Bahrain online services boost
Manama, January 6, 2011
Anyone with a valid CPR card or Smart card will soon be able to create their own online identity to access Bahrain's government services through the Internet.
From September, Bahrainis and expats can set up their own web profile to use hundreds of online services.
When they log in they will be able to do anything from paying their electricity bills and traffic fines to making appointments for pre-employment health check-ups and finding out their exam results.
These services are already available, but users currently have to re-enter their personal details to access online facilities.
However, under the new scheme only one login will be required to access a whole raft of options.
The initiative was announced yesterday by the e-Government Authority (eGA), which pledged that strict security was being put in place to protect against online identity theft.
'The whole purpose of this project is to unify e-services by providing a single authentication profile for users,' Cabinet Affairs Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa told a Press conference at the Mšvenpick Hotel yesterday.
Singapore-based firm CrimsonLogic has been awarded the BD800,000 contract to set up the service, known as National Authentication Framework (NAF), and has opened an office in Bahrain to see it through.
All information will be hosted in a government data centre managed by the Central Informatics Organisation (CIO).
'Our aim is to ensure the highest level of security,' added Shaikh Ahmed.
'The system will also offer the users any technical assistance through the national call centre.'
The government currently offers 190 services online, but that figure is expected to increase by the time the new system is launched in September. Officials hope to later roll out the scheme to include private sector services, such as those offered by banks and other financial institutions.
Registered users will have personalised pages with details of their last transactions and e-services they have used.
People will be able to sign up for the service online at www.bahrain.bh, although some facilities will only be accessible at 35 'e-kiosks' located around the country.
That is because they will require fingerprint recognition or card reader facilities, along with the username and password, to access them.
'Our plans are to gradually upgrade the existing kiosks to have fingerprint recognition and card reader facilities,' revealed eGA chief executive Mohammed Ali Al Qaed.
Those with laptops equipped with fingerprinting or card-reading facilities will be able to access all services from home.
'The project will help reduce the operating expenses of government administration by connecting all services, enabling access to them through a single electronic source,' added Al Qaed.
CrimsonLogic chief executive officer Leong Peng Kiong said the firm would provide technical support and training for eGA staff, two years of onsite and three years of offsite support.-TradeArabia News Service
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