Estonia’s search for new mobile digital ID solution provider still on
Efforts by the Estonian government to contract a digital identity solutions provider for the country’s updated mobile digital ID are yet to yield any fruits as the tenure of the current contractor continues to wind down, reports ERR News.
Estonia issued a tender in this regard last year to replace the country’s current Smart-ID system, but since then, the State Information System Board (RIA) — the government body in charge of choosing the new provider – admits a number of stumbling blocks have stood in its way.
According to RIA, the objective of the new mobile digital ID system is to enable Estonians to access more services from both the state and private sectors, as well as provide digital signatures.
The report mentions that so far, there has been technology supplier interest expressed only by Belgian Mobile ID, but that bid did not address several criteria set by Estonia.
As the contract of the current provider SK ID Solutions comes to an end on June 30 this year, 251,668 Mobile-IDs are said to have been issued to Estonians, and the mobile digital IDs of consumers will remain valid for the next five years from July 1, the report mentions.
Explaining the issue, Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) manager of the identity and status bureau, Margit Ratnik, said: “As of today, the situation will change from July 1 (for those) who don’t have a valid Mobile-ID contract at the time because they are not able to apply for a new one. Who (ever) has (a) Mobile-ID or is able to renew it before July 1, the contract will be valid for five years.”
Meanwhile, speaking on why the incumbent did not participate in the new tender, SK ID Solutions company manager Kalev Pihl was quoted as saying the technical prescriptions appeared unreasonable. Pihl also decried the fact that there are conditions that make signing up for the Mobile-ID more complicated than the Smart ID platform, which it also developed, which currently has some 610,000 subscribers, more than twice as many as Mobile-ID.
“This plan of going forward in a new direction in July has been in the works for some time, we have worked on it for a few months. We have a plan to continue the service. It would be nice to involve the Republic of Estonia in some manner, but it is not a priority for us. We want to continue the service for our clients, but our current plan is to not extend our contract with the state,” Pihl told ERR News.
RIA says there is a working group in place that is pursuing the search for a new solution provider.
“The goal is to have a national electronic device next to the ID card, which acts as an identity document. As things are still in their initial stage, it’s too early to say in which direction it is going. It’s hard to say what the final solution will be. In terms of timing, we may be smarter in a month,” RIA communication manager Helen Uldrich explained to ERR News.