Taiwan’s new eID card rollout postponed due to COVID-19

Image taken from the MOI's official website

TAIPEI (CNA) — The rollout of Taiwan’s new national electronic identification cards (eIDs) originally slated for October is to be postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a Ministry of the Interior (MOI) official said Monday.

The rollout will depend on how the pandemic situation develops, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) told lawmakers at a legislative Internal Administration Committee hearing Monday.

Due to COVID-19, there were delays in receiving the equipment needed for the fabrication of eIDs from overseas in April, Hua said.

As Taiwan lacks the know-how to produce smart anti-forgery cards embedded with an integrated chip that stores and processes data, it needs to import the technology from abroad, the ministry said in a statement.

The new identity cards will be embedded with military grade cryptography, with a secure integrated chip which is certified to security level CC EAL5+ high, the ministry said, noting that the government has contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, to produce the eIDs.

Last August, the Cabinet announced that Taiwan would start replacing existing paper-made IDs with new electronic identity cards for its citizens, with completion scheduled for March 2023.

Due to privacy concerns, the new chip-embedded 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.

According to the MOI, holders will be given the option of combining the functions of existing national ID cards and Citizen Digital Certificates, used to verify a user’s online digital signature, in the new eIDs.