World’s largest biometric center planned

Updated 21 March 2014
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World’s largest biometric center planned

Saudi Arabia plans to build one of the biggest biometric centers in the world, which will contain the eye, facial and finger imprints of almost 30 million people, a biometric expert told local media.
Adil Al-Aid, an expert on biometric identification systems, said the Kingdom is embarking on this initiative ahead of most countries, notably Arab and Islamic countries.
“The Ministry of Interior is seeking to build a world-class and highly efficient database containing the biometric features of both citizens and residents through representation by the National Information Center (NIC),” Al-Aid told a local daily.
The system, which will be able to curb malicious intent for committing crime or terrorist acts, will keep the Kingdom at the forefront in security-related matters, he said.
The expert called on GCC countries to link their biometric centers in order to eradicate crime and easily identify potential criminals in order to enhance regional security.
The biometric system has succeeded in many civilian and security issues and is gaining popularity among users, he said.
In this regard, he cited the fingerprint system, which was used in the issuance of ID cards for citizens and residents. Though the system was initially rejected, it was later accepted by all users after people realized the benefit of the system, he said.
Al-Aid said security developments in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 forced certain countries to introduce security and regularity programs to identify people and expand their use. Since then, security programs have been widely used between regional groupings, such as the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, with the intent to exchange information and track down suspicious individuals, the expert said
Last year, the Kingdom announced its plans to create the first Saudi biometric center in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to carry out biometric identification procedures before issuing visas to visitors and pilgrims.
Prince Khaled bin Saud bin Khaled, assistant minister of foreign affairs, said at the time that the centers would be initially opened on an experimental basis in the UAE, South Korea and Germany.
He said the centers were aimed at preventing criminals and individuals banned from entering the Kingdom from obtaining visas.


Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

Saudi Arabia has been praised for projects to enhance tourism in the country. (Supplied)
Updated 23 min 32 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

  • International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has won praise for a series of Vision 2030 megaprojects that “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map.”
Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization, highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to develop its tourism sector during talks with Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
Both sides discussed extending the partnership between the UN organization and Saudi Arabia to further strengthen tourism initiatives in the Kingdom.
International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia, and megaprojects such as Al-Ula and Al-Diriyah Gate to restore a UNESCO site.
The projects “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map and help it realize its vision of becoming a major global tourist destination,” Pololikashvili said. 
He congratulated Al-Khatib on his appointment as SCTH chairman, and accepted an invitation to view the Kingdom’s latest projects and tourism events.