Let's take a look at the country's expectations, at the project and its ambitions.
Ideologically progressive but culturally conservative, Algeria has maintained political stability since the tensions of the "Arab Spring". The need to improve the country's economic prospects remains the most pressing challenge in the opinion of its young and dynamic population of 42 million.
Key government reforms underway are expected to stimulate business, diversify the economy and drive the creation of more private-sector jobs.
To pave the way to citizen-centric service delivery and protect bearer identity, an advanced smart card was recently launched in January 2016: the biometric national identity card (CNIBE).
As a replacement for the current paper document, this microchip-enabled eID will provide a secure, reliable means of identification based on biometric authentication.
Algeria's electronic ID card provides citizens with irrevocable proof of identity, enabling them to interface more conveniently and more effectively with their government.
Biometric facial and fingerprint ID systems will be linked to a secure database accessible to agencies overseeing voter registration, tax collection, passport issuance and more.
All citizens 18 years and older will be required to carry the advanced smart cards as their national ID document.
Strong security to create a climate of trust
In Algeria, the 2010 law on the implementation of the unique National Identification Number (numéro d'identification nationale) and the February 2015 law on legally binding electronic signature and certification marked two significant milestones in the advancement of a national eID framework for eCommerce and eGovernment.
Algeria's new biometric ID card incorporates a range of robust security features reinforced by biometrics with fingerprints on the microprocessor. Access to public and private electronic services—especially eGovernment services—via web portals is made secure by an electronic authentication and signature certificate issued by the card issuing authority.
Thales is also supplying its Issuance PIN Mailers platform. The PIN code will enable citizens to activate their digital ID, access digital public services, and issue legally binding digital signatures for official documents and contracts whenever necessary.
Card bearers will be able to electronically sign public and private documents with a qualified electronic signature certificate. The electronic signature complies with the new legislation in Algeria aimed at creating a climate of trust conducive to eCommerce and citizen involvement.
A national identity card at the edge of technology
Building on its experience in over 100 national programs worldwide, Thales is supplying an advanced and highly durable polycarbonate eID card with a comprehensive set of optical and physical safety features. It is specifically designed to fulfil the country's objectives in terms of security of the national identity card and development of the digital economy.
The new card is the third secure document to be supplied to Algeria by Thales, following the introduction of an eHealthcare card (the CHIFA card) in 2008 and secure ePassport covers in 2014.
The new eID card: ambitions
The approach has already been tried out by the Algerian State in previous years with the design and issuance to citizens of the Algerian eHealthcare card.
The understanding that emerged from this experience was that the starting point for any collective progress approach should be:
- A unifying bond, symbolizing the social tie linking the citizen to the administration,
- The principle of trust in the new, digital representation of this link and its translation into law to ensure its security and validity for electronic transactions.
With the introduction of this new ID card, the Algerian government will be able to reinforce security and trust.
Above all, the simplified administration enabled by the all-new eGovernment infrastructure will allow its agencies to fulfil the promise of citizen-centric service delivery so eagerly awaited by its people.
By offering the capacity for secure electronic authentication and digital signature, Thales' eID solution brings genuine versatility to an array of everyday applications designed to simplify travel formalities, online declarations, and payment of fees.
What biometrics for the Algerian eID card?
"Match-on-Card" algorithm for the Gemalto BioPIN feature
Algeria's new eID incorporates digital security features utilising the match-on-card fingerprint control algorithm. Unlike conventional biometric processes, the match-on-card process allows fingerprints to be checked locally using the card's integrated microprocessor.
Biometric data never leave the smart card, meaning that they remain protected at all times.
It is the card's processor which carries out the check and answers yes or no to the question: does the fingerprint presented correspond to the one stored in the card?
To give an overview, we present here some of the modernization actions driven by the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government and conducted in parallel to the eID card (CNIBE) project:
Bringing government and citizens closer
The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government has launched an extensive modernisation program to better cater to the expectations of the people, to fight against all forms of corruption and bureaucracy, to establish efficient and transparent eGovernment and to stimulate local development.
Efforts also focused on the renewal of local development by enabling the role of the communes and boosting citizen participation.
A good example is the opening of one-stop shops at the municipal level for issuance of official documents such as passports, vehicle registration, and national identity cards, to avoid making citizens travel to the district level or Daïra centres.
Another example is the creation, as of December 2014, of a call centre belonging to the Ministry of Interior and set up to address the grievances of citizens in detail. The green number "1100" is proving to be a great success. The call centre counts 200 agents and receives around 18,000 calls per day.
The service provides citizens with information and explanations on matters such as how to prepare applications for administrative documents, how to set up associations and political parties, etc.
Biometrics as a tool for modernization
Measures have been taken to integrate biometrics in all administrative documents, with better coordination between ministries. To achieve this, the Ministry of Interior is working with the IT departments of each region (wilayah).
Biometric registrations are conducted at the municipal level, in addition to the registrations currently managed at the regional level. This applies to all of the 547 urban areas.
A digital national register for Algeria
Every paper birth certificate is digitized and added to a national database. The success of this program has motivated all the ministries involved. A national database has been created for vehicle registrations.
Today these documents can be issued in any administrative division.
The single National Identification Number (NIN)
The NIN which is currently generated for the ePassport is also used for the eID card. It is a component of the national civil register and is intended to eliminate confusion caused by spelling errors and homonyms and also to improve access to identity data for document holders.
Electronic signature and electronic services
The deployment of these new digital identity cards can be a source of real benefits and new services for citizens and businesses alike, in conditions consistent with the new rules on data protection and personal freedoms.
Many ministries and local authorities are attracted by the versatility of the new biometric identity card. They will be encouraging their use in multiple everyday activities (transport, access to public buildings, payment for public services, etc.).
Two symbols of Algeria represented on the new card
The Martyrs' Memorial (in Arabic: مقام الشهيد, Maqam E'chahid) is a symbol of modern Algeria. The monument erected to commemorate the Algerian war for independence overlooks the capital.
The fennec fox is a symbol of Algerian patriotism. A desert animal, it is hunting pests and is also protected by law.
It's the cherished mascot of the great national football team, winner of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Your national ID project with Thales
Thales supports countries that wish to modernize and have opted to move into the digital age for the well-being of their people, their socio-economic competitiveness and their security.
With its unique position as a manufacturer and supplier of digital identity solutions, Thales is a front-line observer of global trends.
Indeed, the extensive uptake for secure digital identity documents comprising microchip cards has placed Thales at the centre of many eGovernment and eID deployment programs.
The substantial budgets that these programs represent have also led Thales to act as an advisor to states to support their implementations.
A sustainable society is a society in which social cohesion is revitalized and energized through digital technologies. In all these areas, the reliable identification of citizens is a critical success factor.
Thales is involved in over 100 national programs across the world, including some 30 passport programs, 48 national digital identity , and eID programs, and has recognized expertise in border management systems.
If you have questions or comments, please get in touch with us.