Cambridge, UK-based Generics has created a digital-based ID verification system that, it claims, will render identity documents virtually tamper-proof.
Secure ID, as the technology is called, has emerged from Generics’ wider research into biometrics, and more specifically the development of signal processing methods that enable the regeneration of the same unique number from any analogue source, such as a passport photo.
This number is highly reliable and discriminatory: an authorised issuer (for example, the passport office) would incorporate the number into a digital signature, using public key cryptography, and capture the information in a 2D bar code. This code creates an unbreakable digital binding between the image and the data and would be carried on the identity document.
Any attempt to modify the photograph or any other element of the documentation would be uncovered as soon as the bar code was scanned.
Any third party, such as an immigration office, can check the validity of the document, as the signed bar code guarantees the link to the authorised issuer.
The technology and application of Secure ID could greatly enhance and simplify the security of passport control and other systems at very little cost.
As the bar code is digital it need not be an integral part of the physical document and can easily be retrofitted by a different authority than the original issuer of the document – for example, a UK passport office can issue its own digital barcode on a passport document issued by another country.
The technology also has potential for use with another biometric source such as a face, voice or hand.