Electronic ID key to Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation

CountrySaudi Arabia

DUBAI: Identity cards, or “Bitagat Al-Hawiyya” as they are known in the Arab world, have been around for decades, helping governments and institutions keep track of the public’s movements and their personal data for a variety of uses.Systems of identity verification have been around for thousands of years in the form of symbols, jewelry and even markings on the skin. More recently, authorities have been transitioning from paper-based credentials to far more comprehensive digital profiles.In the case of Saudi Arabia, the shift from the National Register to the electronic identification (e-ID) program began at the end of 2007 as part of the government’s wider digital transformation strategy.It began with the issuance of polarized cards to all citizens over the age of 15. “In 2008 we issued the first national identity card with an electronic chip that holds the citizen’s biographic and biometric data,” Pascal Lesaulnier, CEO of Thales Saudi Arabia, told Arab News.“This was a crucial point in the evolution of the national identity scheme in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it opened the door to the possibilities of a wide application and usage of the e-ID across several platforms such as banking and telecommunications.”It was these two...read more...