Kuwait intends to set up a biometric fingerprint database for everyone who lives in the country over the age of 18, including both citizens and residents.
The Director of the General Department of Criminal Evidence, Major General Eid Al-Owaihan, told The Times Kuwait they aim to finalize the project “within a year”.
Residents will be able to make an appointment to have their biometric data collected via a platform, dubbed “Meta”, on the Ministry of Interior’s website.
The news comes as Kuwait is moving forward with a project to collect the biometric data of all people entering the country, regardless of whether or not they are residents.
To collect this data, the Ministry of Interior has installed 49 devices at land, sea and air ports across the country, in addition to building two dedicated 24 hour centers in Umm Al-Hayman and Jahra, as per Kuwaiti publication the Al-Rai daily, translated by Arab Times.
The devices will collect biometric data, including face, eye and fingerprint scans, which will then be set to the Criminal Evidence Department.
As per the sources, travelers will initially have their fingerprint data taken, a process said to take 3 minutes, if this doesn’t work, the eyes and face will be scanned, a process said to take about five minutes.
The new dedicated centers will look to take pressure off the ports, particularly during busy periods such as the summer, when many people are expected to be traveling.
The move reportedly is not set to impede people traveling in or out of the country at the current time, or renewing their residency, but is rather a step towards building up a “security database”.
However, according to the sources, if a port happens to be caught up in a particularly busy period, it will be Kuwait’s own residents that are prioritized for entrance.
The fingerprint system won’t apply to anyone below 21 years old entering the country according to Al-Rai daily.
The sources claim the project, spearheaded by First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Acting Minister of Defense Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled, will see the biometric data shared with other Gud countries for the purpose of detecting those wanted by security as well as to catch counterfeiters.
This is not the first time in we’ve heard about the expansion of biometric data collection within Kuwait.
In January 2023, the news broke that all public schools in Kuwait will soon use biometrics to confirm attendance, with local media reporting that a supplier for the fingerprint biometric system has already been selected.