A tender released to the market for biometric technology equipment, services and support by the South African Police Services (SAPS) has thrown down a gauntlet for the domestic biometric technology market.

This is the view of executive management at Ideco, a South African distributor of Morpho fingerprint biometric solutions.

Marius Coetzee, MD of Ideco, believes the level of instruction and direction within the tender is on par with anything that would be released at global law enforcement agencies such as Scotland Yard or the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

He stresses the fact that the tender would ensure a chain of evidence that could be used as undisputable proof of an identity.

“The South African industry needs to realise that few biometric solutions operate totally in isolation. At some point it needs to interface to SAPS for criminal record checks or to the DHA for online fingerprint verification or to other legacy systems for identity clearing. If industry solutions do not comply with these minimum standards the civil systems would simply reject it,” he says.

The tender specifies that biometric solutions must comply with various elements, including quality of fingerprint images as specified by the FBI and endorsed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), biometric information management as specified by FIPS 201 and South Africa’s SABS under SANS 19785, as well as biometric information interoperability as specified by SABS under SANS 19794.

“It is important to note that the local industry seldom considers any standards. Procurements are based on features or functionality and looks, only to realise in court that the evidence render useless. In many cases the industry is also mislead about standards because suppliers simply do not understand the relevance of certain standards,” Coetzee adds.