Czechia to launch national digital ID in January
Digital identity is coming to Czechia. Last week, the country’s government passed an amendment that will pave the way for digital IDs starting January next year.
The amendment to the Act on the Right to Digital Services allows the eDoklady application to be used as an alternative to physical ID cards across the Central European country. This means that people will no longer have to carry the cards around, Radio Prague International reports.
“A mobile phone is enough to prove your identity,” says Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization Ivan Bartoš.
The digital ID will first be adopted by the public sector with private entities expected to join the application one year later, from January 1, 2025. The project reportedly costs 500 million Czech korunas (US$21.8 million) with around 50 million (US$2.1 million) Czech korunas expected in annual operating costs.
eDoklady (or eDocuments) is not the first app that the country proposed to solve its digital ID needs. A similar solution named the eDokladovka mobile app was proposed by the State Printing Works of Securities (STC). The project, however, folded after encountering a lack of interest from the government and issues with legislation, according to local financial news website Měšec.
The new app was developed by the Digital and Information Agency (DIA) alongside the National Agency for Communication and Information Technology. Unlike the original eDokladovka, which only displayed an image of the document, the new eDoklady application offers a solution for real electronic documents and will be compatible with the upcoming European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet.
As a smartphone-based identity verification solution, the eDoklady app is an important step towards the EUDI wallet, according to Martin Mesršmíd, director of DIA. Europe’s plan is to provide each citizen with a digital wallet containing documents such as driver’s licenses, diplomas, birth certificates and more which can be recognized in other member states of the European Union.
The new digital ID will be accepted first for central government services, with other government bodies accepting it from next July 1, and other entities required to perform identity verification accepting digital IDs from January 1, 2025.
Czech officials also played a significant role in the formulation of EU digital ID policy during the country’s turn as President of the EU Council.