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Morocco issues biometric ID cards

The country's national security service says the contactless smart cards, required for all citizens over 18, will be used to fight terrorism. Artists are issued an additional professional card.


Morocco's national security service has begun issuing millions of "contactless," biometric identification smart cards to simultaneously fight terrorism and guarantee respect for "citizens' rights and liberty," according to that North African government.

Moroccan citizens over 18 years old are required to carry the new ID, but on the upside; the card conveniently supplants birth certificates, certificate of residence, certificate of life, and certificate of nationality in "all procedures for which these documents must be provided."

Artists, however, will continue to be issued a professional ID card by the Ministry of Culture.

The smart cards hold personal details and biometric data, and can be used as travel documents, as well as a way for the government to "control migration flows." Naturally, no one besides the cardholder and authorized government entities will have access to the personal data in the bar code and on the microchip.

French aerospace giant Thales provided the system, which included the security software, document production equipment, and the "connectivity with the Automated Fingerprint Identification System which acquires digital fingerprints."

This is the world's first national ID system based on contactless smart-card technology, according to the press release. The Direction Generale de la Securite Nationale (DGSN) has issued at least a million cards to date and plans to distribute 20 million more over the next four years.

The ID cards for artists, meanwhile, afford them a "more structured environment" in which to work and ensure "conditions necessary to promote creativity," according to the Ministry. There also are unspecified "social benefits."