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'Authorities to begin releasing smart IDs by mid-May'

By Suzanna Goussous - Apr 12,2016 - Last updated at Apr 12,2016

AMMAN — The Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD) is expected to start issuing new smart identification cards as of mid-May, a CSPD official said on Tuesday.

The source said the new cards will replace the old civil identification cards, and they will contain more information about citizens; however, certain details will only be stored on the card's electronic chip.

The smart card will include 18 fields of data, such as the name in Arabic and English, gender, place of birth, area of residence, and blood type.

The electronic chip will contain other data, such as health insurance type, driving licence, religion, social security number, fingerprint, the citizen’s electronic signature and other information “to be identified later”, the source told The Jordan Times on condition of anonymity.

Social media users had different views on the issue.

Deema Kharabsheh (@deemakharabsheh) posted on Twitter: “Removing the religion entry from the new ID card is an important step… I am a citizen regardless of my religion. You are only concerned with my responsibilities and rights.”

For Facebook user Mothanna Gharaibeh, religion is one of the primary characteristics of citizens and it is “an important element of the mindset of Jordanians”. 

“As soon as [the religion field] is removed, it will be the first question to be asked,” he continued.

Many other users said the step is “not efficient”, since Jordan is a small country and “as soon as they know your name, they classify you based on your [family] and religion”. 

Enam Al Wer said in a comment on Facebook that the decision “is in the direction we want and have been fighting for”, describing it as “a step towards social equality”.

In remarks late last year, ICT Minister Majd Shweikeh said the smart ID can be used to replace the driving licence, health insurance and social security cards.

Shweikeh added at the time that 5 million smart ID cards will be issued in 2016.

 

The first national ID cards will use fingerprint recognition technology and — later — iris scans, the minister said, describing the new cards as highly secure and impossible to forge.

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