Pakistan Deploys Big Data to Fight Terror

Pakistan has started verifying identities of over 135 million cell phone users through fingerprints. The massive exercise is being described by Washington Post as the "world’s largest — and fastest — efforts to collect biometric information". The deadline for completion is March 14, 2015.


Several countries, including South Africa and India, have recently implemented broad systems for collecting and storing their citizens biometric information. But analysts and communications experts say they can’t recall a country trying to gather biometrics as rapidly as Pakistan is doing, according to the Washington-based American newspaper.


In addition to setting up biometric verification systems at tens of thousands of retail points run by carriers, the cellphone companies have launched massive advertising campaigns and sent mobile vans around the country to accelerate the process. About half of all SIMs have so far been verified.

The companies are warning subscribers that their SIM (subscriber identity module) cards will not work unless the owners' fingerprints are  entered and verified against the database maintained by the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA). They have to show their computerized national identity cards (CNICs) and fingerprints. If the scanner matches their print with the one in a government database, they can keep their SIM card. If not, or if they don't show up, their cellphone service is cut off.

The current SIM registration drive is part of the government's new counter terrorism campaign. Cellphones have been used in the past to detonate explosive devices as well as to make extortion calls. Identification of SIM cards is expected to discourage such acts of terror and help track down the perpetrators.

The use of Big Data like Pakistan's biometric database is not limited to catching terrorists and criminals. It can also be used to significantly improve governance. Here's how Tariq Malik, the architect of Pakistan's NADRA, describes it in a recent piece for Forbes magazine:

BIG Data can now be leveraged for a variety of public uses, and re-uses. It can strengthen the link between citizens and state to enhance state capacity, and its applications are varied—ranging from disaster management to social service delivery.  

Collecting, storing and processing structured and unstructured information is an endeavor that is both massive and meticulous. But thanks to advancing big data technology, it’s more feasible today than ever before. BIG Data can now be leveraged for a variety of public uses, and re-uses. It can strengthen the link between citizens and state to enhance state capacity, and its applications are varied—ranging from disaster management to social service delivery. 

Consider Pakistan’s National Database And Registration Authority (NADRA) that houses one of the world’s largest multi-biometric citizens database, consisting of ten fingerprints, digital photographs and biographic attributes of each citizen. More than 121 million identities are stored in this database. When floods suddenly hit Pakistan in 2010, over 20 million citizens were displaced. Government wanted to provide monetary subsistence and aid for the rehabilitation and reconstruction effort; however, the problem was that while traditional aid could be dropped via helicopter, cash could not. They were further challenged with verifying claimants; specifically, identifying whether or not they belonged to a calamity hit area. 

 How could Pakistan support those affected by the disaster? The NADRA had a simple task to perform: cross verify citizen thumb prints with information stored in its database, then check their permanent address. The result was nothing short of miraculous. Essentially, big data allowed policymakers to know who the victims were and where they lived at the time of the crisis. Smart cards were quickly loaded with cash to help victims with rehabilitation efforts. More than $1 billion U.S. was disbursed without a single misappropriated penny. The process was swift and transparent, and international auditors were taken aback. 

All of this made international aid donors happy, since it cut down their cost of administration, eliminated doubts of corruption and narrowed the trust deficit. But more importantly, the state enforced its writ and citizens realized for the first time that the state is there for them in times of need. 

At last count, just 800,000 of Pakistan’s 180 million people paid direct taxes. Integrating data across various government databases, then reconciling it with the citizen database along with NADRA big data analytics helped identify 3.5 million tax evaders. It is estimated that if a basic minimum tax rate were applied, Pakistan would have $3.5 billion right away. Although big data analytics is no substitute for radical reform, it at least generates a healthy debate for tax reform. 

