The Belgian government is expanding it’s electronic identification card initiative to include all children under the age of 12. The program consists of a dedicated electronic ID with specific features intended to increase their security in emergency situations.
In particular, a special hotline number is printed on the card body of the child’s ID card so that his parents can be alerted as soon as possible. Zetes is the systems integrator for the project and Gemalto is providing the smart cards.
The size of a credit card, the new Kids-ID card features three main functionalities. Firstly, it acts as an electronic national ID credential for Belgian children and also serves as an official travel document in most European countries. It contains all ID information as well as the child’s photograph. This data is printed on the card body and also stored in the microprocessor.
The second capability is protecting the child in emergency situations. In case he/she gets lost, or is the victim of an accident, the hotline number printed on the card body enables to notify the next of kin or friend. The caller dials the hotline number and enters the child’s 11-digit National Registry number. The call is immediately transferred to the first number on a list of up to seven contact phone numbers that the parents have selected upon card issuance. If this person is not available, the caller is immediately connected to the second number on the list, and so on until somebody is available. If no one is, the call is routed to the Belgian Child Focus hotline, operational 24 hours-a-day.
Lastly, the Kids-ID card can be used on the Internet for safer access to online chat and for use of services that require identification. A PIN code enables to automatically authenticate the child and to grant him access to web services he is allowed to use. Other potential uses include accessing library books, sport club membership or health care access.
Fedict (FPS Information and Communication Technology), the Federal Public Service of Belgium in charge of developing e-Government projects, has just started deploying the Kids-ID program. Kids-ID is part of Belgium’s nationwide electronic ID program, launched in 2003. In January 2009, the number of e-ID in use exceeds 8 million, representing over 90% of the targeted population, according to Fedict.