Portugal picks national ID card supplier

Portugal has selected a vendor to produce a credit card-sized national ID card that can store biometric information such as fingerprints and a digital signature for online transactions.

Gemalto NV, selected by Portugal’s Mint and National Printing Office (Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda SA), will provide the operating system, applications, middleware and help desk services.

Portugal wants the “Citizen Card” to contain civil identification, taxpayer, social security and health information. The card will contain a digital signature, legally valid for e-government transactions and protected by a PIN (Personal Identification Number), says Gemalto. The card uses the Identification Authentication Signature specifications, a set of European interoperability requirements.

The ID card application will use encryption for access to an e-government portal. Police authorities will have access to the fingerprint information through another application, says Gemalto.

A pilot phase started last week in Portugal’s Acores region. The government hopes to issue two million cards a year. Portugal’s population is about 10.6 million.

In January 2005, Portugal’s government said secure ID cards were needed for national security. Immigrants from Brazil were buying fake Portuguese ID cards in order to go to work in the U.K., according to information published by the European Commission.

Portugal already issues a laminated paper card with the user’s fingerprint for identification.

Related content:

Fed ID cards – vendors forced to non-proprietary, interoperable products

ID cards – the beast that will not die

An overview by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic

UK bill would make ID cards mandatory

A national identity card: What is it and why do we need one?

The case against a national identity card

Express train to a surveillance state – say No2ID

US federal agencies start small on smart ID cards

Identity Theft – Questions and Answers

Related Download
Improving the State of Affairs With Analytics Sponsor: SAS
Improving the State of Affairs With Analytics
Download this case study-rich white paper to learn why data management and analytics are so crucial in the public sector, and how to put it to work in your organization.
Register Now