Signicat launches online digital certificate request service as interest in wallets grows
The Norwegian digital identity firm Signicat has signed on with ISTEC, a Spanish company that provides electronic trust services for private and government entities, to launch a service that lets individuals request a qualified digital certificate through video identification.
A release says that the service is the first of its kind, and allows Spanish citizens or foreigners with a valid TIE identity card living throughout Europe to apply for a digital certificate via personal computer or a mobile device. The certificates are valid for three years. This eliminates the previously mandatory in-person trip to apply for a digital ID certificate.
Signicat will provide identity verification via video face biometrics, which are compared with the biometric pattern of a photo on an ID document. Per the release, the biometrics secure the system against identity theft or manipulation of the ID document, and ensure compliance with the requirements of Europe’s eIDAS regulation for digital identity verification.
ISTEC (Infraestructures i Serveis de Telecomunicacions i Certificació) is the qualified provider of electronic trust services to private and public entities, most notably the Generalitat Valenciana, which governs the autonomous region of Valencia in eastern Spain.
Juan Alegre, the managing director of ISTEC, says the new digital identity request service to be launched under its ACCV brand will allow “the obtaining of a personal digital certificate online from anywhere and at any time in a totally secure way with no possibility of fraud thanks to integrated and innovative technologies, such as facial recognition systems using artificial intelligence algorithms”.
Anyone who is at least 15 years old and has a valid ID card can apply for a digital certificate, which will allow holders to access digital services such as online tax management, requesting employment records, or applying for government benefits and subsidies.
“Our mission is to create technology for people to trust each other in a digital world,” says Jorge Guillamet, country manager for Spain at Signicat. “This sort of project brings us closer to that commitment.”
Wallets hold massive potential but success depends on public trust, says EU forum
A separate release from Signicat reports that enthusiasm for digital identity wallets was high at the EU Digital Identity Wallets Forum hosted in October by the Global Trust Foundation. But familiar themes emerged around the importance of trust and education in bringing wallets to the EU market.
With more than 100 European digital experts and government representatives convening in Berlin to discuss the EU Wallets initiative, focus was on exchanging insights from the launch of the four EU Large-Scale Pilots or LSPs (DC4EU, Nobid, EWC and Potential).
Calling EU Wallets “undoubtedly one of the most important initiatives that is being developed both at European and global levels,” “unequivocally regarded as a pivotal initiative with global implications,” forum participants acknowledge in their conclusions the regulatory, technical and social challenges that come with it.
“EU Wallets offer lots of opportunities for governments, companies, and citizens across Europe,” says Jon Shamah, co-founder of Global Trust Foundation. “So far, solid work has been done but there are still many steps to take to see this work materialized.
The forthcoming implementation of eIDAS 2.0 regulations will change the shape of the biometrics and wallet markets. Public education about the potential benefits of wallets remains crucial in establishing the trust necessary for widespread uptake. According to the 2022 Standard Eurobarometer, not quite half of Europeans trust the EU in its role as a protective institution.
Esther Makaay, eID expert at Signicat, says a key takeaway is the importance of the business case for digital ID wallets. “With an ecosystem that needs private sector services, we cannot neglect this element,” she says. The increasing prevalence of wallets and other biometric systems for access in stadiums and airports suggests the need for a broad perspective that aims for a balance of convenience and security, with the minimum necessary data shared per case.