Emirates ID to work on mobile phones soon

Emirates ID kiosk (SUPPLIED)

Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has announced that the Emirates ID will soon start working on mobile phones through Near Field Communication (NFC), enabling extensive use of its security feature across government and private networks.

The announcement was made on Tuesday – the first day of the Cards & Payments Middle East and The Mobile Show, being held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai.

Eida is also planning to instal multiple Emirates ID kiosks across several malls in the UAE where you can not only renew your Emirates ID but also pay traffic fines, RTA payments and even use the attached ATM machine.

However, it is still not clear if you will be able to use your Emirates ID as an ATM card. “The technology is there,” says Dr Ali Al Khouri, Director-General of Emirates Identity Authority in the UAE.

At Eida we are working hard towards implementing an identity management infrastructure within the country to support the transformation of the UAE government and its economy and enhance its security and global competitiveness.

According to him the main task is to set up a system enabling the identification and authentication of individuals over virtual networks and facilitating advanced multi-factor authentication capabilities such as biometrics, digital certificates, one-time-password, digital signature, and many more.
 
It is working with almost 15 different government organisations, both at federal and local levels, to connect their services to the Emirates ID. “This initiative is envisaged, to improve, the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector, and support the strategic planning and decision making in the country,” he said.
 
Eida has also enabled easy access to its API so that private organisation can incorporate them within their own security systems.
 
“We did an experiment with Hilal Bank where people could set up a new account with the use of Emirates ID. The result was that almost 30 minutes was time otherwise spent in various procedures and filling out of forms was saved,” he added.
 
Commenting on NFC he said, “We are currently working with the local telecom operators in the UAE and other technology firms to develop NFC enabled services, where people can be authenticated, and their identities verified, using their own mobile phones, and through which they can, securely access government services, anytime anywhere,” he said.
 
However, he denied that officials could track an individual’s whereabouts using the Emirates ID. “I have heard of these rumours. But it is not true,” he said but added that tracking anyone these days is anyways not so difficult. “If you are carrying a smartphone, you can anyways be tracked down, even when your mobile is switched off,” he added.
 
According to him today, ‘even KFC will have more information about your location, eating and buying pattern, that you might actually want them to,” he said.
 
Stating the Eida database already covers 90 per cent of all those legally living and working in the UAE, he said with the introduction of kiosks, will make it much more easier for the public.
 
 
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