It’s been argued that state capacity is essentially “extractive capacity”; the ability to effectively tax its citizens and plough it back for public welfare. Advanced data analytics on big data provides an important linchpin in this ongoing debate. As NADRA’s experience illustrates, many fragile states face an even more basic challenge: the ability to accurately count and register its citizens. To collect and process big data in a way that does not compromise citizen privacy can have powerful development externalities, including the ability to build state capacity through tax collection—and avoid approaching the International Monetary Fund with a begging bowl. 

Big data analytics for government is a rapidly evolving field, offering exciting opportunities that, when explored and applied, can help fragile states uncover powerful and effective methods for optimizing governance.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

NADRA Case Study

Pakistan Leads in Biometric IT Services

3G-4G Rollout in Pakistan 

Is India's AAdhaar Copied From Pakistan's NADRA?

Mobile Broadband in Pakistan








Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has completed the biometric verification of 72 million SIMs, The News reports. The first phase of the verification process of over 100 million SIMs started on 12 January. According to the regulator, over 10 million SIMs had been cancelled in the first phase because they were not verified.

The second phase of biometric verification for individuals who have two SIMs issued on their CNIC will has started from 27 February and is scheduled for completion on 14 March. To have their cancelled SIMs reissued, individual customers should pass through the biometric verification process and the SIMs will only be delivered on the address provided.

The third phase will be conducted from 14 March until 12 April. The Biometric Verification System (BVS) imposed by the government is an attempt to increase security by preventing terrorists from using mobile SIM cards for attacks.


http://www.telecompaper.com/news/pakistan-completes-biometric-check-of-72-mln-sims--1068046
Riaz Haq said…
The teledensity in cellular phone sector has hit 73.32 percent as number of subscribers in the country including Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas touched 136.4 million by January 15 this year.
The cellular teledensity was 8.3 percent about 10 years ago but proactive policies of successive governments helped the sector to achieve growth and the tele-density in mobile phone sector jumped to 54.6 percent in 2007. A data compiled by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) revealed on Sunday that the cellular teledensity remained sluggish this year because of registration process of millions of SIMs by telecom operators.
Revision of mechanism for selling SIMs and limitation of SIMs on one CNIC also suppressed growth of subscribers. In December last year, the tele-density was 73.11 percent.
However, effective marketing campaigns by the operators stimulating subscription of cellular phone companies in urban and rural areas attracted 0.72 million new users to join subscribers’ base of five telecom operators in one month from December 14, 2014 to January 15, 2015. Moreover, the teledensity in the country including fixed, Wireless Local Loop and mobile phone has reached record 76.74 percent by January 15. The teledensity is defined as number of customers per 100 people. Hence it is roughly said that 76.74 percent of Pakistanis own and avail telephony services through different technologies.

http://nation.com.pk/business/02-Mar-2015/cellular-mobile-teledensity-hits-73-32pc-with-136-4m-subscribers
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Inspector General of Police (ICP) ordered the completion of the digitalization of criminal records at all police stations to ensure the launch of its centralized biometric database by May 10, 2015, according to a report by Pakistan Today.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) also confirmed that he had established a connection with the National Database and Registration Authority. The NADRA link will make it possible to view the details of all arrested suspects, as well as access fingerprints and other essential detail, said Khawaja.
The database’s main server will be housed at the Central Police Office, where it will also be accessible to the IGP Sindh, IG Karachi and other senior police officers.
All formalities regarding logistics support and staff for networking the databases of all police stations have been completed.

Meanwhile, director IT Tabassum Abid said that 196 police stations have already been linked through a separate computer networking project.
The DIG CIA will work with the director IT to make use of the existing infrastructure and trained staff to make recommendations for additional resources, in order to ensure the effective use of available resources and the timely completion of the project.

http://www.biometricupdate.com/201504/pakistan-police-to-digitalize-criminal-records-for-centralized-biometric-database
Riaz Haq said…
Integrated Biometrics Tech To Track Teachers Attendance in #Pakistan. #Education

http://findbiometrics.com/integrated-biometrics-tech-to-track-teachers-in-pakistan-26302/ …

Integrated Biometrics technology is helping the Pakistan Education Department to identify teachers in remote villages, the company has announced. Pakistani authorities are using the company’s Columbo fingerprint scanner to match the identities of 150,000 teachers in rural and remote areas against its own database.

