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South Africa Introduces Biometric Child Registration To Stop ID Theft

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in South Africa recently introduced a new method of biometric registration of children below five years to mitigate child identity theft. According to Business Insider, children after reaching a certain age will have to re-register with the government department to stop foreigners from stealing dead children’s identities. 

The problem arises when child identity is stolen by cybercriminals and is used for illicit purposes. To prevent identity fraud of minors, South Africans have to apply for a smart ID card at an earlier age to reduce potential risks. Biometric technology can help make the overall registration process easy, accurate and reliable. By taking into account biometric data at birth, at the age of five and then at ten, instances of identity theft can be reduced.   

The DHA in a report pointed out that South Africa’s registration system needed appropriate changes,

Any child can lay claim to the identity of another child and such instances have been recorded. For instance, there is a practice, especially in borderline communities, where birth certificates of deceased children are sold to foreign nationals. This happens when the death of a child is not reported to the DHA.”

The main purpose of this study was the implication of adequate measures necessary to reduce stolen child identities. The report incorporates unique biometric features like fingerprint patterns, iris structures, and the facial identity which will be used to take down potential cases of identity theft, which is highlighted in these words, 

Children must be reregistered when they reach age five with ten fingerprints and iris and facial photographs.

Another recommendation by the state department is that the age at which the digital ID is created should be lowered from 16 to 10 in order to reduce the possibility of matriculants being able to take examinations without having a digital ID card.