In an interview, Célio Ribeiro, director-president of the International Identification Institute (InterID), executive president of the Brazilian Association of Digital Identification Technology Companies (Abrid) and executive secretary of the Mixed Parliamentary Front to Guarantee the Right to Identity (FrenID ), explores crucial issues related to the implementation of the National Identity Card (CIN) in Brazil. Ribeiro brought important views on the deadline established for the full implementation of the CIN, the need for a coordinating structure in the federal government, the relevance of the new document in the fight against fraud and its fundamental role in identifying children from birth. Read this interview to better understand the challenges and benefits of this essential initiative for Brazilian society.
The Decree that establishes the issuance of the new National Identity Card stipulates that states must begin issuing the new model by November 6th. We are rapidly approaching that date, and the question arises as to whether this will actually come to fruition. What is the real expectation?
It is important to highlight that the decree was adjusted for this specific date, in order to allow states to adapt to the new document standard. At this time, the emphasis should not only be on the date, but on the need for all units of the federation to adapt and follow the established procedures. The federal government is also prepared to support this process, ensuring that it occurs in the best way possible. It is worth mentioning that we are dealing with a new system, which makes it essential to have an effective structure to organize and manage the entire process. As for the date itself, in my opinion, it should be aligned with the date on which the use of the CPF as a unique identity number becomes mandatory, as established by the law enacted in 2023 (law 14534/23), therefore on the 11th /01/2024. Therefore, I believe there is enough time to resolve all issues, structure the processes and ensure that the transition occurs properly. It is important to highlight that the date of January 11, 2024 is a legal deadline and, as such, must be strictly adhered to. All federation units had an adequate period to adapt, and the federal government also had the opportunity to complete its preparation, which is already underway. Therefore, I believe this date is appropriate to ensure that the transition occurs definitively and successfully.
Do you believe that the date of November 6th will be changed?
Yes, I believe this is the best approach, considering the need for adaptation by states. I believe that this should, in fact, be the last opportunity, since enough time has already been given for the steps to be completed. Unfortunately, not all states were able to do so within the deadline, and the federal government is also currently in the process of structuring, creating a professional and adequate basis to specifically address the issue of identification. Therefore, I believe that postponing the date to January 11th will not harm implementation progress; on the contrary, it will ensure that everyone involved is fully prepared to begin this project. However, it is crucial to highlight that we cannot allow failures between now and then, since the law is clear: from 01/11/2024, it will be mandatory to issue the new document, with the CPF as the ID number.
You mention the need for a structure within the federal government. What exactly do you mean by that?
I consider it essential to create a body dedicated exclusively to the management of civil identity. We cannot approach this issue in an amateur way. It is essential to follow the example of many countries around the world that have secure and modern identification systems, all with structures dedicated to this purpose. Therefore, what we defend is the urgent need to establish this structure. It is encouraging to note that the federal government is already aware of this need and is working to implement it. It is crucial to highlight that there is a high-level commitment from the federal government, including the Presidency of the Republic and the Civil House, which are leading this effort, together with the Ministry of Management and Innovation. Furthermore, it is important to mention that other ministries, such as the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, as well as the Ministry of Finance, which houses the Federal Revenue, are aligned with the needs of this project. More than ever, we emphasize the importance of the structure to be created being organized efficiently to ensure the success of this venture.
Is the structure already being implemented by the federal government? Are they taking steps to do so?
Without a doubt, the federal government recognizes the importance of this project. It is a priority both in terms of identification and security. The need for this step has already been fully assessed, and the federal government, through the Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of Management and Innovation, is already adopting the necessary measures so that we will soon have this long-awaited structure available. This will play a key role in the success of the project.
Could you give us more details about what this structure will look like? What type of body or institution are we considering here?
What we are looking for is a structure dedicated exclusively to the identification area in the system. The essence of what we want is for a specialized body or institution to be established, with a technical focus and without interference from other types of management. It is extremely important that the leadership of this structure is occupied by someone with solid technical knowledge in the field of identification. This is essential, as we cannot allow people who do not fully understand the subject to be involved or make crucial decisions. We are committed to making this project a reality and recognize the need to have qualified professionals in the right places. This is the most critical aspect – having a structure with qualified specialists to carry out the project successfully.
What is the current position of the federation units and official identification bodies?
