Interview with Sylvie Vandevelde

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As Head of Marketing and Communication at itsme® we asked Sylvie Vandevelde about the role of itsme® in the European environment of eID.

Every Belgian citizen is provided a unique, secure identity and can use itsme®  (Belgian digital ID) for online identification. Which main functions are available in itsme® and how this distinguish with other local eID within Europe? 

 In Belgium, we have 2 EU-recognized ID means of “level of assurance high”: eID (issued by the government) and itsme®.

With itsme®, private companies and public organisations can speed up and secure their digital transformation process by using our 4 powerful services:

  1. Seamless onboarding: with itsme®, you can be 100% certain that someone really is who she/he claims to be with just 1 click.
  2. Secure login for websites, mobile apps or any other IoT device or application
  3. Confirm an order or payment without the need for a card reader
  4. Sign contracts and documents: legally binding and with the highest level of assurance.

In Europe, itsme® is unique thanks to:

  • its services: the combination of 4 services to match a customer journey (from onboarding to signing a contract and securing interaction)
  • its reach: itsme® is used by the public and private sector. The app has already been adopted by 65% of the Belgian population in only 4 years.
  • its accreditations: itsme® is recognized as ID of LoA high (eIDAS), is a Qualified Trust Service Provider (eIDAS) and has also been awarded ISO27001 certification. itsme® also follows EU guidelines to comply with PSD2, FATF, EBA and GDPR guidelines.

A good example of public-private partnership seems to be itsme® . Correct? What is the secret of this cooperation?

 In June 2017, the Belgian government had announced their willingness to collaborate with the private sector and their vision was translated in the Belgian Digital Act. One of the first projects was digital ID. In October 2017, a Royal Decree described the requirements and rules for private identities. itsme® has applied and was accredited as LoA Hgh in January 2018. In January 2021, our accreditation has been renewed for 3 years.

The secret of our good cooperation? 

  • Clear framework: the government is defining the different levels and requirements but doesn’t define the technology that need to be used.
  • Trust: we are working in close collaboration with their teams to make the life of our co-citizens easier but also to keep their online interactions secure and in line with privacy.
  • Common goal: it’s a win-win partnership in the present but also for future projects

itsme®  was only available in Belgium. But is recently expanded in The Netherlands. What is the specific reason for this ‘move’ and are the other countries to be expected?

itsme® has been built to follow EU regulations and market standards. Today, we are one of the few digital IDs in Europe offering this scope of services, reach and the level of accreditation (see above). Given the evolution on EU level with eIDAS v2 and our success in Belgium, the time was right to cross borders with our solution.

As The Netherlands is a neighboring country with a high digital maturity, we can find a lot of similarities with Belgium. On top of that, we had a lot of requests coming from the Dutch market and our partners (ea Evidos, Signicat, Connective, DocuSign, etc) for our Qualified Electronic Signature.

Adding Dutch citizens to our ecosystem is also important for the companies using itsme® already in Belgium. More than 500 companies are using itsme® for their Belgian customers.  They would like to extend this service to other nationalities so they can offer the same seamless and secure experience to all their clients.

Other countries in the future?

It’s still too early to tell, but we’ll keep you posted.

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