Five companies are competing for the approximately US$300 million project
Nearly a year after bidding opened for a multi-million dollar project that would improve Chile’s identity cards with the use of better technology and the creation of Bicentennial passports, the government said it expects the project to begin in the coming weeks.
Civil Registry Director Christian Behm said the bidding process has taken longer than anticipated but should be ready to begin by mid-June. Once the project is awarded, new identity cards and passports will be tested in 2011, Behm said.
Of the seven companies originally competing for the job, five are still in the process, including SICE Agencia Chile, Sonda (which has the current contract for identity cards and passports), Bundesdruckerei GMBH, Sagem Securite and Indra Sistemas Chile.
Siemens and Coasin Chile initially submitted bids for the project, but did not meet the requirements of the tender.
One of the main innovations of the new ID card is a chip that will store personal information such as fingerprints and basic information to more easily detect fraud or identity theft.
The security of the new cards is one of the main objectives of the change, Behm said, adding that this technology would also be beneficial in disaster situations, such as the February 27 earthquake.
“If this technology had been in place five years or more before the earthquake it would have been much quicker to identify people,” he said.