Citizen identity defined

July 2010 News & Events

The South African citizen is likely to see (and touch) more biometrics in the coming years.

For over a century and a half now, citizen fingerprints have been an integral part of the South African citizen’s identity, and thus today, departments such as Home Affairs and Social Development among others, link such biometrics to an individual’s registration as a citizen, issuance of an ID book, passport and driving licence, attest records of education, marriage, divorce and inheritance as well as to disburse state welfare pensions.

Fingerprints have also, like in the rest of the world, played a crucial role in crime detection, adding scientific precision to the establishment of culpability, and in the long run deter offenders from repeating criminal acts. South Africa will shortly be adding yet other dimensions to the biometric capability, capacity and infrastructure – critical drivers being the recently enacted Child Protection and Sexual Offenders Acts.

Making the situation more complex and contentious has been the recent amendment to the Forensic Bill, almost simultaneously with the introduction of the Privacy of Personal Information (POPI) Bill, both addressing different and yet fundamentally inter-related issues, bringing us to face questions surrounding the use of technologies such as biometrics to tread upon individual identity.

On one hand, law enforcement agencies surely need a wider mandate to ascertain identities, whether it is of immigrants, private security personnel, individuals managing critical installations and facilities as well as an entire range of state and corporate staff, among others. However, on the other hand, modern democratic societies have chosen protection of individual privacy to be of paramount importance. It is thus the age-old debate between security and protection versus privacy and liberty. In some way, these two bills have thus attempted to find the best trade-off and the most effective cross-check between the two.

Nonetheless, we are going to see biometrics usage grow even further in the next few years, and also see dramatic changes in the way biometrics are deployed. We will also see the diversification of this technology beyond fingerprints to facial, iris and vein recognition among others, is also likely to change not only the rules, but the game itself.

At the forthcoming Citizen Identity event, on 27 September, these and other issues will be discussed.

For more information contact Carol Willis, +27 (0)11 462 1690,

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Pentagon appointed as Milestone distributor
Elvey Security Technologies News & Events Surveillance
Milestone Systems appointed Pentagon Distribution (an Elvey Group company within the Hudaco Group of Companies) as a distributor. XProtect’s open architecture means no lock-in and the ability to customise the connected video solution that will accomplish the job.

Re-introduction of the booking system
PSiRA (Private Security Ind. Regulatory Authority) News & Events
[Sponsored] PSiRA is reintroducing the booking system for branch visits. Effective Monday, 4 December 2023, clients will be required to book a slot to visit any PSiRA branch.

From the editor's desk: A sad but exciting goodbye
Technews Publishing News & Events
Welcome to the final monthly issue of SMART Security Solutions. This is the last issue of the year and the last monthly issue we will print. The SMART Security Solutions team wishes all our readers and advertisers a relaxing festive season and a peaceful and prosperous 2024.

Regal celebrates successful golf day
Regal Distributors SA News & Events
Regal Distributors held its first official Regal Golf Day on 18 October at the Glendower Golf Course in Johannesburg. SMART Security Solutions was there on a hot summer’s day to meet many players and sponsors around the course.

Gallagher Security releases Command Centre v9
Gallagher News & Events Access Control & Identity Management Integrated Solutions
Richer features, greater integrations, with the release of Gallagher Security’s Command Centre v9 security site management software designed to integrate seamlessly with various systems and hardware.

Regal launches direct-to-branch WhatsApp communication
Regal Distributors SA News & Events
With a quick scan of a QR code and a few taps on your phone, installers, integrators, technicians or even end-users can chat directly with the team at their preferred Regal branch via WhatsApp

FM Expo highlights industry trends and challenges
Securex South Africa News & Events Facilities & Building Management
Keeping tabs on what is happening within the building/facilities management arena can be frustrating, however, a quick way to find out what current trends, challenges, and solutions are available can be found at the Facilities Management Expo.

South Africa shows a 1200% increase in deepfake fraud
News & Events Risk Management & Resilience
Sumsub released its third annual Identity Fraud Report of the year, analysing identity fraud across industries and regions based on millions of verification checks across 28 industries and over 2 million fraud cases.

Projections for 2024’s Advanced Threats Landscape
News & Events Information Security
Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) experts offer insights and projections for 2024 in the Kaspersky Security Bulletin, with a focus on the evolution of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT).

Helping South African university students and staff to stay safe
News & Events
Buzzer is a free mobile app that allows users to quickly and easily report incidents of crime, violence, or harassment to campus security and other relevant authorities.