Insights & Analyses

UAE plans unified digital identity program, bridging SmartPass with Dubai ID

October 12, 2017

Federal and local governments will cooperate to build a new unified digital identity for citizens of United Arab Emirates, bridging gaps between the national SmartPass service with the local Dubai ID system.

The new program announced this week is a partnership between the federal government’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Smart Dubai initiative for the nation’s most populous city.

The two parties have forged a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a new unified digital identity system, according to The Gulf Today. When completed, it will integrate the federal SmartPass service into the Dubai ID service.

Smart Dubai is an initiative to make Dubai “the happiest city on earth,” mostly through technology and private partnerships with a science-based approach. One key element of Smart Dubai is convenience, which the new initiative will further by allowing for digital identification via smartphones.

Other priorities of Smart Dubai are adoption of blockchain and a focus on paperless government. This week’s announcement said the agreement would satisfy those goals, suggesting the new system will use a blockchain ledger to identify users in a secure, efficient manner.

The expanded UAE program will allow transactions, signing of contracts, and control of personal data shared with service providers, according to telecompaper.

With SmartPass, UAE citizens as well as visitors can access government services with a single sign-on.

“We are pleased with this joint project with Smart Dubai, which is an important milestone in the efforts of integration and interconnection between local and federal government entities, within a comprehensive national framework to ensure the provision of a unified government service channel for the customers,” said TRA Director-General Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori.