Collect Your Smart ID From The Bank

The minister in charge of the department of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said his department has over 35,000 applications for Smart IDs and passports since the eHome portal was launched. The Minister said the system was now open to citizens of all ages to apply and that 50% of the applications submitted has been finalized to date.

“As at 23 August 2016, a total of 35,751 applications have been submitted through the system, of which 50% has been finalized to date. Online applications are making a huge difference in the time spent in queues.”

“In April, in the first month following the launch, we were at 4 ,088 online applications,” he said, adding that his department would continue to embrace the digitization of public services to improve the service quality and standards of South Africans.

eHomeAffairs portal was launched on 7 April 2016 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand as part of Home Affairs migration from paper to digital services. Through the portal, citizens could easily download and fill in the e-application form, make an electronic payment and book an appointment to complete the application process at their nearest participating bank instead of visiting the department.

During its launch the department invited citizens between the ages of 30 and 35 to apply for their Smart ID Cards and passports. Now, the Minister said all citizens older than 16 years could access and apply for identity documents using the portal. He said: “As from today, the system is now open to all citizens who bank with the four banks – ABSA, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. “Currently, 12 branches of these banks are connected to the system in Gauteng, to issue the smart IDs with one branch in Canal Walk (Standard Bank) in Cape Town.”

According to the minister also, SA government is at its best in concluding a public-private partnership that would see the system being offered at selected banks in Gauteng and the Western Cape, being rolled out to more provinces.

“While most of these branches are centralised in Gauteng, plans are apace to enter into a public-private partnership with participating banks, hopefully to be finalised in October this year, to increase our footprint in the provinces, thus allowing for more South Africans to access the online service.”


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  • JFK

    Gemalto, a Netherlands-based digital security company, recently announced in a press statement that it will be the company supplying the South African Government Printing Works (GPW) with its Sealys eID proximity cards for our national ID card roll-out.

    “GPW selected the high-end Sealys document fitted with the contactless feature, ensuring added levels of convenience with unrivalled security for citizens,” Gemalto said.

    Pierre-Luc Arnaud, marketing director for government programmes in Africa at Gemalto, explained that the eID cards coming to South Africa are compliant with the ISO/EIC 14443 contactless standard.

    This same standard is used for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa contactless banking cards or electronic passports, Arnaud said. It also features in Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.

    To comply with top-end security and privacy considerations, Arnaud said that South Africa’s eID cards will be configured to operate in very close proximity to a reader (less than 2–4 inches).

    Asked what type of contactless reader would be needed to make use of the proximity card feature of our new eID, Arnaud said that any reader compatible with the international standard could be used.

    He added that the data on the card is protected with strong encryption and public key infrastructure (PKI) so that “only the rightful authorities or organisations can have access to the information stored on the card.”

    This characteristic is also very important to respect the privacy of the citizen, Arnaud said.

    “Thanks to its microprocessor and embedded software, the eID card is able to serve three distinct functions: identification, authentication and signature, using cryptography,” Arnaud said.

    According to the Gemalto website, their Sealy’s eID cards implement all the major security algorithms.


  • JFK

    Liberal copyright activist Cory Doctorow and free software activist Richard Stallman have both warned against South Africa’s recently launched electronic identity (eID) card.

    The new card will replace South Africa’s ageing national identity book, and is supplied by Netherlands-based Gemalto.

    In a press release announcing the new card, Gemalto said that secure embedded software will protect the holder’s image and biometric data within the eID.

    The issues Doctorow and Stallman raised are not with the security of the cards themselves, but centre around the availability of people’s private data.

    Doctorow, who is also a well-known science fiction author and blogger, said that there are lots of questionable elements to biometrics cards, with the primary problem being that biometric data leaks all over the place.

    Whether fingerprints, palm prints, your retina, or your DNA (by shedding hair, for example), biometrics data is not secret, Doctorow said. “Your fingerprints are all over this room.”

    A further problem with biometric identifiers is that you can’t revoke them and they are easy to clone, Doctorow said.

    All these problems combine to make biometrics bad authentication tokens, which Doctorow suggested could make for a solid technical argument for activists to use against the eIDs.

    Stallman, who is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and lead developer on the GNU project, told MyBroadband in an interview that he has a fundamental problem with national identification programmes in general.

    The fact that it is linked to an electronic, biometric system just makes it worse, Stallman said.

    “It is very, very dangerous to have national ID cards,” Stallman said.

    Stallman explained that such systems tend to be used as a universal identification and access token. This lets governments not only track people’s movements, but also makes it easier for them to see how people are connected.

    According to Stallman, this information could be used by the people in power to, among other things, discover pockets of political challenge and squash them before they can gain momentum.

    Stallman said that if a movement to protest these new identity cards hasn’t been started yet, one should be formed.


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