From the beginning, the federation units have shown full support for this project and are working within their capabilities. It is important to note that not everything always goes according to plan. Some units took longer to adapt, but recognize the need to comply with established guidelines. They committed to being fully compliant by the January date, including requesting an extension of the deadline to January 11, in order to ensure that everyone is prepared to begin the process. Furthermore, it is crucial to highlight the fundamental role played by state institutes and, especially, by CONADI (National Council of Directors of Civil and Criminal Identification Bodies), which represents the directors of identification agencies. They are offering ongoing support and are eager to see the project move forward as quickly as possible.
As you mentioned, it’s undeniable that we’ve been waiting for this for a long time. There have been several years of dedication to this cause, and now, do you believe that we will finally see this project come to fruition?
I have always defended that this project is fundamental for the country, and I now reaffirm its relevance and urgency for implementation. It is crucial to understand that this is a project that transcends political issues; it is, in fact, a State project. This is evidenced by the fact that, government after government, we have engaged, sharing our vision and collaborating to highlight its importance. The project continues to advance, although there are variations in its pace, depending on the understanding of the parties involved. However, the current government fully recognizes the importance of this project. President Lula, personally, has been a great supporter and defender of this initiative. It is worth mentioning that I had the opportunity to deliver the country’s first modern identity card to President Lula on 12/30/2010, which he still has to this day. Therefore, our National Identity Card is an improvement and a continuation of this ongoing work, each stage of which is marked by its relevance. Therefore, I am convinced that this project will finally come to fruition. The country deserves and needs this.
You frequently mention the concept of citizenship. Would it be possible to explain in more detail as the identity card is often associated with security?
The identity card, as a document, is just an integral part of a much larger identification system. Identity is a fundamental right, and citizenship is intrinsically linked to it. It is imperative that we eliminate the barriers that prevent people from accessing their identity, from obtaining their documents. Furthermore, it is essential to establish a comprehensive social platform that accompanies each individual throughout their life, allowing the State to meet their needs and maintain a close relationship with each citizen. The implementation of this project, this broad identification system, is what will provide full citizenship to each individual, enabling a solid relationship with the State and private entities. It is an initiative that aims to ensure that everyone has equal access to rights and services, promoting a fairer and more inclusive society.
How do you assess the issue of neonatal identification and child registration?
Neonatal identification is an essential component of this comprehensive project. It is fundamental and imperative that, from the moment of birth, children are properly identified and that there is a record that links them, especially with their mothers. We can no longer tolerate cases of child abduction, which occur with sad frequency and are motivated by various purposes, including organ trafficking. These incidents persist due to the absence of proper identification from birth. Therefore, it is extremely important to address this issue and eradicate cases of abduction of minors as much as possible. The identification system already provides for the implementation of measures that involve biometrization in the context of the newborn and the relationship with their parents, especially their mothers. This approach is essential to ensuring the safety and well-being of children from the beginning of their lives.
And regarding fraud issues, how do you see identification contributing to solving this problem?
Accurate identification will play a key role in combating various types of fraud, many of which originate from inadequate or false identification of people. The CIN identification system incorporates people’s biometrization, which results in their individualization. This will give us certainty that the person in question is really who they say they are. Consequently, various types of fraud will be drastically reduced. We will be able to eliminate the billionaire diversion of resources in Social Security, fictitious accounts, stop the use of “oranges” in financial transactions, and end the practice of individuals who have multiple electoral registrations, work cards, or benefit from social programs in a undue. With proper identification, these frauds will become much less frequent, contributing to a fairer and more transparent society.
What about the new identity document, the National Identity Card (CIN), is it really a secure and modern document, both in physical and digital format?
Yes, the document is highly modern and secure. Now, for the first time in Brazil, we will have a physical document with a single standard, issued by all units of the federation with a national number, which is a tremendous advance. This is crucial to improving security. As for the digital document, it is derived from the physical document, which guarantees its security and authenticity. It is a digital document based on the issuance of a physical document, which is a significant difference. The digital document will be available and accessible through the platforms of the federation units and also the federal government. This will undoubtedly provide great benefits to individuals by making the identification process safer and more accessible.
To conclude, what is the message you want to convey?
My message is one of complete satisfaction in realizing the significant support and serious and correct commitment of the federal government in this process. We are contributing in the best possible way, representing civil society and collaborating with the federation units to ensure that this project becomes a reality. Therefore, this is a moment of great happiness to see how this State project received total support, both from the federal government and the federative units. We are on the path to establishing a secure and modern identification system in our country. For my part, I express my gratitude to all the institutions involved for allowing me to participate and collaborate with what, without a doubt, is the biggest citizenship project in Brazil. Because, as I always emphasize, the CIN is our main instrument of citizenship.