Smart IDs for Biometric Data

03/10/2011 20:19


The two-year smart ID card pilot project will get underway within six months. Hundreds of thousands of smart IDs, which will make it possible to receive government services from home, will be issued. The condition for receiving a smart ID card is to provide a finger print and facial photo that will be store in the biometric database that the government is trying to set up.

Deputy Accountant General Tal Hermeti told "Globes", "In the long term, there will be no reason for a citizen to arrive at a government office to receive service, because they will be able to get it at home, and quickly."

The smart ID cards are supposed to improve Israelis' lives. Although to pick our elected leaders it will still be necessary to go to a voting booth on election day, any citizen seeking to clarify his status at the Land Registry (tabu) or at the National Insurance Institute, will not have to change out of his slippers to do so.

However, the program's progress to revolutionize the consumption of government services still requires an update of the Biometric Database Law (5769-2009), which is under discussion by the Knesset Science and Technology Committee. The intention to make receipt of the new smart IDs subject to providing fingerprints and facial photos has angered civil rights organizations and MKs, who say that this will jeopardize privacy. The law proposes the establishment of a special agency, subject to the minister of interior, that will manage the database. Sources say that the smart ID pilot cannot begin without this agency.

Hermeti said that the sophisticated microchip that will be installed in the smart IDs will make them "safer than the credit cards now on the market. If a person loses their smart ID card, there will no fear that it will fall into the wrong hands for malicious use, because the card can be canceled with the click of a button."

Adv. Yonatan Klinger, one of the opponents of the Biometric Database Law, welcomed the plan to launch the smart ID because of the effective service it will give the public. However, he criticized the decision to subject eligibility for the cards to collaborating with the biometric database. "In effect, the Biometric Database Law has prevented the government from issuing smart ID cards to citizens since 2003, not to mention that the database is controversial."

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