The project is funded by the World Bank, with the Integrated Biometrics technology having been selected by contractor Intellitech, which is said to have considered multiple options before settling on the Columbo scanner.

The Columbo fingerprint scanner is FBI-compliant and uses light emitting sensor (LES) technology allowing it to function well in a range of environments. Its technology has proven appealing in a range of applications, with the scanner having been integrated into BETHCOM access control systems and Mobizent’s Intermec CN70e mobile device.

The case of the Pakistan Education Department is a little different, of course. The aim of the project is to develop real-time attendance monitoring in schools in remote villages, which of course could have very positive impacts in the country’s education system. Speaking in a press release, Integrated Biometrics CEO Steve Thies commented, “The fact that our products are being used to improve education for hundreds of thousands of children is incredibly humbling and rewarding.”
Riaz Haq said…
Tipping the scales:
Security & surveillance in Pakistan

Unlike in most countries with mandatory registration, SIM cards (in Pakistan) are also biometrically verified against the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA national database, often by fingerprint.

Pakistan has one of the world’s most extensive citizen registration regimes – over 96 % of citizens reportedly have biometric ID cards, including the Smart National Identity Card (SNIC), which contains its owner’s biometric photo, a computer chip,
address and parental information. ID cards are commonly required to access services ranging from opening a bank account to getting a passport. Nevertheless, serious misidentification errors can occur and forgery is rife. Interception across Pakistani networks is pervasive; some of it is also unlawful. A Supreme Court hearing about a case concerning phone tapping revealed that the ISI tapped 6,523 phones in February, 6,819 in March and 6,742 in April 2015. The case,
dating from 1996, was brought following evidence that the then-Chief Justice’s phone had been tapped. At time of publication, no details about the procedures and process for intercepting communications had yet been publicly released.
Since 2004 network providers have been required to comply with requests for interception and access to network data as a standard condition of the PTA’s award of operating licenses to phone companies.

https://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/PAKISTAN%20REPORT%20HIGH%20RES%2020150721_1.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani intelligence sought to tap worldwide internet traffic via underwater cables that would have given the country a digital espionage capacity to rival the US, according to a report by Privacy International.

The report says the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency hired intermediary companies to acquire spying toolkits from western and Chinese firms for domestic surveillance.

It also claims the ISI sought access to tap data from three of the four “landing sites” that pass through the country’s port city of Karachi, effectively giving it access to internet traffic worldwide.

Pakistan was in talks with a European company in 2013 to acquire the technology, but it is not clear whether the deal went through – a fact the rights organisation said was troubling.

“These cables are going to route data through various countries and regions,” Matthew Rice, an advocacy officer for Privacy International, said.

“Some will go from Europe to Africa and all the way to south-east Asia. From my reading that’s an explicit attempt to look at what’s going on.”

Traffic from North America and regional rival India would also be routed via the cables, he said.

The report, based on what it called previously unpublished confidential documents, said the data collection sought in the ISI’s proposal “would rival some of the world’s most powerful surveillance programmes” including those of the US and Britain.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s military said he was not able to comment on the issue at the present time.

Last month Pakistani rights campaigners and opposition lawmakers urged Islamabad to protect the privacy of its citizens after leaked top-secret documents appeared to show British intelligence had gained access to almost all of the country’s internet users.

Pakistan is in the process of debating its own cybercrime bill, which rights campaigners say threatens to curtail freedom of expression and privacy in its current form.

