Initiative: National Validation Gateway
Institution: Emirates Identification Authority
Problem: The UAE adopted e-Government as a pathway towards more sustainable development, as well as a platform to help manage and direct a wider process of change to boost public confidence in government. Despite substantial economic investment, shift to e-Government initially failed to support the establishment of effective institutional linkages. The obstacles preventing the government from moving beyond a fragmented transactional reality to an integrated transformational eGovernment vision were: (i) Lack of effective methods to establish societal trust over digital networks; (ii) Lack of a clear vision and cooperation between competing government entities; and (iii) Lack of a government wide integration and interoperability framework.
Solution: By Presidential Decree, the UAE established the Emirates Identity Authority in September 2004 as an independent federal authority with a specific mandate to manage a ‘Population Register’ and issue UAE National ID Cards. It was tasked with achieving the following strategic objectives: (i) to enroll and maintain an accurate, comprehensive, and up‐to‐date population register; (ii) develop a secure and integrated infrastructure to enable data access and exchange; (iii) establish ID cards as the single trusted form of identification and source of user data; and (iv) ensure all central administrative services are efficient, transparent, timely, and high quality. The ID Card contained authentication features including sophisticated biometrics and digital certificates for authentication and e-signatures. The National Validation Gateway also enables all UAE government agencies to easily use the National ID Card to securely authenticate the identity of users through personal ID numbers and biometric data.
Impact: Between 2004 and 2012, the authority focused on registering the entire UAE population and issuing all registrants (approximately 9 million) with multi-credential ID Cards to provide a single trusted and secure identification document. The Emirates Identity Authority’s Validation Gateway offered a web component that made it simpler and easier for government and private sector service providers to validate and authenticate ID cardholders. In so doing, the Gateway ultimately made it simpler and easier for UAE citizens and residents to operate in the digital world. Additionally, the Gateway not only helped to connect back office government functions, it enhanced business processes, delivered time and cost savings, and established the basis for user-centric eGovernment. Thus, the National Validation Gateway helped give UAE businesses a global head start, make government more efficient, cost effective, and establish a trusted infrastructure for public-private sector innovation.