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SOUTH AFRICA - at the forefront of the global biometric identity management movement

Worldwide the acceptance of biometrics and specifically fingerprint identification technology is growing at a phenomenal rate. In a report conducted by the International Biometric Group (IBG), global industry revenues are expected to reach $4.04 billion by the end of 2007, driven by large-scale public sector biometric deployments and standardised biometric infrastructures.

The South African situation

In South Africa, the application of biometrics is set to grow to unprecedented heights due to the heavy investment committed to the technology by various governmental departments. Are core requirement of Identity Management (IDM) is the provision of a fully Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) that forms the backbone of all future IDM solutions. The Group, is a Black Economic Empowerment company and sole distributor of Sagem in southern Africa, through its successful implementation of large-scale civil and forensic solutions, has positioned itself as Africa's clear market leader in IDM solutions. Indeed, the Group has championed the foundations on which large-scale IDM solutions will be built on in South Africa. In October 2006, completed the world's largest Back Record Conversion (BRC) of over 32 million paper-based fingerprint records to digital format for the Department of Home Affairs.

According to Mr Vhonani Mufamadi, CEO of the Group, "Sequencing the largest conversion of fingerprint records in the world was a pioneering venture in South Africa and its success has created an identity management revolution. We have opened the door into a new era of managing national biometric ID cards, passports, immigration, border control, driver's licenses and pensions."

The Group is also involved in one of the most significant security advances in South Africa's criminal justice system: the application of Sagem fingerprint and palm-print biometric technology to secure the national Integrated Justice System (IJS). Over 1,000 Sagem fingerprint readers with Sagem-exclusive Fake Finger Detection (FFD) functionality were also supplied to the South African Police Services (SAPS) for logical access control. These ultra-secure fingerprint readers are used specifically in Forensic Laboratories; the Logistics departments; the Firearm Licensing department and the Stolen Vehicle department to secure all information.



Sagem's MorphoTouch and RapID technology is also used by the SAPS to target and capture wanted criminals. Hundreds of these portable readers are being used at road blocks to identify criminals quickly and accurately. According to Mufamadi, "Since AFIS was commissioned in 2001, Sagem fingerprint technology has become a powerful tool in the fight against crime. We see a very positive future for fingerprint technology in securing all logical transactions in South Africa's justice system."

The commercial applications of 's biometric IDM solutions are virtually limitless. is South Africa's sole provider of automated criminal background checks for the private sector. This service, known as AFISwitch, interfaces with the national SAPS AFIS to determine the criminal record status of a person. AFISwitch digitally captures fingerprints and has a turnaround time of approximately 48 hours as opposed to weeks or months required by the conventional paper-based service. AFISwitch allows companies and institutions to undertake background checks on job applicants and existing employees as well as to obtain clearance certificates for the purpose of emigration, permanent residence and international investments.

The application of biometric technology is also lending itself to a more secure logical environment, where fraud can be avoided by integrating fingerprint readers into IT systems. Logical access control lends itself to a wide number of applications including Single-Sign-On (SSO) for corporate networks, authentication for Internet banking, encryption and decryption of files and other password replacement applications. Of key importance to companies is the interchange of data between logical and physical access systems. For example, by using fingerprints to control access to the physical workplace as well as for PC login, all requests for access are monitored across the physical and logical platforms by a central system. The central system can therefore detect if a computer is still logged in after a person has exited the workplace. The system can automatically log the computer off to prevent unauthorised use.

These and other examples clearly demonstrate the extent to which biometrics has revolutionised IDM and secure access in South Africa's civil and private sectors. With the growing acceptance of biometrics worldwide, South Africa is set to be at the forefront of a global IDM movement - a proud moment for every South African.

For further information regarding Muvoni Technology Group Limited (Formerly Group Limited), visit www.muvoni.com

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