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Soft biometrics: Scars, Marks and Tattoos

The most common way to identify people is through anatomical (face, iris and fingerprint) and behavioural (signature and bearing) characteristics. However, in some situations the primary biometric characteristics are not enough to identify a person. The characteristics may not be available, are difficult to acquire or the quality turns out to be insufficient. In these cases, soft biometrics can be used to narrow down the list of suspects and help to identify the person in question. A soft biometrics that is often used is the so-called SMT, which stands for scars, marks and tattoos.

Scars, marks and tattoos (SMT) are unique imprints on the skin. It provides more information than the traditional demographic indicators such as age, height, gender and race to identify a person. Especially tattoos can give a lot of information about the identity of a person. It can give indications to someone’s social status, religious beliefs, their personality and affiliations to a certain (criminal) group.

SMT has been successfully used by law enforcement agencies and forensics to identify suspects and victims. This is because of the growing popularity of tattoos and the impact they have on visual, pathological or trauma-based identification. It also helps that tattoos are deeply embedded in the skin and are often very hard to destroy. Therefore, they can be used in extreme situations where it is hard to identify people using the primary biometrics. An example would be the Tsunami in South East Asia in December of 2004. Other than the use of primary biometric characteristics, tattoos were also used to identify victims (Interpol, n.d.)*.

SMT modalities have known use cases in different fields such as: law inforcement, prison institutions and defense. However, this modality offers possibilities for other solutions as well. Interested in the use of SMT or curious about other solutions, please contact us and let’s see how we can help.

*Source: Intertpol. (n.d.). Disaster Victim Identification (DVI). Interpol. Retrieved October 1, 2021, from

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Why we celebrate International Identity Day



Today we celebrate International Identity Day at HSB. Although you might not have heard about International Identity day before, we are happy to know that you are reading this now. Hopefully, reading this post can be your first step in  understanding the importance of this day and might even inspire you to start celebrating this day yourself.

International Identity Day has been around since 2018 and is initiated by ID4Africa, an NGO that accompanies African nations on their journeys to develop robust and responsible identity ecosystems. They decided to celebrate this day on the 16th of September each year as to be a reference to the UN Sustainable development Goal 16.9:

“By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.”

The main purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the important role of legal identity in empowering individuals to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably in a modern society. Moreover, this is a perfect moment for people all over the world to reflect on the fact that still more than 1 billion people across the world do not have basic proof of identity*.

This is why we think it is important to celebrate International Identity Day. Not only because of the 1 billion people who lack basic proof, but also because there are many more people who have identity documents that are insecure or untrusted by service providers or live in countries where identification systems are unsuited for digitalization.

Legal identity is a birth right and not a privilege. Here, at HSB Identification, we work hard every day to ensure legal identity is accessible for everyone. We create solutions to help people around the world to identify themselves and enable them to exercise their rights to cross borders, vote, apply for a loan, use health care and receive education. Today we celebrate the progress we have made over the last 25 years and reflect on how we can become even better in creating more inclusive identity systems to close the gap of billions and reach the sustainable development goal. We are in this together, so we will do this together.

Happy International Identity Day everyone!

* source: Worldbank 2021

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The 16th of September is known as International Identity Day. This special day has been initiated by many identity stakeholders (including public, governmental, nonprofit and institutions of public interest) as an outcome of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG).

It is not a coincidence that we promote this day on the 16th of the 9th month (September) as it is promoting Sustainability Development Goal 16.9: “By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration”.

According to the World Bank, an estimated one billion people around the globe face challenges in regards to their legal identity. 81% of this group is living in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The International Identity Day was first introduced in 2018 to raise awareness for this problem and the importance identity plays in empowering individuals (man and women), families and businesses to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably in a modern society in all regions.

HSB identification helps people to create their own unique identity. We innovate and deliver electronic identification solutions. With our products and services we create unique identity for everyone! As an example we delivered a biometric identity solution in Djibouti with success. With our help Djibouti already registered:

  • More than 60.000 households
  • 300.000 + individuals

With our help people around the world will be able to identify themselves, cross borders, vote and use health care.

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Hiring New Software Developers

We are recruiting smart application developers!

Today we are servicing multiple international customers with our identity solutions. With these projects we help to make the world more inclusive and secure. Now our organization is expanding due to the higher market needs.

Are you willing to use your software development skills in software engineering, informatics and computer science for challenging identity projects?

Visit Careers or contact us at +31 348 433080 for more details.

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ID4Africa2019 Closing Statement


On the 18th – 20th June 2019, HSB identification has participated in the major event about identity, ID4Africa, which was hosted in Johannesburg, South-Africa.

HSB identification would like to thank every party involved in this major event. Including visitors, partners but also organizers who planned, organized and presented the event with much passion.

HSB identification’s team enjoyed the interesting interactions and would like to see you again next year at ID4Africa2020 hosted in Marrakech, Morocco!