Rights groups also expressed concern over a provision that allows the government to share intelligence with foreign spy agencies, such as the American National Security Agency, and a plan to force service providers to retain telephone and email records for up to a year.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/23/pakistan-tried-to-tap-international-web-traffic-via-underwater-cables-report-says
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan to issue #biometric #passports to curb human trafficking to #Europe, Gulf

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/pakistan-to-issue-biometr/2800622.html

Pakistan plans to issue biometric passports from next year to halt the thousands of people who are being trafficked overseas, largely to European and Gulf nations, officials said.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan approved the move last week after a meeting with officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on tackling human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the South Asian nation.

"We will start issuing biometric passports from 2017," Sarfraz Hussain, the Interior Ministry spokesman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation late on Wednesday.

Pakistan in 2004 adopted computerised passports that can be read by scanning machines, he said, but the passports do not contain a microchip, which contains the holder's biodata.

This is useful as it will help authorities detect forged travel documents used by traffickers who lure poor people from rural areas with the promise of a good job overseas, Hussain added.

A combination of poverty, natural disasters and insecurity caused by a long-running Islamist insurgency has forced thousands of Pakistanis to flee in search of a better life in Europe and the Middle East.

There are no accurate figures on how many people are being trafficked or smuggled outside the country, but the United Nations says government data on deportations of Pakistanis due to illegal migration have risen in recent years.

There were 66,427 Pakistanis deported from countries such as Spain, Greece, Turkey, Oman and Iran in 2013, up from 46,032 in 2010, according a 2014 report by the U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime.

Many trafficking victims are detected at border posts in Iran and Turkey as they attempt to travel on to Europe, where they often have to risk their lives on board dangerously inadequate vessels run by people smugglers, said the report.

Others are deported from Oman - often en route to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they take up low-skilled employment as maids, construction workers or drivers, and are often subjected to labour abuses.

A FIA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said more than 1,000 trafficking networks were operating across the country, the majority in the central Punjab province.

These organised criminal gangs primarily use Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, which shares a border with Iran, as a trafficking route to Europe and the Middle East.

From Iran, the trafficking victims are either taken to Turkey where they continue on to Europe, or sent to Oman and then on to the UAE, he added.

More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as nations struggled to cope with the influx, and created division in the EU over how to resettle people.

According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, about 3 percent of these migrants and refugees were Pakistani nationals.
Riaz Haq said…

#Pakistan #telecom companies lead the world telcos in using big data: Teradata CTO. #BigData


http://tribune.com.pk/story/1151447/telecommunication-tech-expert-dives-big-data-potential-pakistan/


The telecom operators (telcos) currently working in Pakistan are fast becoming an example even for telcos of developed countries, which are catching up with some of their best business practices, placing Pakistan among the top tier in the global telecommunication sector, said Teradata Corporation Chief Technology Officer Stephen Brobst.

The reasons, he said, are clear – Pakistani telcos are investing and competing with each other in technology and data analytics with multinational companies always leading the competition and making the market’s overall structure efficient and sophisticated.

“Globally, telcos are our biggest clients, generating a major chunk of the company’s revenues by efficiently using data analytics. The presence of extreme competition within multinationals has pushed the country among top-tier ranks. Global telcos are now picking the best Pakistani brains to adopt some of their best practices,” Brobst said in an interview with The Express Tribune.



Teradata Corporation is a US-based company dealing in analytical data platforms and analytics solutions.

The company is also working with some government departments like the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) analysing the data to identify population demographics, support intelligence and investigation and other such cases.

Teradata also provides analytics to governments for tax compliance at corporate as well as individual levels. The company had worked with the Punjab government in the healthcare sector.

Brobst said they jointly worked with the province to prevent the dengue virus and have successfully used those findings in other countries as well.

The core of this technology is analysing the data rather than keeping it for record. “We live in a digital era which means data is the new currency. Traditionally, a lot of data technology was for record keeping or transaction processing, whereas we are based on analytics, how to understand people’s behaviour, network planning and how to make better decisions based on the data,” he added.

