Lebanon Businessnews News

Inkript wins biometric
passport tender
Citizens will begin using them in 2017
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Inkript, a member of Resource Group Holding (RGH), recently won a tender to security-print biometric passports.

A SIM card-sized chip will be inserted in passports to give security personnel a complete account of the identity and criminal history of their holders, including fingerprints and some facial recognition features. This comes in line with the request made by the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Inkript held a joint venture with French firm Gemalto, based in the Netherlands to participate in the tender. Jacques Seif, General Manager of Inkript, said: “We will handle all the programming and software development in-house, while Gemalto will be in charge of manufacturing the passports and matching the program’s interface with the coding machines.”

Production is expected to begin within a year. The contract’s term is three years, and Inkript will produce one million biometric passports.

ICAO has set November 24, 2015 as the deadline for all non-machine readable passports to be placed out of circulation.

“The passports will be used by citizens in one and a half years,” said General Hassan Ali Ahmad, Head of the Information Technology Department at the Directorate General of General Security.

Gemalto, a digital security company, has created more than 25 biometric passport programs and government-related programs for more than 80 countries.

The passports will be issued when the old passports expire. The contract, valued at $35 million, was funded by a Saudi grant.

The change in the cost and the expiration dates of the new passports are still being studied. Currently, a one-year passport costs $40 and a five-year passport costs $200.

“Biometric passports will play an imperative role in limiting forgery attempts,” Ali Ahmad said.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Feb 23, 2015
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