CORONAVIRUS/Rollout of Taiwan's new eID card unlikely this year: interior ministry

07/04/2020 08:38 PM
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Image taken from the MOI
Image taken from the MOI's official website

Taipei, July 4 (CNA) The launch of a new national electronic identification card (eID), which was scheduled for October in Taiwan, is highly unlikely this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, a Ministry of the Interior (MOI) official said Saturday.

Chang Wan-yi (張琬宜), director of the MOI's Department of Household Registration Affairs, said Taiwan has to import the equipment to manufacture the cards, which is a problem at this time because of the travel and shipping issues related to the pandemic.

Under no circumstances will Taiwan opt to have the cards made overseas, Chang said. They will be manufactured by the government's Central Engraving and Printing Plant in Taipei, but that most likely will not be possible this year, she said.

In late April, the MOI said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it had halted its plans to send a team of technicians to Europe to procure the equipment to manufacture the eIDs.

At the time, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) said the launch of the eID card would depend largely on how the pandemic situation developed.

Currently, Taiwan does not have the ability to make smart anti-forgery cards with an embedded chip that can store and processes data, according to the ministry.

On Saturday, another MOI official told CNA that that the new identity card is unlikely to be introduced before the first or second quarter of next year, and even then, it may be a limited rollout.

Taiwan's technicians would need overseas training to produce the eIDs, but it will be very inconvenient if they have to be quarantined when they travel abroad for that purpose, said the official, who asked not to be named.

A new timeframe for the release of the eID, therefore, will depend on the COVID-19 situation, the official said.

The Cabinet announced last August that Taiwan would start replacing its paper IDs with new electronic identity cards for its citizens, a process that it said would be completed by March 2023.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Ko Lin)

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