Why does my ID card need biometric technology?

Last updated: 28 March 2023

ID documents come in many forms, from state-issued ID cards, to passports and driving licenses. These documents are a very valuable commodity – after all, they contain large amounts of personal information, and they’re used by governments around the world as proof you are who you say you are. Fraudsters have long been known to create forged ID documents – whether to sell for a profit or use in criminal activity.

We believe that everyone in the world should have access to a secure, trusted identity. To help make that a reality, biometric technology is being integrated into ID documents.

Primarily, biometric technology in an ID card such as a passport, is designed to boost security. In an e-Passport for example, an embedded chip contains a digital version of the user’s photograph. When passing through a passport gate, the embedded photo can be compared and verified digitally against the user’s face, rather than relying on just a manual check.

Other biometric data, such as your fingerprints, could also be included on ID documents as another form of secure identification.

This is especially useful in the case of preventing electoral fraud. By adding biometrics to forms of identities, certain governments have seen huge reductions in the scale of corruption – as well as enjoying knock-on benefits such as lowering the cost of delivery of public services.

As well as making ID cards more secure in themselves, adding biometric technology makes them much harder to forge. This means that fewer fraudulent documents can be created, further improving security for all.

If you’d like to learn more about biometric technology, please look at our biometrics dossier here.