Iris Scanners to Invade Entire City in Mexico

A biometrics research and development company looks to roll out iris recognition technology for national security, transportation and law enforcement projects in Leon, Mexico.

by / August 19, 2010
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In Minority Report, a movie by Steven Spielberg adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, iris scanners are everywhere -- from malls to mass transit -- watching citizens wherever they go. But in the not too distant future, that technology will be a way of life in the sixth largest city in Mexico.

In partnership with information systems company Portoss, Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI), a biometrics research and development firm, looks to roll out iris recognition technology for national security, transportation and law enforcement projects in Leon, Mexico.

"In the future, whether it's entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris," Jeff Carter, CDO of GRI, told Fast Company. "Every person, place and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years."

The effort in Leon will bring together some of the most advanced technology to enhance security in the city. The GRI will provide the technology while Portoss, a Leon-based company, will construct the central database and integrate iris capability across the city with miles of fiber-optic cable.

Iris scanners can process many more people per minute than other biometric technologies. Therefore, supporters see the scanners as a perfect tool for populations of millions or more and "large-scale urban activities," as noted by Alfonso Huerta Jimenez, CEO of Portoss.

"This project has far reaching implications for the state of iris biometrics, the 112 million citizens of Mexico, and the world," Hector Hoyos, CEO of the GRI, said in a release. "The project will utilize GRI's iris technologies to identify humans in motion and at a distance while ensuring liveness. Their requirements not only fit perfectly into the core of what we do best, they provide the most secure system possible in identity management and access control systems."

According to the release, the GRI's suite of iris-based biometric technologies has been evaluated across the public sector including U.S. government agencies, the Pentagon and the U.S. Air Force. Currently identity management products by the GRI are being used by corporate clients, including Bank of America. With Leon's location -- two hours south of Guadalajara and four hours north of Mexico City -- local officials see the iris recognition project as the beginning of a future trend.

"Our central location has catalyzed the city into becoming the foundation for one of the most important regions in the country," according to Leon Mayor Ricardo Sheffield. "Because of our growth and increase in investment over the last 10 years, the city is highly visible in the country. This project will further cement our position as a leader."


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