In the early 2000s, the growing level of counterfeiting and fraud against the paper-based ID booklet used by Saudi Arabian citizens was diminishing confidence in the authenticity of the document. The use of false documents and ID theft subjected the nation to increased security concerns at a time when the population was becoming increasingly mobile, global insecurity was on the rise, and the workload of police, immigration and customs was mounting.
Need for totally counterfeit-resistant document
The need for one legal identity per person and reliable identification extended beyond border control to government agencies and third party service providers such as banks. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to e-government services also required reliable authentication of individuals’ identities online.
The new ID system had to enhance security for citizens, residents and visitors, match individuals to their biometrics, safeguard personal data, and be predisposed for interoperability with countries in the region. That meant deploying the most counterfeit-resistant document possible, with secure portable data storage and transactional capabilities. The combination was required to prevent fraudulent alteration, withstand ten years of use and be compatible with an all-in-one infrastructure for the provision of e-government services.
Multi-purpose credentials and card issuance support
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia selected HID Global’s ID credential, based on the company’s LaserCard® optical media, whose digital security has never been compromised in any programme in the world. The card delivers both the highest levels of document security and secure access to Government services. In 2004, HID Global was also selected to manage the implementation of a new distributed card issuance system in 20 cities for the first phase of the programme.
HID Global authored the card management and personalisation software, designed, integrated and installed approximately 60 personalisation systems, trained the operators and provided ongoing operational support. The system was installed on time and met all the client’s certification requirements.
Meeting today’s security imperatives
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s national ID card contains state-of-the-art high resolution and multi-colour security offset printing, including covert features and special links. In addition, the card features two machine-readable technologies: optical security media and an IC chip.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s national ID card contains state-of-the-art high resolution and multi-colour security offset printing
- Optical Media: The optical media stores a high-resolution colour portrait of the cardholder, his/her demographics, and a fingerprint template for automatic identity verification. The stored data is completely tamper-proof. The optical media incorporates layered eye-visible authentication and security features to support reliable visual document examination.
- Contact Chip: The IC chip uses Multos to manage a PIN application, Public Key Infrastructure transactions, and stored demographic data.
Features for today’s reality
- Counterfeit Resistance: The optical media data recording process is physically irreversible. Additional safeguards are created by the tamperproof “Personalized Embedded Hologram.” In combination, these features eliminate any realistic counterfeiting attempts.
- High Data Capacity: The 2.86 megabyte optical stripe has more than adequate capacity to hold all required demographic and biometric information, and can be updated as needed.
- Durability: The laminated construction meets stringent durability requirements, as certified by an independent laboratory, supporting a ten-year lifetime for the card.
- Low Cost Solution: The combination of advanced technology, durability of construction, data capacity, and application flexibility deliver maximum return on investment.
- Speed of Use: In just a few seconds, all card information can be read. This includes demographic data, colour photograph, and fingerprint files.
- Updateable: New biometrics or personal data can securely be added by authorised personnel to help prevent obsolescence and fraud.
The realities of inspection
For any ID card to be effective, it must be usable in a variety of situations, including those where electronic readers are not available. Optical security media enables authorities and inspection agents in Saudi Arabia to make a confident judgment about card authenticity and visual identification of the cardholder when ID documents are inspected by the human eye, which still occurs the majority of the time.
Reliable visual document examination
- Optical media incorporates features to support examiner authentication
- Unique optical characteristics
- Tier I, II, III micro imaged security features resolved at 12,000 dpi
- Personalised optical variable device
- A tamper-proof high definition, high-contrast, high resolution facial image of the legitimate cardholder irreversibly laser-etched into the optical media