Nadra rolls out Iris biometric verification

Azaz Syed
June 03, 2023

It is an extremely reliable and accurate identification method with negligible false match rates, Nadra says

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A child gets an identity verification via Nadra's IRS. — Nadra/File

ISLAMABAD: In a significant development to strengthen the biometric verification system in the country, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) announced Saturday that it has deployed the Iris Recognition System (IRS) for identity verification and citizen deduplication.

A statement issued by the data regulation authority stated that after the launch of fingerprint matching as the first biometric deduplication modality over a decade ago — which was subsequently strengthened with facial-image matching capability — the newly-introduced Iris technology will now complement Nadra's existing biometric verification system.

"The Iris recognition system, which was piloted with great success at NADRA Headquarters, has now been rolled out in NADRA Mega Centres at Blue Area Islamabad, PECO Road Lahore and DHA Karachi. The phased deployment of the technology will continue across all 700 NRCs nationwide," the statement added.

Further explaining the way the IRS works, Nadra said that the automated biometric identification modality registers "distinctive patterns within a ring-shaped region surrounding the pupil of each eye for identification".

It is an extremely reliable and accurate identification method with negligible false match rates, Nadra said.

Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik said that the deployment of premium identity authentication by the database authority marks a significant leap forward in securing citizens' identities, where the "window to their souls become the fortress of their digital existence".

Malik further noted that since no two irises are the same, such modality of verification is not susceptible to identity duplication and theft.

He added: "Whether it's government services, financial institutions, or any other industry that deals with sensitive information, identity verification is a critical aspect of ensuring the integrity and security of our systems. With the IRIS biometric technology, we are taking a major step forward in streamlining and fortifying the processes of secure identification."

Nadra believes that Iris will not only further strengthen its unique identity issuance system but it will also include biometric identification of children as well.

The statement read: "Since Iris scanning is done through a special infrared camera to read and digitize iris patterns, it is near impossible to fake or imitate iris identity."

"A mathematical algorithm is used to convert these complex patterns into templates for matching. A combined facial, iris and fingerprint matching will complement each other for immutable identity provision and more accurate verification by NADRA," it concluded.

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