Greece starts issuing new ID cards as conspiracy theories spread
Greece is starting to issue its new biometric identity cards which will be valid for the next ten years. On Monday, the country introduced a government platform where citizens can apply for ID cards and started offering appointments at Police stations.
The new digital IDs will include identification information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and ID number. Physical cards will also contain two fingerprints, a photo, the card access number (CAN) and a mechanical identification zone, as well as information such as parent’s names, gender, blood type and height, Greek City Times reports. They will also be equipped with RFID chip technology
The announcement of the new ID cards has fueled conspiracy theories in the European country, with calls for protests recorded throughout August. Fearing the possibility of surveillance, many Greeks have been joining long queues at police stations in an attempt to renew existing ID cards, which would be valid for ten years, according to the Greek Reporter.
Local media has reported that a monastery hired a bus to transport individuals who wanted to renew their old IDs to a police station in Thessaloniki, while a police station in western Athens advised citizens to show up at 6 a.m. to renew their cards.
At the beginning of September, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis assured the cabinet that the new biometric IDs do not contain “any chips or cameras or listening devices.”
Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Economou said this month that the new identity card is being issued in order to upgrade security features according to regulations from the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Current ID cards, which will be valid until August 2026, do not contain a mechanical identification zone.
The new cards will be issued by a total of 367 departments and 60 mobile units at the price of 10 euros.
In July, Greece launched the Gov.gr digital wallet smartphone app, enabling its citizens to download a full version of their digital IDs and mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs). According to official data from August, more than 710,000 Greek citizens have used the app to store a digital version of their national identity card while more than 563,000 have used it to generate a digital version of their driving license.
The Ministry of Digital Governance said that it also plans to include other digital documents such as vehicle registration permits, proof of road tax payments, vehicle technical inspection results and insurance details.