Will the world follow Estonia with national ID cards?

National eID cards

National ID documentation has undergone a drastic transformation in the last ten years, from single identification paper documents to intelligent smart cards. These citizen ID cards, or e-IDs, are changing certain aspects of daily life, such as travel and the way we interact with state officials and government online services.

The benefits of e-ID cards are already being recognized by citizens and governments, with over 50 countries having implemented them to date. In a previous blog post, we discussed how Estonia has led the way in building a digital infrastructure for its citizens, with its e-ID and e-Government services. The Estonian e-ID card is part of the country’s public key infrastructure (PKI) which allows citizens to use secure services online.

The e-ID card works by storing digitised data about the authorised user, including their full name, gender, national identification number and a public key certificate.  The smart card contains a microprocessor for stronger document verification and to generate the ability to carry out online authentication and digital signatures. The portrait of the card holder is featured and usually their fingerprints (sometimes even an iris scan), which can be used for biometric identification and authentication. The new generation of cards also contain the best ID theft protection to guard citizens’ personal data, helping to prevent the mounting levels of identity fraud.

A single e-ID card can now offer a host of applications including the distribution of government services and social security benefits plus act as an electronic passport, driving license, voter identity document, border security credential, and identification for healthcare and welfare service distribution.

The adoption of the national identity digital cards will only increase as biometric and digital services become more sophisticated. We, as consumers, are becoming more comfortable with the use of technology and biometrics in our daily lives. In our Connected Living 2025 report, we asked 1200 young people across the world about their expectations of connected life in a decade. Most said they expected to have things like simple electronic payments and digital personal assistants and use biometrics to unlock devices. Having the convenience and security of a smart card is a natural evolution and will help to facilitate access and use of services in our lives.

What do you think? Do you see world embracing national ID cards? Let us know by tweeting to us @Gemalto, or leave a comment in the section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *