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Paris, 15th January, 2003 - Immigration and security issues are in the headlines more than ever with the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp. At 12pm GMT yesterday, the European Commission launched the EURODAC project. The purpose of the project is to process asylum requests in EU member states and other states belonging to the Dublin Convention. As part of this project, Steria, the European IT services global operator, developed a central system for fingerprint identification (based in Brussels) and a system for the electronic transmission of fingerprints in 16 European countries, to fight illegal immigration.

The EURODAC system enables member states to identify asylum seekers and people who have illegally crossed an external EU border. By comparing fingerprints, they can check if an asylum seeker or foreign national who is in the country illegally has already filed an asylum request in another EU state.

EURODAC comprises a CPU for fingerprint comparison called AFIS , run by the European Commission, a central computerised database that will include around 2 million immigration applicants by the year 2004, and electronic methods for secure transmission of data between states and the central database.

The CPU was developed by Steria. The identification system is exceptionally efficient and precise, with a capacity of about 500,000 comparisons per second and a precision rate of over 99.9%. There is also a backup system to ensure maximum system availability.

The system is based on a solution designed by Cogent Systems, the worlds leading supplier of complete, reliable and fully integrated palm and fingerprint identification solutions, and uses Bull architecture.

Steria has also rolled out its FIT (Fingerprint Image Transmission) solution, adapting it to the needs of the member states to allow them a completely secure connection to the central database.

The FIT solution is the first solution to rapidly transmit fingerprints and other biometric features such as faces or signatures to national databases in a highly secure manner, in order to check the identity of suspects. FIT is compatible with all AFIS solutions on the market. In addition to being an efficient tool in cross-border controls, this solution may prove useful in combating organised crime and terrorist networks.

Steria - a biometrics solutions integrator: from e-voting to secure access control

Steria is looked upon as a pioneer in biometrics solutions integration, a new technology which makes it possible to read the body's unique biological features. Odd Elness, senior consultant in charge of the FIT programme says: "Fingerprints are not the only bodily feature that can be read. It is also possible to read and identify the iris, the face and the voice. These biological methods of identification are more reliable than cards or codes. Hence, our technology can be particularly useful for e-voting or controlling access to sensitive areas such as airports, nuclear power stations or research laboratories. The system can also be used in e-commerce and Internet shopping, etc."

As an IT services global operator, Steria boasts unique knowledge enabling it to implement biometrics solutions: secure network and architecture design, data transmission, authentication and verification, electronic signatures, etc. Steria is acknowledged for its pioneering role in the field of e-government, especially in systems integration, managed services and security. The group has implemented an on-line income tax payment system for the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry, using electronic authentication and signature systems, and electronic ID card and e-voting solutions in Belgium. On a more global level, Steria today provides solutions to 50 ministries and local governments in Europe.


About Steria http://www.steria.com and http://www.steria.no/fit

Steria is one of the top ten IT services companies in Europe, following the acquisition of the majority of Bulls European services business. Steria boasts 9000 employees and forecasts 2002 revenues of over 1bn Euros, 60% of which will come from outside France due to its presence in 12 countries worldwide.

The Group has also confirmed the sound nature of its strategic positioning as an IT services global operator in three core businesses: consulting, systems integration and managed services. Backed by 33 years of experience in the banking and insurance, utilities, public service and telecommunications sectors, Steria is a pool of business, process and technological skills enabling it to partner its customers throughout their successes and their development. Steria is a pioneer in employee shareholding, with 34% of its capital being held by employees.

Steria is listed on the Premier Marchi of the Paris Stock Exchange and in the SBF 120 index.

For further information, please contact:

Casey Balkham/Ghezala Beg

Brodeur Worldwide

Tel: (0)20 7298 7043/ (0)20 7298 7063

Mail to: cbalkham@uk.brodeur.com/gbeg@uk.brodeur.com

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Pleon in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.