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Argentine Deal for Anaheim's Printrak

October 08, 1998|(P.J. Huffstutter)

Printrak International Inc. said Wednesday it has landed a $45-million contract, its largest ever, to provide automated fingerprint technology to the Argentine government as part of a national identification card service. The contract for the Anaheim-based biometrics firm is part of a six-year, $700-million program to create and implement the national ID card program. Germany-based Siemens Nixdorf is the main contractor. When citizens enroll for a new ID card--the country already has an identification system--their fingerprints will be taken on paper, then scanned digitally and added to a massive database. They will then be issued a card with a bar code that will access their prints. These cards, available to all Argentine citizens, will be used to confirm their identity when they apply for jobs, school, immigration status and voting. Though biometrics is becoming more common, the use of such technology as part of a national identification system has long been controversial in the United States and elsewhere. In 1997, a system similar to Argentina's was proposed in the Philippines but was rejected by lawmakers.

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