eID-are we really making progress?

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Door Eefje van der Harst, AB member and manager at INNOPAY

At the annual Euroforum e-Identity congress, in Breukelen on February 12, more than 100 professionals gathered to discuss the future of e-Identity. The programme was filled with a nice mixture of both new and familiar faces and a variety of conceptual, visionary and more practical stories; together this created a well-rounded view on the state of play of e-Identity in the Netherlands and beyond.

The guardian of our source identity, RvIG, kicked-off the day. Among other things, they are experimenting with virtual identities that will become the digital equivalent of our passports. If this would indeed develop from an experiment into a mature solution, it would enable all sorts of new opportunities to lower the cost of KYC processes and smoothen the traveller experience in the aviation industry. Let’s hope the lawmakers can keep up the pace, and that the private sector can also benefit from these innovations. NS Bike Innovationlab showed how they are developing new services to optimise their door-to-door customer experience by using as little identity data as possible; an interesting challenge! How can you stay relevant on the basis of non-personal IDs? The invisible man Tey Erlrjula (founder of Tykn ) shared his personal quest of how to develop from a refugee without any identity to having one’s own digital identity.

Representatives of solutions such as iDIN, IRMA and Schluss also took centre stage. These are all sympathetic initiatives that have been around the block for a while and that are all still looking for ways to accelerate their adoption. The panel discussion made clear that the panellists all want the individual to be in control over what identity data is shared with whom and under what conditions, but they did differ in their views on the best way forward. In the afternoon, the programme continued with more in-depth discussion on topics such as identity fraud, authorization and public values of identity and some practical use cases.

So what’s next in the eID sphere

If I would summarise the outcomes of the day? Not sure, to be honest. As a frequent visitor of eID events, I’m finding it hard to tell if we are really making progress here. For years, we have heard people talk about the ’the speed of change that is higher than ever’, but for some reason that does not seem to apply to the eID domain… In practice, interoperable eIDs that can be used across domains are still not widespread. Not one ecosystem or eID-solution has found the sweet-spot that balances reach, levels of assurance and costs. For years, we have been ‘discussing’ the ‘Wet Digitale Overheid’ (Digital Government Act) as a holy grail to solve a big chunk of the eID jigsaw, but urgency and vision was lacking. Up until a few weeks ago someone raised questions about SMEs needing to pay for eHerkenning to do their tax declaration.

Everyone is calling for collaboration and standardisation –at the Euroforum e-Identity event, too. Why is it, that these questions always seem to be addressed to the other? Who is taking the first step? Or are we waiting for the Big Techs to take over? Only time will tell.

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