Barbados hopes digital ID card rollout helps COVID-19 contact tracing, Belgium restarts issuance

US authorities reveal volume seizure of fake IDs
Barbados hopes digital ID card rollout helps COVID-19 contact tracing, Belgium restarts issuance

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, has said she believes fast-tracking the introduction of a new multipurpose digital ID card could help the country in its strategy against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barbados Today reports that the island nation, which has seen a spike in virus cases lately, is finding it difficult effectively tracing contacts because many citizens give in wrong addresses and other personal information to officials.

The Prime Minister said in a recent address to the nation that she was going to accelerate work on the introduction of the new eID cards in order to tackle the growing misinformation problem, the report noted.

“In some instances, people are giving wrong contact information, wrong addresses, et cetera. Therefore, we are going to be tightening up on what information is to be given, but more importantly, I think that we [will] look to introduce the digital ID card, which we have expedited,” the Prime Minister told citizens.

She added: “We want to move as far as possible to a cashless society, because cash itself has become a medium for the virus, as I understand it. We are also going to have some conversations as to what are the obligations of citizens with respect to the provision of accurate information on their address, particularly in areas where it is required.”

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology sealed a deal in September last year for a project that will see the production of the digital IDs which will replace the laminated printed ID which is currently being used, Barbados Today disclosed.

Expectations are that the new cards will not only facilitate digital financial transactions and internet banking within the framework of the country’s drive toward a cashless economy; it will also make e-communication and e-commerce much easier.

Belgium resumes issuing new biometric ID card after pandemic delay

Belgium similarly says it is rolling out a new format of its digital ID card, which will store the fingerprint biometric data of the holder, in compliance with a European Union regulation adopted in June 2019.

The exercise comes after the issuance of the cards was delayed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Brussels Times reports. The card rollout follows a pilot that started in early 2020, and an interrupted rollout that reached just over 53,000 Belgians, according to the report.

The report cited a press release by the Belgian Minister of Interior, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Renewal, Annelies Verlinden, which states that the cards will be issued by all the municipalities of the country.

According to the minister’s statement, existing eIDs without biometrics will remain valid in the hands of their holders except in the case of loss, damage, expiry, name change of the holder or when the photo on the card no longer looks like the holder. Also, holders will be notified when their current old cards are about to exhaust their validity, the report mentioned.

The Brussels Times also cited the minister as explaining that the issuance of the cards is part of continuous efforts by the country in making its identity documents more secure and less susceptible to identity fraudsters.

“With this new identity card, we have an even more secure identity and travel document in our pocket. A combination of your fingerprints and the perforated photograph on the back makes forging more difficult, and enables us to step up the fight against identity fraud,” Verlinden was quoted as saying of the cards.

There are also some physical novelties with the new digital ID card. The holder’s photo is on the right unlike the old one, and the contact chip has been placed on the back of the card meaning it can be inserted into a card reader differently from before, per The Brussels Times.

Over 14K fake ID items seized at Port of Cincinnati

The U.S Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) officials say they impounded 14,504 assorted fake ID documents at the Port of Cincinnati in the course of the year just ended.

According to a statement released on the CBP website, the items – 97 percent of which originated from China and Hong Kong –  were in the form of license’s, holographic stickers or seals, laminates, social security cards, passports, visas, and other types of ID material.

Cincinnati Port Director, Richard Gillespie, decried the dangers of fake ID items and commended the work of CBP officials in safeguarding U.S borders and protecting the American people.

“Fake IDs are used to facilitate underage drinking, which is dangerous in and of itself. The story can get even darker, however. Fake documents are associated with identity theft, public benefit fraud, and human trafficking, and terrorists use them to evade travel screening measures. Our officers and specialists are trained to recognize fake identification documents and they are dedicated to protecting innocent civilians” he said.

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