MINSK, 25 January (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is holding a meeting on 25 January to discuss the preparedness for the introduction of biometric documents in Belarus, BelTA informs.
“The work in this field has been in progress for a long time. Now the government and officials are saying that information systems have been formed, necessary equipment has been purchased, awareness-building activities have been carried out. We are ready to start handing out ID cards and new passports even tomorrow. We just need to develop necessary legal regulations and sign a corresponding decree,” the head of state said.
According to the president, he receives information that the introduction of biometric passports will give an impetus to the development of electronic services, facilitate certain procedures, and increase the degree of protection from fake documents. “The fact that we will promote the development of electronic services is good. But, judging by the latest events, I strongly doubt that it will make us more protected from fake documents,” the Belarusian leader said.
“Therefore, due to some reasons, I decided to discuss this matter with the participation of a wide range of interested developers of this draft decree. This decree should regulate the application of biometric documents in general, and passports in particular. I have serious doubts, and our people have doubts. You remember that, when only started talking about it, public organizations and individuals were totally against,” Aleksandr Lukashenko explained. “I had to take a time out for us to work more on this matter. And today you concluded that everything is ready. Now we will see what is ready and how our people will be protected from fake documents.”
“It is expected that this innovation will affect absolutely everybody, but Belarusians should get additional opportunities, not problems,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “We should not overlook challenges which our people and organizations might face when getting and using new document.”
The head of state deemed it necessary to take all practical and technical issues into account. “We will not create any obstacles for implementation of people's rights, will we? Will we manage to ensure the protection of their personal data? This is my primary concern,” the president said. “I don't want us to create one more problem this way. Should we introduce biometric documents promptly, from 30 April as it was suggested, or do we need more time to prepare? All issues should be thoroughly analyzed before the introduction of the new documents.”
The Interior Ministry and the Information Ministry have been authorized to coordinate the process.
Previously, representatives of the Interior Ministry informed that the ID card is a small plastic card featuring a photo and personal data of the holder. Visual information is similar to that featured in a passport – the individual's name, last name and patronymic, date of birth, citizenship, gender, number, type and validity date of the document, the card holder's signature. The other information (for example, the place of registration, information about children, marriage) is tied to the document virtually. The data can be read out with the help of a special terminal. People with an ID card will automatically obtain an electronic digital signature with a ten-year period of validity and an online personal account. The individual will have to activate the account using the ID card. This online service will provide the account history.
Using the ID card, an individual will have access to all online procedures.
An ID card is a domestic identity document. For foreign travel individuals will have to additionally obtain a biometric passport. This is a traditional passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.