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Steps forward for Belgium, Estonia digital IDs as adoption grows in Nordics

Steps forward for Belgium, Estonia digital IDs as adoption grows in Nordics

European national digital identity projects are advancing across Belgium, Estonia and the Nordics.

Belgian digital identity app Itsme has been accredited by the country’s federal government for another three years, allowing it to be used for login into Belgum’s public services platform, the Federal Authentication Service (FAS), according to Brussel Times.

Itsme has seven million registered users in Belgium – more than 80 percent of the country’s adult population, according to the company’s data. The company was founded in 2017 and owned by Belgian Mobile ID, a consortium of local telecom companies and banks. In 2023, it recorded a profit of 1.6 million euros (US$1.7 million).

Itsme received a competitor this year on the Belgian market: Estonian Smart-ID mobile. The platform has been working on expanding its use cases from accessing financial and government services to voting.

Estonia’s parliament passed legislation to improve the country’s electronic voting system, allowing voters to use the Smart-ID app to identify themselves when casting their vote. The legislation will also allow the use of smartphones and tablets to vote, the country’s public broadcaster ERR reports.

Albania moving towards its digital ID

Albania’s digital ID project is making progress. The Albanian government is currently mulling a law on electronic identity cards which has been submitted for public consultation.

The Ministry of the Interior has recently clarified that having a digital identity will not current will not invalidate a physical notification letter, according to Euronews.

“The notification can be in electronic or digital form. In any case, citizens can choose to be provided with one of the forms of ID, or they can be provided simultaneously with ID in both forms, electronic and digital,” the Ministry says.

Nordic countries continue digital ID adoption

Around 9000 users of Sweden’s most popular digital identity BankID experienced issues with the app last Friday. The technical issues were fixed after 40 minutes, according to Swedish news outlet The Local.

Despite these hurdles, digital IDs in countries such as Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland continue their spread among the population. A new report from Norwegian digital identification company Signicat gave an overview of digital IDs in the region, including those issued by banks, governments and telcos.

The company attributes the high success rates of digital IDs in the Nordic region to four factors: Governments’ push to digitize, existing unique national identification numbers for citizens, the cooperation between the financial sectors and the public authorities and finally – a high level of trust between people and authorities.

The report outlines the challenges each country is facing in implementing digital ID and notes that national eIDs are still not accepted across the region.

This post was updated at 12:03pm Eastern on May 21, 2024 to revise the number of registered itsme users in Belgium.

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