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Ethiopia is developing the first digital ID cards for its citizens.

You should know about the first digital National Identity Card in Ethiopia

The main objective of the National Identity Card program is to provide a unique identity card to all Ethiopian citizens. “An individual is officially unique,”according to the agency. Thus, “….using the person’s information to make them have an identity card that cannot be matched with anyone else,” said Abeenezar Fallaqaa, a spokesman for the program’s office. The program will be implemented under the Office of the Prime Minister from 2021 and will run for five years. Thus, it aims to complete the registration of 70 million Ethiopians by as a start, from 2021 onwards, we will run a sample of digital records in Finfinnee and surrounding cities, Abeenezar said. During the registration, if a person brings his village ID card, passport and even a folk ID card, his name, date of birth, current address and citizenship will be registered.

On the other hand, non-critical information is collected by phone number and email. The Identity Card service is available to all legal residents of Ethiopia, including Ethiopians living abroad. According to Abeenezar, what sets the digital ID card apart from others is that “biometric data is taken. Biometric data is,’’eyeprints, ten fingerprints and a photograph of the person when they are photographed,’’ he explained. The information is compiled and a 12-digit digital identity number is sent to the individual’s phone, he said. “We then call that number a digital identity,” he said. However, “we are arranging for the number to be captured by telephone or printed on paper,” Abeenezar said. Now you can develop an application called ‘Fayda’ and get a digital copy. The digital ID card will be called ‘Fayda’, he said.

”One person is only one”.

The digital identity card follows the “one-for-one” guideline because it uses biometric information, he said. He said the reissue of biometric information would avoid identity collusion.

Eye and fingerprints are combined with other personal information and the number is unique to that individual. “This means issuing ID cards in someone else’s name.”

In this way, people can access services with the identity number assigned only to them. So far, there is no “fully digital” ID card system. This is the first,” Abeenezar said.

Avoid collision issues

The purpose of the digital ID card is to provide residents with “inclusive” services. According to him, 40 percent of people living in Ethiopia, especially in rural areas, do not have identity cards. Ninety percent of residents with ID cards cannot be tracked digitally, Abeenezar said. As a result, one of the parties affected by the identity conflict is the banking financial institution, he said. According to the National Bank of Ethiopia, Ethiopian banks lost Birr 1.8 billion last year alone due to the lack of value in their identity tracking systems. He notes that ‘Fayda’ is working in coordination with banks to avoid the situation. In addition, we will ensure that there is consistent information on various services provided, he said. If this is implemented, it will reduce costs and ensure timely and reliable services, he said.

On the issues of nationality.

“When we register a person for a digital identity card, we only take the information necessary to identify a person when they use services,” Abeenezar said. This means that the basic information of the individual “name, date of birth, address and citizenship,” will be accepted, he said. Information outside of this means that service providers ask users as needed. Therefore, Fayda does not accept ethnic and other information, he said. The Digital National Identity Card will replace the previous ones such as village ID cards “we cannot say that it will replace the current one but the digital one can help as a basic identification with information,” he said. In summary, “the purpose of digital ID cards is not to serve on behalf of others, but to provide users with timely services at banks, telecommunications, schools, taxes,” he said. Abeenezar said he could not comment on how it would work with other ID cards in the future.

The matter of the privacy of individuals

Abeenezar also responded to a question on how biometric information taken from eye and fingerprints during the issuance of digital identity cards is treated in terms of exposing the privacy of individuals. Ethiopia passed the Digital Identity Card Act in February to protect personal information. The information collected is controlled by local people and local centers. Therefore, people will not share their information with any third party because there is a secure system.

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