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Croatia, Kyrgyzstan to adopt biometric ID documents, Philippines funds enrollment phase

Croatia, Kyrgyzstan to adopt biometric ID documents, Philippines funds enrollment phase

Under a new amendment to the Identity Card Act, biometric digital identity cards are in development for Croatian citizens. The card will contain individual biometric identifiers, for example a facial image and two fingerprints (from the left and right hands) in interoperable digital formats, reports Hrt News.

Croatian parliament adopted the new Identity Card Act to implement the Regulation of the European Parliament and European Council (which will come into force in August next year) with the aim to strengthen the security of identity cards and residence documents of EU citizens.

A mobile app is also in development in Croatia, to facilitate the use of the identity card on a mobile device, incorporating increased security. After activating the electronic part of the digital ID card, the citizen will be able to download the mobile ID app, where they can log on to the Electronic ID Card Portal. The e-Citizens system will enable electronic signing via mobile phones or other devices, and digital certificates stored on the ID card chip will only be accessible via a smart card reader connected to a computer.

“We will be able…via mobile phones or tablets, to literally sign our documents” said Bernard Gršić, State Secretary of the Central State digital society development office. Citizens will not be charged extra for this new service.

Under the amendment, persons aged 70 and over will be issued an identity card with a duration of 40 years, while teenagers of 16 will also need to apply for an identity card. The identity card will contain a two-letter mark of the Republic of Croatia printed in negative in a blue rectangle surrounded by 12 yellow stars. The law comes into force on August 2, 2021 and previously issued ID cards will be valid until their expiration date.

Kyrgyzstan launches new biometric passports

Kyrgyzstan announced the introduction of its long-awaited biometric passports for its citizens, originally planned to be implemented in 2019, reports Rfe/rl’s Kyrgyz Service. The passports contain a microchip holding electronically authenticated information, and according to the MKK (The State Registration Service), will consist of 34 pages and cost citizens just under $5. The MKK says those who frequently travel can obtain a 52-page biometric passport at a cost of about $5.30.

The MKK announced on December 18 that the new biometric passports have been made by German company; Muhlbauer ID Services GmbH, and will be available starting on January 1, 2021.

Kyrgyz Foreign Minister, Chyngyz Aidarbekov said the lack of biometric passports could have been the reason Kyrgyzstan was included on the U.S. list suspending the issuance of visas (which can lead to permanent residency) for citizens of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. U.S. officials said the six countries had failed to meet U.S. security and information-sharing standards, reports Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.

$73M USD in funding to be put towards national identity system for the Philippines

Funding has been allocated for millions of Filipino citizens to be registered in the new biometric national identity system by the end of 2022.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed an additional budget of 3.52 billion Filipino Pesos (about US$73 million) will be made available for the 2021 registration of 20 million individuals to the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys). The overall budget for PhilSys in 2021 will be PHP11.6 billion ($240 million), the Manilla Standard reports.

Pre-registration for the national ID system began in October; step one involves representatives from the Philippine Statistics Authority physically collecting demographic information from registrants. Step two begins in January 2021, for the enrolment of biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scan. There will also be deployment of registration kits to the target provinces and the task force training for the Step 2 registration, says Philippine Statistics Authority Assistant Secretary Rosalinda Bautista.

The final step is the release of the IDs; the cards will be stored with a 12-digit PhilSys number or personal serial number (PSN) which never changes, and a 16-digit PhilSys card number. Bautista added that the PhilID system complies with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 wherein the collected data and information would automatically be encrypted into the server.

“We have classified our biometrics data to be highly sensitive and highly confidential,” says Aida Yuvienco, director for DICT’s Management Information System Services. This means cases of hacking or attempted stolen identity will not work, because the data will not be able to be read by a third party.

“As of December 11, we have already registered for step one 8.7 million [Filipinos]. And we are hoping by the end of the year, we would exceed 10 million. So that’s a very good start,” said Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua in an online forum. Chua added that of the 8.7 million registrants to date, 89 percent do not have bank accounts because they do not have any sufficient IDs or other requirements to set up such. After the biometrics have been processed, Land Bank will co-locate in the registration center to immediately open the individuals’ bank account, Chua notes, this is a step towards financial inclusion for all Filipinos.

In 2018, Duterte signed into law the National ID System Act, putting into process an official identification card for all citizens which consolidates and interconnects previously issued government IDs; also serving as a valid proof of identity for all Filipinos and resident aliens (for whom it will have a limited validity period). The National Economic and Development Authority has set a target for 50 million registrations for 2021, whilst the Philippine Statistics Authority is hoping to register 70 million Filipinos.

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