In 2003, Hong Kong started its own national identity card program.
In less than four years, the new card phased out its predecessor, and is now held by more than seven million citizens and foreign residents. The new polycarbonate card features a microprocessor, and is capable of storing personal data, a digital photograph, and two fingerprint scans. It functions as the country’s primary identity document, and is required for employment, voting, and receiving social services. Gemalto is providing its highly secure MULTOS operating system platform.
The use of the card for e-Services is activated voluntarily at the post office, using the “e-Service” certificate. This authentication and signature function is a key element in the development of e-Services in Hong Kong, for public applications as well as private. It is based on a PKI ( Public Key Infrastructure).
The success of Hong Kong’s new identity card is due in part to a strong and constant political will, solid technical and legal infrastructures, a document that is visibly more modern and secure than its predecessor- a boost to national pride, the perception that, since launch, the card would protect the rights of its citizens and their uniqueness, the installation of self-service terminals and integration in libraries, online betting, and more “classic” examples of e-Government such as eTax.