Brobst further said the country can use this technology to streamline its energy issues, banking system, large-scale manufacturing, healthcare and education.

In power companies, smart metering is the solution which can exactly detect how much data is consumed at which hours unlike analogue meters where one has to visit all the meters in order to analyse.

The company is looking to work with K-Electric, but the power company faces issues in installing the smart metering system. He said once K-Electric manages to get the exact data, then they will work with them for further innovation via data analytics.

“This will help in eliminating electricity theft and energy crisis, the world is benefiting to some extent, however, this technology will start emerging in Pakistan in the next five years.”

“We are now in the 21st century and the world has only three options now in terms of doing business – either you are in the data business or you will be in the data business or you will be out of business,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s 1st ever National Data Centre for E-Governance inaugurated in #Islamabad. 1st in SAARC http://bit.ly/2bpVg2u via @techjuicepk

National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) has inaugurated Pakistan’s first ever National Data Centre in Islamabad. The inauguration ceremony held in the capital was attended by Minister of IT Ms Anusha Rahman Khan, Chairman PTA Dr. Ismail Shah and various professionals from the IT industry of Pakistan.

Pakistan is the first ever SAARC country to implement the e-governance model. After successfully converting over 6,000 files to e-government by the Ministry of Information Technology, the government last year decided to replicate this model in all ministries/divisions and attached departments.

So, in that respect, the main aim behind the newly inaugurated data centre would be to help the government implement its e-governance agenda. This National Data Centre will comply with the Tier-3 standards and other than e-governance also assist in e-commerce and e-health.

Speaking at the event, Chairman NTC Viqar Rasheed Khan said that the Data Centre will be added with the latest IT features and it will be highly technical. “The Data Centre will provide the facilities to the government bodies with different services in data communication as various other private service providers are offering to their clients.”

IT Minister Anusha Rahman also stated that the National Data Centre for e-governance is the top priority right now.

National Telecommunication Corporation signed a contract with Inbox Business Technologies and Huawei earlier this year in March. The entire process of the data centre’s establishment took place within a time span of 5 months and it is expected that it will be up and running quite soon owing to close working ties between the government and the private sector.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan has virtually attained one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing legal identity to its citizens, including birth registration.

The target 9 of Goal 16 calls upon the member states of the United Nations (UN) who have pledged to achieve the SDGs by 2030, that they provide “legal identity for all, including birth registration”.

Since its inception in 2000, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has been issuing Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) to Pakistani citizens and its equivalent to the Pakistani diaspora. A CNIC is issued first at the age of 18, after the resident’s biometrics have been captured.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s efforts, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a report said that, “the Nadra system is considered one of the world’s leading integrated national identification (ID) systems, and has provided technical assistance to the development of many systems in the developing world.”

“Nadra is also a financially self-sustaining system with a good business model in place,” the report added.

The report titled ‘Identity for Development in Asia and the Pacific’ says that Pakistan’s integrated national identification (ID) system was assessed as being at an advanced stage, as it uses cutting-edge processes and was near universal in its coverage. “The deduplication process uses biometrics and is robust while the third-party integration is easy and profuse...,” the report said. “The ID system offers a means to fast-track the development process by providing the most efficient way to identify people in developing countries.”

The report claimed that although there was no one model for providing a legal identity, the SDGs encouraged states to provide people with free or low-cost access to widely accepted, robust ID credentials.

“The UN sees ID as an enabler to achieving other SDGs in areas relating to social protection, health, finance, energy, and governance,” according to the report.

In 2012, with the aim to enhance security features on the card to make it difficult to forge as well as to expand usage in government service delivery, Nadra introduced the Smart National ID Card.

This contains a data chip, 36 security features and a match-on-card applet that improves the security of the smart card authentication by storing ID data on the card.

For Pakistani citizens, the report said, the CNIC is mandatory for conducting a vast range of transactions with the government as well as the private sector, such as voting, opening and operating bank accounts, obtaining a passport, purchasing vehicles and land and obtaining a driver’s licence.

