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Saudi official denies ID cards tracks people’s movements - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Al Baha, Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat –Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry Undersecretary for Civil Affairs, Major General Abdulrahman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Fada strongly denied that the new National ID card contained a microchip to track the movements of Saudi citizens. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, he asserted that this microchip records and stores information in the same manner as credit cards. He revealed that Saudi citizens will be able to use the new National ID cards – and the electronic information they contain –in future transactions, in the government and private sectors. He also stressed that the date contained on these cards would only be utilized with the consent of the cardholder.

Major General Al-Fada said “the information contained in the microchip is secure and protects the ID card from being used by others” adding “this [National ID card scheme] is based upon the agreement of Assistant Interior Minister for Security Affairs, Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, and relies upon a technical electronic program with related administrations.”

The Saudi Interior Ministry Undersecretary for Civil Affairs also revealed that “the procedures being carried out by the Civil Affairs department and the National Information Center have been completed, and a committee has been established to activate the application, in order to grant the Ministry of Commerce the power – as the largest apparatus requesting information from citizens – to access the information contained in the ID cards.”

He added “coordination is currently underway with a number of related government authorities to activate data acquisition in this regard, without the concerned authority needing to refer back to the Civil Affairs department. This would allow data acquisition on the part of the General Organization for Social Insurance [GOSI] and the Deputyship of Social Security. In addition to this, the Ministry of Justice, with regards to things like marriage and divorce, as well as the Ministry of Health with regards to births, will be allowed to provide electronic services [using the new ID cards].”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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