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Estonia considers biometrics, new provider to replace SIM-card based mobile ID

Estonia considers biometrics, new provider to replace SIM-card based mobile ID

Estonia has issued a new tender to look for a new mobile identification provider to replace the current mobile ID system, which may introduce biometrics to underpin the system.

The news was reported by ERR, which also claimed Smart-ID creator SK ID Solutions and Belgian Mobile ID are to estimate the procurement.

The introduction of the new digital ID system was originally scheduled for January 2022, but the process was delayed due to the public procurement process taking longer than planned.

According to the new reported timeline, tenders are now expected to be reached during the second half of September, and the new solution operational by July 2022.

For context, the previous mobile ID tender was won by Swedbank, SEB Pank, and Telia Eesti in 2010, and has been jointly managed by the companies since.

“If we look at what the procurement was 11 years ago, we went there to get a very specific solution, technology,” Margus Arm, deputy director-general of the State Information System Agency (RIA) told ERR.

Now, RIA is looking at an improved solution that would remove the need for a SIM card, and possibly utilize biometric authentication

“Now we were looking for a new solution that would allow a mobile device to identify a person and provide a digital signature,” he added.

For context, there are currently more than 225,000 Mobile-ID users in Estonia, which has been in use in the country for over a decade.

The Smart-ID users in the country, on the other hand, are already 600,000, showcasing the solution’s effectiveness and user-friendly features.

“Companies could come out with new solutions and the state will adopt them,” Arm explained.

“The previous technology was acquired 10 years ago, at some time it is important to see what’s happening in the market and whether there are more modern, newer, second technology solutions.”

Moving forward, Arm said biometrics may be an integral part of solution-based digital ID solutions in Estonia.

“Who knows, in 10 years it will be face recognition, voice, fingerprint, or something else,” he concluded.

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