extent to which one’s face is the same as, or is different from another,” she explained.

She noted that while the technology is new to Jamaica, it has been used in many other countries. In the meantime, Minister Falconer informed that Canadian Bank Note Company which provided that JPICS has been awarded the contract to procure the FRS. The contract provides for the provision of database servers and associated software, as well as a two-year maintenance and support services agreement. Facial recognition is a type of biometric software capable of identifying a specific individual in a digital image.

Click on video link to watch The Jamaica House Media Briefing, where the announcement was made:

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