x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Gulf ID card programme to be rolled out next month

Universal card readers among GCC countries will make it easier to track identification information, officials say.

Universal card readers among GCC countries will make it easier to track identification information, officials say.
Universal card readers among GCC countries will make it easier to track identification information, officials say.

ABU DHABI // A plan to introduce a unified ID card reader programme across all the GCC countries will be ready by next month, officials say.

The programme will make life easier for citizens and help authorities better track authentic identities, they said at a meeting of ID card authorities in the capital yesterday.

Only Bahrain, Oman and Qatar have card readers, and they cannot process IDs from the entire GCC. Bahrain has been developing a common coding system, and officials at the meeting agreed it should be implemented for all members. An execution plan should be ready by the committee's next meeting on June 16.

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Having a common reader will save time; once the card is inserted, the information will automatically pass into the host country's system. "Smart cards also have some information that is not visible on the surface, which is saved inside the chip, so the reader should be able to access that information," said Elham Saleh, director of smart cards in Bahrain.

Testing the authenticity of the cards will come as a second stage to the project. "For example, if a Bahraini card was forged and the holder presents it at the border, it could have all the information and look the same. The reader will be able to read the data on the file and through digital central bank signature keys, we can test the validity of the card," said Dr Ali Khouri, director-general of the Emirates ID Authority.

UAE citizens can already use their ID cards to travel across the GCC. Using the smart cards for internal services was another feature the committee hoped to implement. Holders of GCC smart cards would be able to use them instead of a passport for banking services or renting a car.

The meeting concludes today.

hdajani@thenational.ae