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Indonesian ID card will deduct fines from bank accounts

Police plan to merge data with national identity database

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Indonesians are being asked to adopt two identity cards, both of which will store their personal details in government-controlled databases, after the nation's National Police Criminal Investigation Division announce a sign-up drive for the Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (INAFIS).

Indonesians are already being forced to acquire an “E-ID” card that will use two biometrics – fingerprints and irises – to identify citizens. The E-ID project is aimed at ensuring all Indonesians – the country as a population of over 230 million – have a single identity document, a useful achievement as the nation's citizens are demanding increased government services. Yet the card is controversial for reasons beyond civil liberties, as the project to implement it kicked off in early 2011 with a finish date of late 2012, but with a goal to deliver only 67 million cards. The gap between the nation's population and the number of cards has been noted by local press as problematic.

The project has nonetheless proceeded reasonably well, but has run behind schedule.

Now the National Police Criminal Investigation Division wants citizens to adopt its INAFIS card.

Speaking to the Jakarta Post, National Police detective chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman said “The Inafis card will contain information regarding the cardholder’s name, photograph, place and date of birth, fingerprint, driving license, vehicle documents and license plate numbers,” and added “The data will be saved on a centralized computer server and will be combined with information gathered in the development of the government’s e-ID system,”

The card is being pitched as a way for citizens to interact more efficiently with Police, with Sutarman explaining it will help as “... if they become victims of a crime, we can identify them and process their case quickly.”

But the head of the INAFIS project, Brig. Gen. Bekti Suhartono, offered a rather vivid scenario for the card's operation, saying “A simple example would be when dealing with a person who has just violated a traffic rule. [With Inafis in place], the person doesn’t have to give his fine to the court. The state can automatically withdraw the amount from his or her bank account.”

INAFIS cards are not compulsory and the Police is even giving some away. We even found a Facebook page for the card. Those who really want fines to be hoovered out of their banks without intervention will pay 35,000 Indonesian Rupees (about $US3.80) for the privilege. ®

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