As I have stated earlier on this blog: The solution to the single most frequent data quality problem being party master data duplicates is actually very simple: Every person (and every legal entity) gets a unique identifier which is used everywhere by everyone.
Some countries, like Denmark where I live, has a unique Citizen ID (National identification number). Some countries are on the way like India with the Aadhaar project. But some of the countries with the largest economies in the world like United Kingdom, Germany and United States don’t seem to getting it in the near future.
I think United Kingdom was close lately, but as I understand it the project was cancelled. As seen in a tweet from a discussion on twitter today the main obstacles were privacy considerations and costs:
A considerable cost in the suggested project in United Kingdom, and also as I have seen in discussions for a US project, may be that an implementation today should also include biometric technology.
If we look at the systems in force today for example in Scandinavia they were implemented +40 years ago, and the Swedish citizen ID was actually implemented without digitalization in 1947. There are discussions going on about biometrics also as this is inevitable for issuing passports anyway. In the mean time the systems however continues to make a lot of data quality prevention and party master data management a lot easier than else around the world without having biometrics as a component.
No doubt about that biometrics will solve some problems related to fraud and so. But these are rare exceptions. So the cost/benefit analysis for enhancing an existing system with biometrics seems to be negative.
I guess the alleged need for biometric may have something to do with privacy considerations in a strange way: Privacy considerations are often overruled by the requirements for fighting terrorism – and here you need biometrics in identity resolution.