Belgium scores a world first by being the first country in the world which started issuing electronic ID Cards.
The Belgian Council of Ministers decided in July 2001 to introduce an electronic identity, to be issued to every Belgian citizen over the age of 12. Data should be printed on the card as well as integrated electronically on a chip.
The eID-card (Belpic) is being deployed since the second half of 2003, and at the time of writing nearly 2.5 million cards have been issued.
The eID is based on PKI technology, and incorporates two certificates: one for authentication, and one for electronic signatures. Each private key is dependent on the use of a PIN-code. Each card is issued at the level of the municipalities (which function in this regard as registration authorities), and has a validity of 5 years.