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Switzerland issues tender for digital ID with $200M budget

Switzerland issues tender for digital ID with $200M budget
 

Switzerland is forging ahead with its plans to establish a national digital identity with a new tender for an online identity verification provider.

The tender, published last Thursday, calls for software that will verify a person’s identity for the state-operated electronic identification credential, known as the e-ID. The product should offer liveness check, biometric face image verification and verification of Swiss ID documents.

The product must also include a software development kit (SDK) for integrating the software into the federal digital wallet as well as a component for manual verification which will be used by federal employees, the documentation notes.

The bid was opened on February 26 with companies allowed 60 days to submit their bids. The contract will be awarded in two phases, covering the evaluation of technical requirements and a performance and quality test.

The Swiss government says it’s kick-starting the tender early to get the digital identity project on track for its planned launch in 2026. The Federal Office of Police (Fedpol), the agency in charge of issuing the e-ID, has already hired a team of more than 80 people to work on its preparation.

The government has earmarked US$206.1 million for developing the project and pilots through 2028.

The digital ID project was unveiled in November 2023, when the government presented the new law proposal, titled the Federal Act on Electronic Identity Credentials and Other Electronic Credentials (BGEID), also known as the E-ID Act. Last week, the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council adopted the draft federal law while offering some modifications that could further strengthen data protection.

The e-ID project comes after Swiss residents voted against an earlier digital identity scheme out of concern over the use of data by private companies. The government has promised that the new self-sovereign ID system will be fully controlled by the government and offer high data privacy protection.

“The project developed by the Federal Council is significantly different from the federal law on electronic identification services rejected by the Swiss people during the referendum of March 7, 2021,”  the Swiss Parliament notes in a statement. “Unlike the rejected project, it provides that responsibility for the issuance of the e-ID and the operation of the necessary infrastructure are the responsibility not of private identity providers but of the Confederation.”

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