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Funding available for Finland’s self-sovereign digital ID ecosystem pilot project

Funding available for Finland’s self-sovereign digital ID ecosystem pilot project

Finnish start-up Findynet Cooperative has received a grant from the Ministry of Finance to the tune of €3 million (US$2.9 million) to carry out a pilot aimed at building a self-sovereign digital ID ecosystem as part of efforts by the country to advance its digital transformation ambitions.

The objective is to put in place a common and secure digital ID network which will give Finnish citizens more power over how they share and manage their personal data while carrying out digital transactions, according to a press release.

Once the system is in place, users will be able to share a variety of documents including certificates, digital receipts, other important files and identity credentials, in a trustworthy and data-secure manner.

The network will also allow for interoperability and seamless functioning of digital wallets developed by other digital ID service providers for individual users and business organizations, the release notes.

Findynet is a cooperative venture of nine public and private sector organizations, including Tietoevry, Nixu and Finnish Post.

Commenting after receiving the government grant, Findynet Cooperative board chair and head of digital identity at IT trust services company Tietoevry Markus Hautala says: “we are very happy to have received this government grant, which allows us to continue our long-term work with public and private sector actors and build a trust network covering all of society.”

The self-sovereign digital ID system, which will be developed thanks to a public-private partnership agreement, will be rolled out in compliance with the eIDAS regulation of the European Union, which sets out guidelines for secure and trustworthy cross-border digital services among countries of the European Union.

Data security concerns as Finland mulls digital ID card

In a related development, digital rights activists in Finland are worried that the government is planning to introduce a digital ID card, raising fears of increased surveillance and data security risks.

A draft piece of legislation on digital identity, which was approved in June by a ministerial working group, is due to be presented to Parliament this autumn, reports Yle, and its passage in to law will make it possible for Finnish citizens to prove their identity using a digital ID contained in a wallet on the phone.

The digital ID will however be complementary to the physical ID card or passport.

Yle quotes Maria Nikkilä, director of the digitalization unit at the Ministry of Finance, as saying that there are two versions of the digital ID being developed: one for Finnish citizens who already have physical IDs, and the other for aliens living in the country.

Another official, Riitta Partala,  director of digital identity at the Finnish Digital Agency has given assurances that the digital ID system will not compromise personal data, as it will operate within a self-sovereign digital ID space which will allow users the ability to choose which information to share with who, and when.

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