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The Portuguese Republic Citizen’s Card and openSUSE

March 2nd, 2011 by

My ID Card was supposed to expire in the end of the year, and I’ve decided to replace it now by new ‘Cartão do Cidadão’ (Citizen’s Card). The Citizens Card is the primary document for any Portuguese citizen and replaces or holds the data from several cards:

* Old fashioned ID Card;
* SNS Card (National Health Care System); (yes in Portugal this services are free, though 40% of the Health Care industry is already private)
* NIF Card (tax number cards);
* Drivers Licence;
* Social Security Card/Number.

Also some biometric data is being now collected into digital files and some organizations can access it. This card holds 3 PIN Codes for several purposes, and can enable a lot of features and services for the citizens and the Authorities. It’s possible now to sign digital documents with the unique key per citizen on the card and it’s going to be widely used on governmental infra-structures. For example, I can now fill my tax forms on the internet and use the card plugged to my PC through a USB card reader to digitally sign my tax forms and enter them through the internet. The data will be crossed with Social Security and Tax departments from the state, and within minutes tax forms are complete, signed and submitted.

The Police branches, either militarized or civilian also have been receiving new toys to read this cards and have full access to people’s criminal sheets, driving sanctions, etc.

When I went to pick up the card, I bought a card reader (Card costed 15€’s, and the card reader costed 16€’s) to use the card with my PC. Though I have an account man and someone to handle my tax forms from me, I do have some itches and want to explore this option. The fun thing…

* There are drivers for Linux for the Card Reader and it’s supported;
* The application to handle the card is available for Windows, Mac and Linux (including openSUSE 11 binaries);

So what openSUSE Portuguese users need to do to work with this card? Install the dependencies (on my system only required libopenssl for libcrypto) and run the bloody application. I don’t understand why this wasn’t provided as an RPM, instead a dumb tar.gz file with a very naive installer, but it works.

It’s nice that I can use openSUSE now also to fill my taxes, do my legal citizen stuff, sign digital documents with a governmental verified key and use all the mind crushing stuff they have prepared for us. It is nice that the Government hasn’t really forgotten openSUSE, as they did on other distributions (the minor ones).

Linux (and others) software and manual (in Portuguese only) download page is here.

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