Beyond the heavy hitters: Bahrain, Mongolia go eID
While China and India will account for a majority of the credentials in the region, it’s important to note that there are other Asian countries working with eID.
Nestled in the Middle East, the Kingdom of Bahrain, has been working on a comprehensive eGovernment initiative since 2004. As part of that project, the kingdom’s Central Informatics Organization (CIO) has been responsible for implementing a smart card-based eID project along with improving infrastructure, equipment and procedures to bring Bahrain up to speed with national citizen ID.
Partnering with Gemalto since 2007, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s credential acts as a travel document and a tool for procuring eGovernment services, while meeting security and privacy standards.
Bahrain’s eIDs are being issued to every citizen and resident in the Kingdom and include fingerprint biometrics, as well as the cardholder’s photograph and signature. The cards feature contact and contactless technologies, match-on-card biometric capability, and a range of embedded software and security features.
Bahrain’s card doubles as a driver license and a travel document. They can carry medical information, including URLs linked to the holder’s electronic medical files and vaccination history. Access to eGovernment services is made possible through a home card reader. Future functions include an ePurse and voting application.
Mongolia is another Asian country that has deployed an eID credential to its citizens. Despite being a massive country spanning over 600,000 square miles, roughly one-third of Mongolia’s total population resides in the country’s largest cities.
Mongolia’s decision to issue an eID dates back to 2008, when the government launched the Policy of Millennium Development – a program tasked with replacing the country’s previous identification system with a new eID card.
Also partnering with Gemalto, Mongolia’s smart card includes an embedded microprocessor that houses citizens’ personal data along with facial and fingerprint biometrics. The eIDs facilitate eGovernment services including voting, tax services, customs, passport functions and military uses.
Big populations, big issuance
With nearly one third of the world’s total population residing in Asia, it should come as little surprise that eID issuance in the region is significant. The already impressive number of eIDs in circulation across Asia will only grow further as other large projects, like that in India, come to fruition.