A primary step to defend national identity schemes is to protect and secure breeder documents. Breeder documents protection is a major subject for many governments as current geopolitical conflicts and terrorism benefit from identity theft and true-false ID documents.
What is a breeder document ?
As a basic definition, a breeder document is a document that can serve as a basis to obtain other identification documents such as a passport, an ID, a driver license, etc. One can then imagine what can be done if such a document is a fake…..
3 kinds of breeder documents can be identified:
- Civil : Birth, death, marriage or registered partnership certificates…
- Business : legal status of a company
- Other areas : real estate, residence and absence of criminal record.
A birth certificate is a good example of a breeder document: once counterfeited, it can be used to apply for genuine ID documents. Thus, this document is considered highly sensitive as it is the key to get access to official documents. Consequently, breeder documents protection is a major challenge for states as it is highly related to issues on international security and human trafficking.
Breeder documents: the starting point of frauds
Breeder documents usage has changed as their primary function was to record vital events (ex: birth). Nowadays, driving licenses, social security numbers and birth certificates are the most frequently occurring identification means (83%, 82% and 55% of cases, respectively): they are massively used as proof of identity. This new usage may leads to identity theft and document frauds as breeder documents protection is non-existent in most of the cases. Consequently, breeder documents turns out to be one of the favorite target of documents fraudsters as they are easy copying.
Besides the easy copying process, there is no clear definition and requirements regarding the creation process or their verification and validation. That’s why breeder documents are often considered as the starting point of identity theft and document fraud due to:
- A lack of security during the issuing process
- A large disparity: even if most of breeder documents are paper-based, their size, their emission mode, their role might be completely different
- No standards have been established yet to set up a general consent or a based model for breeder documents
Biometrics identification: the right solution?
Why use a document if the element to be verified is the owner ? Biometrics shall be the unique way to to identify a person. This secure identification allows the user to get access to a database, where its own documents and data are stored.
As an example, such a system has been implemented in Nigeria by HID for vehicle registration . The challenge is that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) collects driver and vehicle data to issue drivers licenses and vehicle documents while the Nigerian Police Force monitors and protects drivers and vehicles. The information collected by the FRSC is not readily available to the police out on the field. To solve this issue, the Nigerian Police adopted a mobile Biometric Central Motor Registry (BCMR) to provide real-time access to biometrically verifiable information. Vehicles and owners are registered into a biometric central database and issued a biometric RFID credential. When an officer wants to check a vehicle, he can use the card to leverage the secured data storage that allows access to all credential information.
Consequently, biometric identification for breeder documents protection offers many benefits such as reliable information, increased convenience and trust.
What are the issues with this technology ?
Different biometrics information are available to register an individual: fingerprints, iris, facial , DNA, etc. But for an efficient usage of biometrics for human identification, they should be captured right after the birth….and this is where ethical considerations have to be taken into account. Many communities and individuals refuse to let their child being registered at the birth due to medical reasons. But a defective birth registration can comprise the integrity of the entire identity management system. A recent study leaded by Michigan State University illustrated this difficulty:
- Palmprints : newborns keep their fists closed
- Iris capture : parental concerns caused by the IR illumination needed to capture correctly a picture of the iris
- Facial recognition : facial characteristics change over time
This same study shows that newborns fingerprint information capture hours after birth, even on half to non cooperative subjects, with oily finger skin using appropriate optical equipment are processible.
Research on this subject is key to turn the biometric identification into the great success everyone expects. Also breeder document shall be re-used by family members, for example after an individual death, this shows a weakness of this solution, and proving that physical document shall continue to exist.
Physical documents: an urgent need to be protected
What should be protected on the document ?
A document is usually composed of a support (mainly paper) and variable data (name, date of birth, picture, etc.). These two main components are critical to ensure that a document is genuine. Elements used for user identification are variable data. Unfortunately, it is very easy to modify them without any major physical damage of the document.
As a consequence, securing variable data is a key feature in the fight against breeder documents frauds. Indeed, this protection enables to:
- Make a document trustworthy
- Detect fraud easily
- Fight against identity theft
What is the solution?
Such concept is implemented in France by the French government using the technology named 2D-Doc (by Ariadnext) to ease verification process. This solution is based on 2D barcode containing document core information such as variable data. This code is secured by an electronic signature and might be authenticated thanks to a smartphone.
What are the issues?
Although variable data protection is key to protect a breeder document, it is not sufficient and do not prevent from document basic reproduction. A simple document photocopy will be authenticated by the barcode as it could be reproduced. The ultimate security should connect both variable data protection and physical document security solution for a full breeder documents protection, making thus a unique document non reproducible and non forgeable .
Digital Authentication Solutions: the ultimate protection ?
In order to make the most secured document, both document support and variable data shall be protected against fraud. A simple and well known solution is a NFC/RFID solution with a chip embedded in the document itself, containing all variable data.
An alternative solution (and costless solution) is to use a 2D barcode such 2D-DOC by Ariadnext and secure it by adding a digital document authentication prior to the barcode reading. Such technology can be obtained using DOCS (Document Certification by Signoptic®) , a solution based on Signoptic technology developed by Arjo Solutions.
DOCS is an end-to-end solution providing unitary authentication for any kind of documents. This solution relies on document surface microstructure to verify its authenticity, like a fingerprint. DOCS provides a powerful and easy to use solution detecting stolen blank documents, highlighting any falsifications and copies. It can be easily controled using a simple smartphone or a market scanner.
Thanks to this unique solutions combination, both document authenticity and variable data integrity can be guaranteed for an ultimate breeder documents protection.
From physical securities to full digitalization ?
Full digitalization is a long term project offering many positive impacts such as :
- Data volume : easy adaptation to behavioral environment
- Statistics data : prevent and plan flows / epidemic
- Dynamic vision of identity
- The owner masters the data he/she shares
Nevertheless, full digitalization may first target either emerging countries or specific documents (Nigeria and Australia). This solution depends on the government will to set up this long term project that will lead to many changes. The ecosystem containing market players (national printing, physical security provider) may slow down the change process.
Thus, for the next decades, physical documents will still exist, that’s why, in order to limit the growth of document frauds, breeder documents protection is a requirement.
To be efficient, this protection should consist in both securing variable data and the document itself.
Anyway the process is on progress, on the one hand European Origin project tends to set up a clear base and definition of Breeder Document. On the other hand, some countries are willing to go further in the digitalization process.