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France’s new biometric ID cards from IN Groupe actually fit in people’s wallets, enable EU travel

Biometrics and digital ID

The rollout of France’s new national digital identity card with embedded fingerprint biometrics, supplied by IN Groupe, began this week on a limited basis.

The new ID card also features an embedded QR code, and replaces a legacy card released in 1995 with a larger form factor which The Local reports made it too big to fit in standard wallets.

The update is in line with the EU’s new rules for ID cards to include biometric data, which makes it more secure, practical and innovative, IN Groupe points out. It allows bearers of the ID document to prove their identity and can be used as a travel document within the European Union.

An announcement from IN Groupe says the format of the new ID card has been praised by users, and that each card can be used for ten years without a reduction in readability. Two addresses can be included for children in shared-custody arrangements, a visible electronic seal to provide a secure electronic signature along with security data, and relief elements to enable visually impaired people to distinguish between two cards with the same format.

Face biometric data and two fingerprints are included on each card held by people 12 years old and up. A changing multiple laser image (MLI) fights fraud by allowing verifiers to confirm that the cardholders image has not been modified.

Citizenship Minister Marlène Schiappa says the cards are a key step in the fight against identity theft.

The cards will be progressively rolled out across France, with distribution across the entire country beginning on August 2, which is the EU deadline for complying with the new ID card rules.

The legacy cards will still be valid up until 2031.

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