Cabinet approves new electronic identification card plan

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A sample of the new digital ID will be unveiled in April or May 2020 and a card production and issuance system and card center will be established in September next year, according to the ministry's plan. (NOWnews)
A sample of the new digital ID will be unveiled in April or May 2020 and a card production and issuance system and card center will be established in September next year, according to the ministry's plan. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Cabinet approved Thursday a plan to issue electronic identification cards (eIDs) that combine the functions of the existing national ID cards and Citizen Digital Certificates starting October 2020.

The plan, proposed by the Ministry of the Interior with the aim of replacing the ID card currently in circulation with a multi-functional anti-forgery one that could require a budget of NT$4.8 billion (US$155.52 million), was approved during a regular Cabinet meeting.

The new version will feature the Republic of China flag and can be used as a Citizen Digital Certificate, according to the ministry.

In the future, the multi-functional card could also be used as a National Health Insurance card and a driver’s license, it added.

A sample of the new digital ID will be unveiled in April or May 2020 and a card production and issuance system and card center will be established in September next year, according to the ministry’s plan.

The government aims to help an estimated 23.59 million people replace their national ID cards with the new digital cards by March 2023.

“Republic of China (Taiwan) Identity Card” will appear on the front of the card, along with the Chinese characters for “Republic of China national identification card,” according to the plan.

However, the new card will display only limited personal information, including the cardholder’s name, birth date and ID card number on the front, and marital status on the back.

The cardholder’s birth date, card issuance and expiration dates will be displayed in Chinese and English.

To protect the cardholder’s privacy, details such as the cardholder’s gender, parents’ names, spouse’s name, birthplace and address will no longer be shown on the card but will only be accessible via the chip embedded in the card, according to the ministry.

The new digital ID card will be a physical as well as virtual proof of identification, will allow digital signatures, privacy protection, autonomy of information disclosure, help with a transition to a “smart” government, have anti-counterfeit facilities and will boost innovative applications and industry development, according to the ministry.

The card will be used as proof of identity rather than as a device to store personal data, and therefore will not lead to encroachment into personal privacy, according to the ministry.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) lauded the new eID design, saying that it will give better access to smart government services.

Huang Ming-da (黃明達), a professor of information management at Tamkang University, said the new digital ID card will allow better data and privacy protection, given the limited information it will display.

By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao