The 2012/02/03 at 10:25
Holder of an engineering degree from the ENSAM and business administration qualifications from the IAE of Aix-en-Provence, Jacques Seneca started his career at STMicroelectronics before joining Gemplus in 1989 where he held a number of management positions. Before being appointed to his current position, he was President of Gemalto Europe and was also in charge of the Identity and Security and Development units.
Commerce International: Why are more and more States implementing electronic identity document systems?
Jacques Seneca: “Let’s remember first of all that the right to identify citizens and the duty to protect their identities stem fall right within the State domain. Today, State security relies on diminishing document fraud. As fraud methods have significantly increased, the addition of electronic security components and their associated software substantially reinforce these documents. The modernisation of identity and travel documents, driver’s licences, as well as documents from the health and social domains enables States to guarantee citizens the protection of their personal data and the confidentiality of their exchanges, to set up a poolable platform for document creation and services for all administrative bodies, and to conform with international standards for identity and travel documents in particular. Finally, this updating lays the foundations of a modern digital economy.”
Why is it in the interests of new democracies in particular to introduce electronic identity documents?
J. S.: “When it is a matter of constructing a democracy – starting with the validation of national identity for each citizen –, acting in favour of national reconciliation, ensuring greater transparency and fighting corruption, then the modernisation of national documents no doubt brings a contribution to the edifice, for it is true that these new secure documents will enable the State to guarantee its security and allow citizens to better exercise their rights and duties. For States, having a solid national database of all citizens is also a major starting point, permitting them to guarantee the legitimacy of election results that are decisive for the future.”
How has Gemalto intervened in Libya, and for what reasons?
J. S.: “Gemalto wished to get involved from the first moments of reconstruction. This is a matter of commitment alongside a population that has undergone a state of war, to reconstruct the country as quickly as possible and to ensure the restarting of the economy. In the domain of identity management, and in particular, the issue of secure national documents and their infrastructures (national registry records, citizen registry, document issue), systems are at a standstill. Much equipment has been stolen and databases have no doubt been affected. The need to issue new identity and travel documents is therefore a major project and a priority for Libya. It is indispensable, chiefly to ensure national cohesion, reconstruction, protection against terrorist infiltration or identity fraud, and to ensure a fair and balanced democratic life. In this context of reconstruction, Gemalto is placing its expertise and experience at the service of the Libyan State and its citizens.”
Do you have other examples of a recent intervention?
J. S.: “In Benin, a country with more than 8 million inhabitants, we participated at the start of the year in the electronic registration of the biometric data of the population for the presidential elections in March. Urgency was the specificity of this project! These elections have been cited as a model by many observers, namely thanks to the simplicity and reliability of the chain for citizen registration up to the transfer of data to the central registry. Another example is Turkey where we had to take over from a competitor and provide a solution for personalising the country’s new electronic passports in a matter of weeks. These successful experiences have strengthened the presence of Gemalto in the Mediterranean zone and Africa, where several governmental programmes have already been deployed, namely in Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.”