Global switch from national ID documents to eIDs


HID Global has identified some key trends that are likely to influence government identity programs over the next five years, including the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags for secure identification.

The main drivers behind these trends include the shift from traditional national identity documents to electronic identity cards, or eIDs, and the growing need to defend against counterfeiting and tampering attempts while assuring privacy, efficiency and ease of authentication.

By 2015, 85 percent of all credentials issued annually will be eIDs, and countries issuing eIDs will exceed those still using traditional IDs by four to one, according to a recent report by Acuity Market Intelligence. These statistics underscore HID Global’s own findings based on over 20 years’ experience in major government-to-citizen ID projects, including 28 e-passport and 49 eID programs that range from national, foreign resident and worker ID to health care and vehicle registration programs.

As the industry moves to near-universal eID adoption, providers and partners will need to provide effective defenses against large-scale forgery attempts and adopt a holistic approach to projects, according to Craig Sandness, vice president of sales at HID Global Government ID Solutions.

“The multi-functional credential is becoming the norm, which means that counterfeit and fraud prevention, end-to-end implementation and integration expertise are now at the forefront of government ID requirements,” says Sandness.

HID Global is experiencing accelerated demand for highly secure and layered, hybrid solutions such as the German National Identity card and the multi-tasking Carabinieri card used by Italy’s national police force. These solutions perform multiple tasks including access control, proof of identity, health care and tax ID, and government fee payments. Multi-functional credentials also leverage a combination of different technologies including contact or contactless chips, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, biometrics and optically variable devices to deliver the requisite levels of functionality and security.

“Meeting the needs of national ID program decision-makers is more challenging than ever before,” Sandness says. “No two programs are alike.”

The next five years will see a new focus on industry best practices, as exemplified by programs such as the award-winning next-generation US government Permanent Resident Cards, also known as “green cards.” A hybrid card featuring RFID tags, optical security media and highly secure issuance and authentication systems, its digital security has never been compromised.

For more information, visit