By Prince Osuagwu
After listening to many ICT experts lament on the lack of a dependable central data system, and the dangers of identity crisis in a large populated country like Nigeria, at the recent concluded computer Telecommunications and Office equipment expo, CTO in Lagos, organised by the United States commercial Consulate, fears of the unknown set in amongst many participants.
Even news reporters who evaluated the scenario to find out that they can also be caught in the web of this menacing identity crisis, went to work, ensuring that all hands are on deck to ensure a safe Nigeria. And so, in the cover page of last edition of Vanguard Cyberlife, the question was, who is a Nigerian?
The question was to draw home, the point, that the situation might degenerate to a point, if it has not already, where outsiders would infiltrate the country and identification of a true Nigerian becomes problematic since there may be no sustainable data back-up to support whatever true evidence.
But true indications are thatÂ a lot more Nigerians both home and abroad are scared stiff of what tomorrow might bring, while many others are taking steps to see that the future is not bleak.
However, when a US based Nigerian ICT expert, Mr Tunde Ayoola called on Vanguard at the weekend, he trailed the issues of identity crisis and provided solutions that can complement an effective central data system when it eventually comes into being.
Ayola is Chief Executive Officer/MD of Yato Group,Â a security technology company providing alternative energy and integrated Biometric hardware and software solutions.
For him, even with a central data system, there are still other factors that needed to be in place for a sustainable identity security system in a country.
Ayoola said, â€œyour lastÂ week edition of Cyberlife in which you asked who is a Nigerian is a poser to every Nigerian. Some of us have been worried if nobody is seeing the dangers ahead. You were making a case for a central data system but the issue of security system and identity crisis in Nigeria, goes beyond central data system.
In any case, a central data system does not work in isolation. There are other factors that make a central data system sustainable. There must be data-based products and security compliant solution offerings. In fact, that is why some of us left the developed economies where we were operating, to establish in Nigeria, because no place is better than home.
For instance, my idea of bringing YatoSecure home, was to see that a sustainable security system is in place in a world sought- after economy like Nigeria. About three of our products which have been in the market for three months now can complement any central data systemâ€
The solutions , according to him, included the Staff Assurance, which he said was a quick and highly accurate non-obtrusive vein scanning recognition and identification system integrated with the application to provide staff verification for employment process.
Statistics indicate that approximately 34% of all job applicants lie about their previous or current employment data, meaning that employment verifications is imperative. According to Ayoola, Staff Assurance, provides access to candidateâ€™s true identity like address, qualifications, titles, salary, reasons for leaving and previous work experience. He said that the solution was supported by biometric solution.
He noted that YatoSecure has an entire department of verification specialists who are professionally trained and ready to assist in credentialing needs.
Ayoola also announced the educational solution product, The Exam Assurance.Â Â This solution, he said, is a palm vein authentication recognition system,Â primarily designed to prevent professional test takers, referred to as a â€˜proxyâ€™, from taking a test for another candidate. The solution can be easily implemented in professional exams as well as exams in higher education institutions.
This solution verifies the identity of the test takers by using the companyâ€™s authentication solution and will effectively prevents individuals from taking the test for others.
The solution uses a near infrared light to capture a personâ€™s palm vein pattern, generating a unique biometric template that is matched against pre-registered usersâ€™ palm vein patterns. This advanced, vascular pattern recognition technology provides a highly reliable form of authentication and makes the registration processes more seamless for the exam takers.
According to him, â€œthis solution is capable ofÂ improving the quality of education system in Nigeria and thus secure the exam credibility in higher education institutions on a global level. It provides unsurpassable accuracy, maximum candidate privacy, and is the ultimate solution for global identity management over single fingerprint biometrics.
â€œVein recognition technology is secure because the authentication data exists inside the body and is therefore very difficult to forge. It is also highly accurateÂ in testing using several hundreds of thousands of palm profiles of individuals, it had a false acceptance rate of less than 0.00008% and a false rejection rate of 0.01%â€.
Palm vein authentication works by comparing the pattern of veins in the palm of a person being authenticated with a pattern stored in a database.
According to Gartner research, vascular patterns are unique to each individual and can not be the same even among identical twins. They cannot be stolen by means of photography, voice recording or fingerprints, because the patterns exist inside the body.
Ayoola said that the contact- less feature of this device makes it suitable for use where high levels of hygiene are required, such as in public places or medical facilities.
Another solution which he said would build a credible identity system in the country is the Financial Solution
Financial damage caused by fraudulent withdrawals of money using identity spoofing with fake bankcards has been rapidly increasing in recent years, and this has emerged as a significant social problem.
As a result, there has been a rapid increase in threats of lawsuits purported by victims of identity theft against financial institutions for their failure to control information used for personal identification. In response, financial institutions have been focusing on IC smart cards as a way to reinforce the security of personal identification.
However, the addition of biometric authentication together with the smart card completely eliminates the ability to perpetuate fraud.
He noted that this technology was highly secure because it uses information contained within the body and is also highly accurate because the pattern of veins in the palm is complex and unique to each individual.
For him, the problem of Nigeriaâ€™s identity crisis is a national call while these products could go a long way to check the anomaly, Nigerian ICT experts scattered around the world, would also need to wake up to save a country that we all can call our own.