New smart ID cards plan questioned2015.01.12
LAWMAKERS expressed concern about data security on the nextgeneration smart Hong Kong identity card, which will use wireless technology.
At a Legislative Council Security Panel meeting, they questioned whether the radiofrequency identification technology – which uses radio waves to transfer data wirelessly – on the new smart ID card may violate the privacy of citizens.
The HK$2.9 billion exercise – running from 2018 to 2022 – will see some 8.8 million cards being issued using the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System, or SMARTICS-2, as the existing smartcards are prone to damage and the technology is obsolete.
About 50,000 to 200,000 existing ID cards will not work properly if the ageing Smart Identity Card System is not soon replaced, officials said.
The future ID smartcard will have expanded storage capacity for a higher resolution photograph as well as updated fingerprint templates for more secure and accurate identity verification. But lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching (毛孟靜) said the wireless communication technology can read data about 100 metres away and asked whether the government will be able to “100 percent ensure” the privacy of the information contained in the future ID cards.
Undersecretary for Security (保安局副局長) Lee Ka-chiu (李家超) said there are two ‘doors’ to open the ID cards and that the wireless system can only be used after the ID cards are read by an optical instrument.
(The Standard, 7 January 2015)