Hong Kong will spend $387 million on improved citizen ID cards that store higher resolution images for facial recognition, according to the city’s Legislative Council Panel.
The council has said that a better microchip is needed to improve the facial image enough for authentication. There are also plans to increase its storage capacity so that that alternative biometric data such as fingerprint data or iris images can be stored on it.
While the chip currently holds fingerprint images, citizens have complained that their fingerprints are too thin or blurred for usage, the government found.
The government will spend $374 million to issue the new cards and another $10.9 million from 2019 onwards to maintain them. The government plans to replace all existing cards with the new ones between 2018 and 2022.
Earlier this month, Planet Biometrics reported the autonomous region aims to replace all the city state’s smart ID cards between 2018 and 2022.
Cards issued between 2003 and 2007 will exceed their serviceable lifespan of 10 years by 2017.
The new cards will also be more durable, have a better appearance and offer improved quality in text printing, says the government.
“We expect that as technology continues to advance, cases of forgery of our smart cards may become more prevalent if we do not introduce any new security features or chip-architecture technology,” the government said in the paper.
Hong Kong has about nine million smart ID cards in circulation, according to the report.