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Chile extends Idemia contract to supply and support digital ID documents by a year

Chile extends Idemia contract to supply and support digital ID documents by a year

A contract held by Idemia in Chile to help upgrade the country’s civil registry is being extended by a year, reports Interferencia (in Spanish, read as translated by Google).

Under a 10-year contract that includes the provision of digital ID cards and biometric passports, the Chilean Civil Registry will operate the system, rather than Idemia, which lowered the total tender cost from US$700 million to $276 million. The old system has not been retired, however, so a year-long contract extension was granted to Idemia to maintain the old system.

Not everyone seems to be happy with the arrangement, however, as the report suggests the extension costs taxpayers $70,000 million Chilean pesos (approximately US$88.2 million), and that it follows a visit of officials to Idemia in Europe.

A visit by directors of the Civil Registry to Idemia facilities in the Netherlands and Hungary, and the appointment of a new national director immediately before the contract extension was signed are alleged by Interferencia to be outside of the official tender process, and innapropriate. The visit was described as technical meetings, but the outlet objects that technical issues could be addressed remotely, and technical staff did not attend.

The publication alleges that the cancellation of a tender led by China-based company Aisino, ostensibly for data safety concerns,  involved irregularities in the government’s process. It also suggests a historical pattern, referring to events involving Idemia predecessors Morpho and Sagem. The article notes that a Civil Registry director was removed from his post over a Sagem contract in 2010, but the company was awarded the contract after a long process involving a challenge by Indra.

“Idemia reaffirms its commitment to systematically align itself with the procedures and regulations of the states it works with,” a representative of the company told Biometric Update in an emailed statement. “Idemia follows, and has always done so, all procedures and legislation as part of its work with the Chilean Government.”

More than 3.3 million passports and 29 million ID cards have been issued to Chileans since Idemia began operating in the country in 2012.

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