Delays Beset Smart National ID Card

Delays Beset Smart National ID Card Delays Beset Smart National ID Card

The National Organization for Civil Registration (NOCR) launched a plan to replace the current ID booklet with smart national cards five years ago. But its implementation is beset with problems due to the inadequate computing technology infrastructure, causing unnecessary delays, Alef newspaper reports.

Smart ID cards are in line with the government’s digitalization plans. Electronic cards will facilitate authentic identification of individuals; and smart cards are the key to electronic governance. With the implementation of the smart card project, services will reach people in an easier, quicker and  organized way. Equally important, the smart card can also be linked to the distribution of subsidies, electronic health records, electoral process, and other public services. Thus it can upgrade the quality of life.

  20m This Year

The former chief of NOCR Mohammad Nazemi Ardakani had said registration for smart ID will commence in the second half of the current year (started March 21). In the past, the identity card booklets were imported; “however, today we can rely on domestic capacities.” He said according to the memorandum of cooperation between the NOCR and the National Printing House, 17 million smart IDs will be issued in the current year (ends March 20, 2016), and another 30 million next year; in all 50 million cards will be issued by the end of next year (March 20, 2017).

Alireza Avaie, the newly-appointed head of NOCR stressed the importance of completion of the Smart ID project within the deadline, but said he cannot promise “the exact number of cards to be ready by the end of the year.”

Abbas Salahi, member of the Majlis Social Commission expressing dissatisfaction in the delay over the project, noted that “necessary infrastructure has not been prepared; nevertheless, a pilot in some cities is underway to pinpoint and address the problems.” He further emphasized that implementing smart IDs nationwide require huge funding, resources, and expert level assessments.


The smart ID card will match a person’s fingerprints with their personal information details once identification is established. Additionally, the cards will contain digital signature of the holder, which is different from electronic signatures. While the latter is a scanned copy of the handwritten one, digital signature comprises of a pair of special keys allowing the user to sign documents and legal papers using the keys. The method increases the security of documents by signing and coding them through digital signature.

Smart IDs are expected to be highly secure, where first level data (identity information) is revealed after owners’ verification, and second level data can only be accessed through designated Personal Identification Number (PIN codes).

With identity and health records, as well as driving license in one digital card, it would be fair to say that the smart ID card is perhaps the most daunting informatics project in Iran.

  Asian Pioneers

Many countries have already started designing or implementing the smart card project. Almost all Persian Gulf and most of the Far Eastern countries have commenced their smart national card project. In Asia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong have been the pioneers of this project and all citizens have smart national cards. A common point in most smart cards is the digital identification and confirmation of identity. Electronic identification is less prone to errors.

The smart national card follows the same procedure of a traditional ID card, but the identity confirmation in addition to the photo, also has biometric data (fingerprints). More important, the biometric data is digitally available for investigation and eliminates the possibility of impersonation.