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National digital identity is ‘extremely urgent,’ says Swedish government inquiry

National digital identity is ‘extremely urgent,’ says Swedish government inquiry

A Swedish government inquiry into the digitalization of payments issued a report, recommending that the state launches its own digital identity as soon as possible.

The report argues that digitalization has raised questions about privacy, secure identification and processing of personal data, as well as public confidence in payments and the financial system. These issues have been further highlighted by the war in Ukraine. A national electronic ID would provide the highest level of assurance and security without the need for companies to conduct comprehensive identification, according to the report.

“The Inquiry is of the opinion that primary identification of citizens and residents is a central government responsibility,” says the report. “In view of this, the Inquiry assesses that it is extremely urgent that a national e-id be introduced with the highest level of security as soon as possible.”

The state should also play a greater role in securing and boosting access to digital payments, the report concludes.

The inquiry was launched by the Swedish government in December 2020 with a task to review the state’s role in the payment market. The conclusions of the inquiry were delivered last Friday by Chief Investigator Anna Kinberg Batra.

Batra has previously argued that a few banks and companies control “socially important information.” Sweden is one of only four EU states, alongside Cyprus, Greece, and Romania, which lacks a state-issued digital ID. Currently, Sweden widely uses BankID, Freja and Svenska Pass for verifying digital identity.

In December 2022, the country formed an inquiry into developing a government-issued digital ID with results set to be published in May 2024.

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