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Thales-led consortium wins Mauritius’ digital ID card and wallet contract

Thales-led consortium wins Mauritius’ digital ID card and wallet contract

A consortium led by Thales has won a 10-year contract to supply digital identity technologies for Mauritius’ national ID system.

Thales will provide its modular identity management system, and issue digital ID cards with a high-resolution color photo, a barcode and an electronic chip, and a digital ID wallet for secure storage and sharing of identity documents.

Once in place, the digital ID wallet will be the first implemented by an African country to be interoperable based on the ISO standard, according to the announcement. Initially, it will store a digital version of the ID card, but Mauritian authorities also plan to include marriage and birth certificates in the future.

The digital wallet and the MNIC 3.0 ID card are intended to be used for trusted, private interactions between people and public entities, and the announcement refers to easing identity verification for service providers like banks and retailers. The wallet will also enable digital signatures.

Thales says robust built-in data privacy and consent management mechanisms ensure individuals’ control over their personal data. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said at the launch ceremony for the new ID card that Mauritius has committed to independent security audits to ensure compliance with security parameters in with the country’s Data Protection Act, Le Matinal reports. The government made the commitment to the United Nations Human Rights Council following a 2021 ruling that adequate safeguards were not in place for the storage of biometrics on the previous-generation cards.

The deal also includes the installation of self-service kiosks where users can update the information on their digital ID cards and manage the PIN code that secures the digital certificates it holds.

The consortium, which was awarded the contract by Mauritius’ Prime Minister’s Office, also includes local IT provider Harel Mallac Technologies.

“With this implementation, blending ID cards and digital identity, Mauritius fully leverages the best of both worlds, offering the optimal combination of security and ease,” says Youzec Kurp, vice president of Identity and Biometrics Solutions at Thales. “The new Mauritius ID system stands as one of the most advanced and marks the first implementation of a fully interoperable Digital ID Wallet in Africa, adhering to international ISO standards. This positions Mauritius amongst the pioneer countries in identity solutions worldwide.”

For now, the new card is only available to people reaching 18 or 60 years of age, those replacing lost or damaged cards and people changing their name by marriage or court order.

The dollar value of the contract was not disclosed.

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