HSB booth at ID4Africa2019

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HSB to participate at ID4Africa


On the 18th – 20th of June 2019 HSB identification will again participate in the major event about identity, ID4Africa, which is hosted in Johannesburg, South-Africa. Visit HSB to see and discuss solutions to create and verify unique identities, which include (mobile) registration units, biometric matching and de-duplication, identity management and authentication services. These products can benefit to markets such as: social and financial inclusion, elections, border control and civil / national ID programs (in rural and remote locations).

ID4Africa 2019 has the overall theme “Identity Ecosystems for Service Delivery” with the purpose to define context for the adoption and deployment of responsible identity systems with special attention to the use of identity in support of service delivery to enhance inclusion and access by all sectors of society.
ID4Africa is an ID-4-All movement that accompanies African nations on their journey to develop robust and responsible ID ecosystems around digital identity.

You are welcome to visit HSB’s booth C11. Contact us at
More information about our solutions can be found at: .
For the full ID4Africa 2019 exhibition and conference program please visit:

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SME register for Zimbabwe

SME Zimbabwe

A register of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) is of utmost importance as an instrument to provide services and be able to distribute benefits including loans to these enterprises. Further it provides accurate statistical information for policy making and donor organizations. The project aims to register over 2 million SME’s in Zimbabwe.

HSB has provided (biometric) registration equipment to Zimbabwe for SME registration. The registration kits include notebook, fingerprint scanner and webcam. General information of the company, its board members and other stakeholders is collected.

Online registration can be done from any office after which a second stage registration on-site is needed to collect the personal biometric information of one or more stakeholders. A deduplication system assures a unique identity for the stakeholder and prevents registration of multiple identities for the same person.

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HSB rolls out Social Safety Net in Djibouti

HSB identification has successfully completed the implementation of a nationwide Social Safety Net including a unique identity (UID) management infrastructure for the Republic of Djibouti. The platform will be used to target vulnerable households in a record time.

Social inclusion enables people to take part in society. The global challenge is to accurately and securely identify the beneficiaries. In order to define the households that need attention first and foremost, family members need to be identified and compiled in a national social register.

Following a thorough international tendering procedure, HSB has installed the end-to-end solution including biometric registration equipment, central matching system (ABIS) for deduplication as well as a dedicated Management Information System (MIS). Each household is assigned a poverty score by the system using the Proxy Means Tests (PMT) after a digital door-to-door survey.

This pioneering project is one of the first such programs funded by the World Bank in an effort to help countries promote inclusive growth and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals enacted by the United Nations.

Process flow Djibouti

The Government of Djibouti views the platform as a key stepping stone for the country: “Having unique identities in a centralized social register is of utmost importance for social inclusion of our population. We believe that the solution provided by HSB is a great means to connect new social protection schemes in a timely manner.”

“We are proud to be able to contribute to identity programs for social development.” says Marcel Boogaard, CEO of HSB. “Our technology and experience to enroll and maintain unique identities is beneficial to all governments in a need of a secure foundational ID and efficient social safety nets.”

HSB identification B.V., The Netherlands, is a global provider of large-scale digital identification solutions. The company helps governments by implementing innovative identity programs secured by biometrics. With our products and services we prevent identity fraud. And with our solutions people around the world will be able to identify themselves, cross borders, vote and use health care.

For more information about HSB please visit our website at You can also contact us by email ( or by phone +31 348433080.

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Enhanced passport control at Schengen borders

Border Control System

The European border control agencies will soon increase the number of passport and visa checks at its outside borders due to new regulations. Also the Netherlands will participate in this pan-European initiative.

Until now travelers with an EU-passport were randomly checked, which could be only visual. The new regulation requires interfaces with national and international detection systems.

HSB has supplied the Border Control Solution which enables Dutch border control agencies to check travel documents to enter the Schengen countries with multiple background checks. This includes biometric verification against the central EU-VIS database. Also the authenticity of travel documents is checked.

For more information about the Border Control Solution click here.

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HSB to exhibit at ID4Africa in Namibia

On 26-28 April 2017, ID4Africa will be organized in Windhoek, Namibia. The theme of this major annual Government Forum on Electronic Identity in Africa is “Pathways to Digital Identity”.

The meeting has a three day program with several speakers. Some of the topics are: Overcoming ID Systems Challenges in Africa, CRVS & Legal Identity, ID in Electoral System and Identity & Document Fraud. Speakers from NGO’s, African Ministries and sponsors will present these topics.

African countries can highly benefit from the proven identity solutions delivered by HSB identification across the continent to governments. HSB helps governments to provide unique identities to support social registration programs, public safety projects, health care, elections and KYC projects in multiple African countries.
HSB identification will be present at the exhibitor’s area at booth B10. We will show case a pioneering identity project deployed in Djibouti to improve social inclusion. Next to this reference our multi-modal biometric registration solutions are shown. Visit our booth in Windhoek.

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