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French digital ID authentication coming to smartphones with Idemia contract

French digital ID authentication coming to smartphones with Idemia contract

France is integrating its national digital ID card, the CNIe, with smartphones to allow French citizens to complete online transactions, through a collaboration with Idemia.

The Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) selected Idemia to build the authentication system, which gives CNIe-holders the option to fulfil authentication requests by holding their digital ID card to the back of their phone to facilitate an NFC connection. The related mobile app will then read and authenticate the personal data held in the card’s chip.

The smartphone-based digital ID will soon be available for authentication to hundreds of secure online services, with the system certified by the Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information (ANSSI), according to the announcement.

The updated CNIe was launched in August, and the new system will be issued with a First Level security certificate from ANSSI to comply with the EU’s eIDAS regulations for ‘substantial’ and ‘high’ assurance levels.

“As a French company, we are extremely proud to work on the national digital ID program,” comments Pierre Lelièvre, Idemia SVP for Digital ID. “The new CNIe with its highly-secure chip is a great example of combining a physical ID document with a digital ID to securely access online services.”

The French digital ID system is underpinned by the FranceConnect platform, which already has 28 million users and 900 participating service providers, Idemia says.

“Our mission is to create and offer a user-friendly means of electronic identification that facilitates and protects the online transfer of citizen identity data, so that transactions cannot be centralized or traced,” says Valérie Peneau, general government inspector and director of the France Identité Numérique program.

Idemia has also recently won contracts to provide its biometric technology to French border control forces, in partnership with Sopra Steria, and to develop the management system for its digital identity scheme, along with three partners.

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