By Masha Borak
From Luxemburg and Estonia to South Africa and Vietnam, governments across the world are rolling out digital IDs, sometimes but not always in the form of cards, to serve a wide range of functions.
Cayman Islands starts partial rollout of ID register project
The Cayman Islands will start a partial rollout of its long-awaited digital identity register by mid-June.
The green light was given after the Carribean nation approved the Identification Register Bill in December last year. During the rollout, the country plans to draft regulations for the Identification Register Bill and another piece of legislation called the National Identification Card Bill, which aim to create a digital identity register and a system to issue ID cards respectively. Regulation is expected to be finalized later this year. At the same time, work will begin on establishing, developing and testing the new ID register, the Cayman Islands government said in a release.
The British Overseas Territory with a population of 64,000 people started working on the ID register and the rollout of its national ID cards in 2021. The project will cost the island country around US$9.6 million over the next five years.
The plan, however, has not been without controversy. The initial plan to make enrollment into the register mandatory was dropped after pressure from the opposition. The program is now voluntary and allows users to choose what data they share through their profiles.
The Cayman Islands eGovernment has been working with Estonia’s e-Governance Academy on the national ID rollout with an official delegation concluding a visit to the European country at the beginning of June.
Luxembourg to require biometric ID cards for foreign citizens
Foreign citizens living in Luxembourg with family members who are EU citizens will need to have biometric identification cards from August.
From August 3, the European country will no longer accept residence permits and permanent residence cards printed on paper with a photograph attached, according to the Luxembourg Times.
Luxemburg has been issuing ew residence permits and permanent resident cards in the form of biometric smart cards since 2021.
US state of Virginia issues more than 3 million Real IDs
The Real ID is an optional, upgraded driver’s license or ID card that carries a minimum set of biometric and demographic bits of data to help government bodies and businesses decide if an ID is valid.
The U.S. recently again postponed the deadline to obtain a Real ID-compliant document which allows anyone over 18 years to board planes and other modes of transport that require identification as well as enter a secure federal facility or military base. Real ID was originally expected to be in force by 2009, but amid resistance from some states the deadline has been pushed back and is now set for May 7, 2025.
Estonians must update their ID software or be locked out of online services
The government of Estonia has warned digital ID card holders that they will no longer be able to log into public online services if they do not update their ID software by June 13. At that date, the Estonian Information System Authority, known as RIA, will transition to a new web-based authentication and signing solution called Web eID, Estonian World reports.
The agency introduced the solution last year and since then, 75 percent of ID software users have updated their software and adopted Web eID. The latest ID software can be downloaded from the Estonian ID website.
Estonia is considered a pioneer in digital governance and digital IDs. Its Web eID solution enables the use of Estonian digital documents, such as ID cards, digital IDs and residence permits for secure authentication and signing on the web.
South African bank rolls out 400,000 smart IDs
The First National Bank, one of South Africa’s ‘big four’ banks, says it has issued 425,980 smart IDs and passports since its partnership with the country’s Department of Home Affairs, IT Web reports.
The oldest bank in the South African Republic is one of the government’s partners in the rollout of smart IDs which aim to replace 38 million ID booklets. First National Bank clients can apply for the smart cards on the eHomeAffairs online portal and then visit selected branches to capture their biometrics. Other local banks such as Absa, Nedbank and Standard Bank are also included in the scheme.
In February, the country introduced draft legislation that seeks to introduce a single and integrated biometric national identification system (NIS) for all persons living on South African territory. The proposed bill is in line with South Africa’s over-arching Official Identity Management Policy. The country is also working on smart driver’s licenses.
Vietnamese banks pilot chip-based ID cards for authentication
Commercial banks in Vietnam are currently piloting the authentication of clients through a chip-based citizen ID card connected to the National Population Database. The project is supposed to prevent the sale, rental and borrowing of bank accounts, a problem that has plagued the local banking industry for many years, Saigon News reports.
As part of the project, Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) launched an authentication solution called FPT.IDCheck which allows the reading of chip-based ID cards and authentication by face recognition. The Vietnam Public Joint Stock Commercial Bank (PVcomBank) will also allow citizens to open bank accounts with chip-based IDs through Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC).
Nearly 11.8 million people already use chip-based ID cards to access healthcare services in Vietnam. Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has proposed issuing chip-enabled ID cards to children six years old and younger as it ramps up efforts to scale its digital ID system using NEC‘s technology. In March, the country started issuing chip-based biometric passports, which include biometric information such as fingerprints, iris and face.
Source: Biometric Update
Masha Borak is a technology journalist. Her work has appeared in Wired, Business Insider, Rest of World, and other media outlets. Previously she reported for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Reach out to her on LinkedIn.
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