Modentity: Identity checks of the future

    Modentity: Identity checks of the future

    KIRAS Sicherheitsforschung: Modentity
    The Modentity security project researches smartphone-based document and identity verification for the mobile identity checks of the future.


    The aim of the Modentity project was to develop a smartphone application to support federal police officers making identity checks. Potential scenarios include:

    • ID checks on trains
    • ID checks on ships
    • Specific ID checks on motorways
    • Preliminary checks at airports
    • Mobile border checks

    The camera supports face recognition and fingerprint scanning and is used in conjunction with the NFC Reader to verify documents.

    Aspects relating to the users (public security forces) and citizens were surveyed from the start of the project; the responses were systematically logged and the conclusions integrated in the project.

    Data security and data protection requirements were also taken into consideration from the start of the project.

    The Modentity project enables a technological advantage through the use of mobile end devices for document and identity verification. Increased use of the application leads to quality improvements in the security authority’s battle against illegal immigration, crime and terrorism. The feeling of security among Austria’s citizens increases as a direct result.
    The project was integrated in the Austrian security research funding programme named “KIRAS”.

    The project partners were the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Austrian State Printing Office, the IFES Institute and RUBICON.

    Following its completion, the research results from the project are now being used for solutions and product developments in the public sector and in commerce.

    The Austrian funding programme for security research supports national projects whose results contribute towards increasing security for all members of society in the form of a sustainably assured, high quality of livelihood and development options.

    Overall responsibility for the KIRAS programme lies with the Federal Ministry for Traffic, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). The BMVIT has appointed the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) to manage the KIRAS programme and its organisation.
    The basic idea behind Modentity is to provide every means of verifying the identity of an individual on a conventional smartphone. This fulfils first and foremost the requirements of mobile use (e.g. ID check on board trains). Modentity was developed as a module system so that each user group has access only to the functions it requires.

    The core app serves as a user interface and data centre. Data input and data queries take place via the modules. The modular system accommodates the integration of future functions. The following functions are implemented in the current version:

    Data query

    Querying various databases and registers (Schengen, Visa, etc.), whereby multiple queries in parallel are possible. If a connection is lost (e.g. when the train enters a tunnel) then the query is automatically resumed when the connection is restored.

    Face comparison

    Electronic face comparisons are possible using the photo scanned from the passport or ID document and the smartphone’s camera. The algorithm helps the user determine similarity.

    Passport query

    Read-out and comparison of security features from ID documents using the camera and the NFC reader.

    Modentity passport query

    Modentity passport reading


    Photographic fingerprint scanning. Bluetooth reading devices can also be used.

    Modentity fingerprints scanning

    Modentity fingerprints showing