Belgium gets smart about identity

Friday, 13 December 2002, 10:35 AM EST

Belgium plans to test run its new electronic identity cards in 11 communes starting from March. If the pilot scheme goes well, the government plans to phase in, over five years, more than 10 million new IDs across the country.

The ‘smart’ IDs are being plugged as a convenient tool for citizens, which will save them time and energy by providing them with a safe and secure means to deal with the government electronically and conduct online business transactions.

“The new ID-card has been conceptualised from a citizen’s point of view,” Manu Robbroeckx, spokesman for FEDICT, the federal information technology body overseeing the project, told Expatica.

According to Robbroeckx a cardholder, using a special smart card reader and PIN code, would be able to fill in tax returns, pay social security and vote from the comfort of her armchair. Once our citizen of the future has fulfilled those tedious chores, she can kick back her heels and use the time it frees up to go online to order a pizza or a holiday in the sun.

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