The Ministry of Interior will assign every Cambodian a 10-digit identification code starting in 2019 that can be used to access any public or private services, according to an announcement made on Thursday by Interior Minister Sar Kheng.
The new codes will be assigned to every citizen at birth and will be different from the existing Khmer Identity Cards, which are issued once an individual reaches the age of 15, said Brok Mai Oudom, deputy chief of the ministry’s identification department.
“People can use the code to ask for any service and it will be quick and easy. They don’t have to carry many documents because it will already be in the system,” he said.
Mai Oudom added that citizens will have to provide information that is normally used for birth certificates name, address and parent’s names and stored on a central server. State media outlet AKP reported the project will cost about $50 million.
Private companies will also be able to access the server for background checks, with Mai Oudom saying only the relevant data will be revealed based on the request.
Asked if the system would be secure from cyberattacks and if authorities would refrain from using it for surveillance, the identification department’s head, Mao Chandara, said the government’s hands would be effectively tied if it cancelled programs any time such concerns were aired.
“You don’t ask to encourage us to get success, but to discourage us,” he said.