Combatting Passport Photo Fraud

To apply for a new passport or other official identity document with a photo, you once had to visit the relevant municipal office with a passport photo. However, this process presents security risks. Through so-called ‘face morphing’, criminals can merge together the faces of several different people into a new image, for instance. An identity document made using this image can then be used by not one, but many different people for authentication by biometric identification systems. These kinds of manipulated facial images are very difficult for municipal staff to spot. However, passport photo fraud can be reliably prevented with a Speed Capture Station – a ‘biometric passport machine’ that uses live recording processes.

Speed Biometrics GmbH’s Speed Capture Stationnot only captures facial images; citizens can also use it to capture and submit their signatures and biometric data, including fingerprints, required for a variety of other official identity documents. This process takes just three to five minutes. It not only makes applying for identity cards, passports, residence permits and EU driving licences more secure; it also makes applications significantly faster and easier. This reduces processing times for public authorities, while citizens benefit from greater convenience, lower costs and less onerous procedures.

On the machines, biometric data is collected and inspected using secunet biomiddle, a middleware for biometric systems and electronic identity documents (eIDs) that secunet developed jointly with the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). It makes it possible to use biometric system components and passport readers in a modular way for a variety of biometrics and eID applications.

By the end of the year 2019, the BSI-certified biometric self-service terminal by Speed Biometrics has already been used with great success in more than 90 municipalities within eleven German states. In 2016, alone, Speed Biometrics recorded a 45% increase in the number of machines installed nationwide. Meanwhile, the Speed Capture Station is already used in 30% of all major German cities, where it supports public authorities in all important technical procedures related to document applications. The machine’s extensive language options are especially useful for the immigration authorities.