Public fails to embrace technical potential of smart ID

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 June, 2004, 12:00am

Less than a quarter of the 1.34 million smart identity cards issued since last August have come with electronic certificates, even though the government has spent more than $50 million encouraging residents to get them.

Only 310,000 people, or 23 per cent, have opted for the e-Certs, which will allow users access to a range of government services, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology John Tsang Chun-wah said in a written response to questions from legislators.

People who have the certificates on the smart cards will be able to use them as a library card, driving licence and to automatically clear immigration checkpoints.

Hong Kong Post is providing the e-Certs and associated services for free for the first year of use.

It has spent $55.2 million so far on promotions and computer and other services related to the certificates.

Mr Tsang said that by allowing people to use the e-Certs free for the first year, the government hoped to 'build up a critical mass of e-Cert users' and provide incentives for business to develop more applications and services.

But the lukewarm response so far seems to indicate that the government's strategy might not be working.