ATHENS – A lot of people don’t want them – believing they’re the work of the devil or have chips to track their every movement – but Greece has begun replacing clunky state identification cards with biometric versions.
The new cards are smaller, about the size of a credit card instead of the oversized version that doesn’t fit in wallets, but opponents – primarily the elderly – lined up at police stations to renew the older cards.
Those will expire in 2026 in any case and those refusing to opt for the new cards will have to accept them then anyway, no reason given why that wasn’t made mandatory as of now.
TV station SKAI said that the new cards can be obtained by going to the designation state platform www.gov.gr to make appointments at police stations. It wasn’t said if they could also be downloaded onto cell phones.
The cost to issue a card will be 10 euros ($10.54) which will be paid electronically even though the cards are picked up in person, and they will be valid for 10 years.
Government officials said there’s no access to sensitive data on them and have tried to dissuade fears that the cards will be used as a tracking device or other nefarious purposes as opponents of using them have claimed.
The new digital IDs will include identification information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and ID number. Physical cards will also contain two fingerprints, a photo, the card access number (CAN) and a mechanical identification zone, as well as information such as parent’s names, gender, blood type and height and have RFID chip technology
Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Economou earlier said the new card is being issued to upgrade security features according to regulations from the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).