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Pakistan moves against fraudulent digital ID cards

UAE, Barbados, Romania launch details unveiled
Pakistan moves against fraudulent digital ID cards

Muhammad Tariq Malik, the Chairman of Pakistan’s biometric National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) says a move to verify the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) of citizens will soon go underway after reported cases of fraudulent issuance of the document, writes Geo TV.

As part of efforts to handle the situation, Malik, who returned as NADRA boss in June, confirmed that 47 NADRA workers had been dismissed from their job for facilitating the issuance or unblocking of the fraudulent digital ID cards.

This was the subject of a recent meeting between the Senate Standing Committee on Interior Affairs and the NADRA Chairman during which the Committee Chairman, Senator Talha Mahmood, brought up the issue. Senator Mahmood said he was aware of people whose blocked ID cards had been unblocked by NADRA staff, with one of them reportedly promised a house as reward for rendering the fraudulent service.

According to Malik, NADRA quickly responded to the cases of the fake digital ID cards by blocking them using AI technology, and that 47 of the 87 persons cited in the matter have already been relieved of their functions. He added that the body has equally been reorganized following instructions from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Upgraded digital ID for UAE rolls out

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are introducing an upgraded version of the Emirates ID card which they say has advanced security features, according to a report by Gulf News.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) said the issuance of the card is part of the project for the production of a new generation of Emirati passports and national identity cards.

Gulf News quoted Major General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, Acting Director General of ICA, as saying the move is in line with the objectives of the government to develop a system of quality data of the population, and to make available to citizens “…an advanced system based on best practices and international standards in managing personal identity and providing high quality services.”

The new ID card version, like the Emirati passports, is said to be built with high-security components in order to make forgery difficult.

Meanwhile, a report by Khaleej Times indicates that some residents have already started receiving the new ID cards as of late-June.

The report quotes the ICA as insisting that despite the new additional features, the issuance fee for the document has not increased. So far, the cards are being issued only to people whose old IDs are either expired, lost or damaged.

According to Khaleej Times, five new major features of the card include enhanced protection of non-visible data, higher quality and greater durability, a consolidated 3D photo, advanced technical and technological characteristics, and additional data fields.

Barbados’ digital ID launch in the offing

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology of Barbados, Senator Kay McConney, has disclosed that the country’s new digital ID cards are still being tested, but will be launched soon if the trial is successful.

Per Nation News, the Minister said during the recent announcement that the government is working to ensure that the cards are launched quickly.

She also revealed that about a fortnight ago, fully printed samples of the cards were sent to the organization that will be in charge of overseeing the issuance, to ensure that the document, which will be used for travel, complies with international security standards.

Barbados is also planning negotiations with other governments in a bid to have the ID card accepted as an international travel document, the Minister said.

At the start of the year, the Prime Minister of the Caribbean island nation expressed the wish to see the digital ID card rollout fast-tracked so it could help the country in COVID contact-tracing.

Romania launches pilot for digital ID card

Romania is hoping to issue 5,000 digital identity cards during 2021, and has begun a pilot project in the city of Cluj-Napoca, according to HotNews.ro.

The cards include a facial image of the bearer and two fingerprints for biometric verification, in compliance with EU regulations for ID cards serving as travel documents within the regional bloc.

The ID cards are expected to be issued to Romanians within 15 to 30 days of an application being filed, with a cost of €14 (US$16.40) for both a version with digital storage and one without.

In addition to travel, the digital version will be used for authentication to the National Health Insurance scheme, as well as government services. Integration with systems for criminal records, driving licenses and vehicle registration are also being considered.

Country-wide digital ID card issuance is expected to begin in 18 months.

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