In November 2014, the UN convened a ministerial conference on civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific. One outcome of the conference was the development of a regional action framework for CRVS in Asia and the Pacific.

Recognising the transformational potential of 21st century ID systems for the delivery of basic services to the poor, the World Bank launched its Identification for Development (ID4D) agenda -- a cross-practice initiative with a vision to make everyone count, to ensure a unique legal identity, and to enable digital ID-based services for all.

The report explained that a total of 18 per cent of developing countries had a scheme that was used for ID purposes only. “Nearly 55pc have digital IDs that are used for specific functions and services such as voting, cash transfers, or health; and only 3pc have foundational ID schemes that can be used to access an array of online and offline services. Moreover, 24pc of developing countries have no digital ID scheme,” it said.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1297293/pakistan-one-step-ahead-in-achieving-goal-of-providing-legal-identity-to-citizens
Riaz Haq said…
#Aadhaar, #India’s massive new ID system, suffers high failure rate. Failing to deliver for people http://www.wsj.com/articles/snags-multiply-in-indias-digital-id-rollout-1484237128 … via @WSJ

The government began building the system, called Aadhaar, or “foundation,” with great fanfare in 2009, led by a team of pioneering technology entrepreneurs. Since then, almost 90% of India’s population has been enrolled in what is now the world’s largest biometric data set.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who set aside early skepticism and warmed up to the Aadhaar project after taking power in 2014, is betting that it can help India address critical problems such as poverty and corruption, while also saving money for the government.

But the technology is colliding with the rickety reality of India, where many people live off the grid or have fingerprints compromised by manual labor or age.

---------


An Aadhaar ID is intended to be a great convenience, replacing the multitude of paperwork required by banks, merchants and government agencies. The benefits are only just beginning, backers say, as the biometric IDs are linked to programs and services.

But in rural areas, home to hundreds of millions of impoverished Indians dependent on subsidies, the impact of technical disruptions has already been evident.

After walking for two hours across rough underbrush in Rajasthan to get kerosene for the month, Hanja Devi left empty-handed because the machine couldn’t match her fingerprint with her Aadhaar number.

-------

The new system hasn’t eliminated attempts at fraud. In August, police in Rajasthan accused two shop managers of linking their fingerprints to a multitude of cards and stealing for months the rations of dozens of clients.

As for trouble connecting to the registry, better infrastructure, including steadier internet connections, will eventually also help, Mr. Pandey said.

For now, Mr. Prakash has found a way to cope without climbing trees. After scouring the village, he set up a shack in a spot with enough bandwidth to allow his fingerprint scanner to work.

It is hardly efficient. He issues receipts in the morning at the shack, then goes back to his shop to hand out the grains. Customers have to line up twice, sometimes for hours.

Mr. Prakash has applied to the government to operate without biometric identification, but his request was turned down, he said. “They said: ‘You have to keep trying.’ ”
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #NADRA's ex leader Tariq Malik among top 100 leaders in the global #identity industry https://oneworldidentity.com/identity-leaders/ … via @1worldidentity

Also includes Nanadan Nilekani and Pramod Varma of India's Aadhaar


2016 was a year of innovation and explosive growth in the identity industry. Over the course of a 15-day open nomination period, we received over 1,000 nominations for 355 individuals. After compiling all of the nominations, the top 100 were selected based on the following selection standards:
Industry clout & influencer status
Number of publications & professional speaking engagements in 2016
Number of total nominations
Time in industry
The 2017 OWI 100 represents pioneers, innovators and pace setters who are working to advance inclusion, improve products and services, keep personal data safe, and to ensure and protect individual privacy. The list ranges from individual entrepreneurs to members of large organizations, and covers both public sector and not-for-profit industry advocates.
We are pleased to announce One World Identity’s Top 100

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