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Gemalto outlines security features on South African eID cards


South African ID cards are set to be rolled out next month and according to Gemalto, specific integrated security features make them particularly difficult to forge.

As we reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Gemalto will supply the Government Printing Work of South Africa with Sealys eID cards for the country’s national identity program.

Designed to modernize and replace South Africa’s traditional, paper-based ‘green book’ identity documentation, the new Sealys eID card will be offered by the Department for Home Affairs (DHA) to citizens aged 16 and over. The South African government embarked on this service program to improve confidence in official identity credentials and to prepare for the deployment of a comprehensive suite of efficient and convenient eGovernment services.

According to a new report in ItWeb, Eric Billiaert, communications director for government programs at Gemalto says “the card body is not a single piece of plastic, but rather several layers of polycarbonate fused together,” and adds that ”this means the picture and other information of the holder is not printed on the surface, but last-engraved in the body. IF someone tried to delaminate the card, they will break it.”

In addition, Billiaert says the embedded security is also quite secure, as any surface disruption or fraudulent changes will be contradicted by the information on the included microchip.

Through the course of this extensive project, Gemalto is looking to produce three million ID cards per year.

In March, South African’s Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Suma said that smart ID cards could be in place by 2014, in place of the existing green identity books. 

No stranger to biometric deployments, reported previously in BiometriUpdate.com, the South African Department of Basic Education has recently outlined plans to introduce a biometric attendance system, meant to ensure the attendance of teachers. The project, believed to be the biggest of its kind, is set to be active in 2015.

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