National Identity Card w/Iris Scanned Image (But Only for Minors at this Time)

23 01 2011

Rainbow of Iris Images

POST UPDATE at the bottom.

Mexico should initiate tomorrow the first stage of the process of collecting data for what will be the National Identity Card (Cédula de Identidad). The card will include signature, picture, fingerprints and—making noteworthy an otherwise gray news—iris images of its holder. Mexico will become the first country to use the eye’s image to identify their nationals, if all goes as planned.

For now, the Mexican government will start the project with the Cédula de Identidad para Menores de Edad (“Identity Card for Minors”): <18 y/o private and public elementary, middle and high school students of six states— Guanajuato, Jalisco, Colima, Baja California, Nuevo Leon and Chiapas—will get their data and images collected.

The second and most ambitious part of the project, the Cédula de Identidad Ciudadana (“Citizens’ Identity Card)  was postponed to allow time for coordination with the voters’ database of the Instituto Federal Electoral (“Federal Electoral Institute”), after the 2012 electoral process.

[Long digression: the distinction between the Identity Card for Minors and for Citizens is adequate—and the name of the latter obvious: per Constitutional mandate, Mexican minors are not citizens of Mexico, but merely nationals. Mexican nationals become citizens upon reaching the age of 18 and by having a modo honesto de vivir (“honest way of life”).

Until today, I have always wondered whether there was at least one effect on the article 34.II of the Constitution requirement on having an honest way of life as a requirement for citizenship. A strict interpretation could leave some Mexicans divested of their citizenship, wouldn’t it?

But thanks to this post, I found one practical application on the phrase: as it happens, article 25 of the Reglamento of the Federal Firearms and Explosives Law requires that individuals seeking to obtain a license to carry weapons demonstrate that they have an honest way of life. And sure thing, there is a form for that].

A brief history on how we got to the point of scanning the iris of the Mexicans:

  1. Mexico has been trying for years to implement a national registry of its people.
  2. The Mexican government finally bade a project in 2009 to issue the identity cards, including iris scanned information.
  3. Later in that year, the Netherlands corporation Smartmatic International Holding B.V., won the bid.
  4. This past Wednesday, President Calderon published the amendment to some of the provisions of the Reglamento of the General Law of Population, to include iris images as one of the components of the National Registry of Citizens.
  5. The Ministry of the Interior issued a press release on Thursday saying they were ready to start collecting data for the Identity Card, but only for minors—although there is no National Registry of Minors.
  6. Today is Sunday. Now let’s wait for Monday and see what happens.

And no, this news are not related to the hoax/publicity stunt that announced the introduction of iris scanners in the city of Leon, Guanajuato, MEXICO to make it the “safest city in the world.” The company is real, but not the note.

Hat tip: jjr

POST UPDATE: the government of Mexico DID START the registration and data collection with elementary school students in Tijuana, Mexico. Sixth grade student Leslie Carolina García was the first Mexican to be registered.


First Mexican Registered for the Nat'l ID Card





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