Transparency & accountability

Biometric ID cards to be used to fight corruption within social programs

Mexico’s government is introducing a new biometric identity card that is designed to prevent identity theft and reduce corruption. The card will include fingerprints, a retina scan and a photograph.

The new cards will correspond to a national database, which will supposedly make it easier for Mexicans to deal with different government agencies and private businesses. For example,

the cards will help ensure that social service funds and products reach their intended beneficiaries through health and welfare programs. The card is also being touted as a way to prevent people from stealing others’ identities and using the information to open bank accounts for illegal purposes.

Other identity documents – the driver’s license, voter registration card and a Population Registry Number issued by the country’s tax office – were deemed by the Mexican government to be too vulnerable to misuse. Issuing the new biometric cards is expected to cost 3 billion pesos (about 231 million dollars) and the Mexican government is aiming to distribute all the cards by the end of 2012. The process is expected to begin in November as the government opens modules for citizens to provide the necessary information for the cards.

From the Justice in Mexico Project’s August Monthly News Report:


“Mexico to launch new biometric ID card program to fight corruption.” Xinhua. July 28, 2009.

“Cedula de identidad costara 3 mil mdp.” El Universal. July 29, 2009.

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