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  • Thierry Spanjaard

European Digital IDs to become interoperable

The convergence between public ID and private ID was a core topic of Government ID World, a conference part of Smart Security Week, which took place earlier this week in Marseille, France, just ahead of a major European deadline: all eIDAS-compliant digital IDs are set to become interoperable on September 29, 2018.

In our always-on, always online world, the need for stronger identification models is always more present. At the same time, individuals and organizations alike have realized the value of their identity. This has led the industry to develop gateways between private entity needs of digital ID and the requirements and constraints of government ID.

Europe is rich with digital ID projects. While most of these projects have been launched taking EU regulations such as eIDAS and GDPR into account, each national government has different sets of values and is sensitive to different issues. For instance, the Estonian government sees using a single identifier for each citizen as a means to deliver better citizen services while the French government and CNIL (Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés – the local privacy rights supervisory authority) is strongly against indexing any database with the national ID number.

This situation has led to the development of numerous digital ID projects in all European Member States.

In Belgium, itsme, which belongs to a consortium of major financial institutions and mobile network operators, provides a single digital ID that allows to access services delivered by both government bodies and private entities. Itsme provides an easy onboarding of new clients, replaces KYC procedures, allows a single login for all apps, and brings to the user an easy and fast signing of documents.

Meanwhile in Estonia, every citizen can provide digital signatures using their ID-card, Mobile-ID or Smart-ID, so they can safely identify themselves and use e-services. The Estonian government is proud to announce 98% of Estonians have ID-cards. After the population is covered, the next step is to go for Smart-ID, a mobile application developed by SK ID Solutions that works as an identification solution allowing to log in to financial sector e-services and confirm transactions and agreements. Smart-ID can be used on smartphones and tablets, and just needs a mobile connection. The Smart-ID enrolment process builds upon the national identity framework provided by the government. The service is available across the Baltic states and is now used by over 1.2 million people.

Out of Europe, in Canada, 2keys, a privately-owned company developing digital identity and cyber security platforms, has partnered with Interac, the Canadian national debit payments system, to develop what they call a Zero Liability Network which guarantees a user cannot be held responsible for his/her usage of the network. They accomplish this by putting together all fraud feeds coming from all players in the system, including governments, banks and telcos in order to build the most trusted system.

eIDAS (Electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services) includes rules for electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Union. By the end of this week, on September 29, 2018, the European Regulation 910/2014 will be in full effect. According to this regulation, European citizens must be able to log into public services in all the EU Member States with their own national eID when these eIDs are notified by the Member State and on the same level of assurance as required by the service for national users. While the principle sounds positive for all, its implementation might be difficult!

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