Digital identity cards will improve management of personal data
In future, everyone who wants one will be able to get a digital identity card for their smartphone alongside their traditional passport or identity card. This will make it possible to use various services both in person and online and will improve the protection of privacy. The Ministry of Finance launched a round of public consultation concerning the legislative amendments relating to the digital identity card on 21 February.
The Ministry invites comments from a wide array of stakeholders. The consultation round will be open in the Lausuntopalvelu.fi consultation service until 8 April. Comments are requested, for example, on the impacts of the legislative amendments on citizens, authorities and businesses.
“Services are increasingly being used electronically in our society, which is why we are also making identity cards digital. This is just one sign of Finland's goal to be a pioneer of digitalisation. Digital identity cards will make the day-to-day life of citizens easier in many ways and will help build a virtual Finland”, says Minister of local Government Sirpa Paatero.
Digital identity cards are useful for citizens and businesses
Digital identity cards will improve data security, flexibility and equality when proving one’s identity. A digital identity card will be available to every Finn and will not depend, for example, on service providers or customer relationships that are subject to fees. In future, people will be better able to decide what data to share when using services. For example, when proving one’s age at a shop, it would be possible to display only one’s age instead of the entire personal identity code. The issuer of a digital identity card would not be able to monitor how it is used.
Digital identity cards will also be useful for businesses. For example, opening a new customer relationship currently requires the customer to be present and to show their identity card – in future, this could be done completely digitally. Digital identity cards will also make service situations easier for businesses. A digital identity card will make identifying a customer faster and reduce the chance of errors, for example, when entering information on the customer into a data system.
Being issued a digital identity card will require a passport or an identity card
The police will issue a digital identity card to persons with a Finnish passport or identity card. Digital identity cards will work as a mobile smartphone application. There will be no age limit for being issued a digital identity card, and children under 15 years of age will be able to get one with the consent of their parent or guardian. Digital identity cards will be voluntary, and conventional identity cards will continue to work as normal.
People who do not want to use the mobile application required for a digital identity card will be able to use an identification token designed for public services. The token will make it possible to identify oneself in electronic services provided by the authorities. Identity tokens will be issued by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
It will also be possible to issue digital service tokens to foreign nationals, which will make it easier for them to prove their identity when using electronic services. This would require an official travel document issued by a foreign authority. Digital service tokens will be issued by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
Digital identity cards can later be expanded into EU digital wallets
Digital identity cards can later be incorporated into the European digital wallet application required by the EU's recent legislative proposal. According to the proposal, each EU Member State should adopt a wallet application usable in the entire EU in 2024. In addition to identity cards, these wallets could include other information, such as driving licences.
“The preparations currently under way put Finland in an excellent position to have a say in what the European solution will be like. The work being done on digital identity cards will not be wasted and is not in conflict with EU preparations”, Minister Paatero says.
The preparation of digital identity cards is part of the Government Programme, which seeks to strengthen Finland's position as a leader in digitalisation and technology and develop functioning identification solutions. A total of EUR 20 million has been reserved in the Budget for the implementation of digital identity cards. The first digital identity cards are to be introduced in 2023. The government bill will be finalised based on feedback from the consultation round, and the Government intends to submit the bill to Parliament in autumn 2022.
Maria Nikkilä, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Information Management, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 29 553 0514, maria.nikkila(at)gov.fi
Read more about the digital identity project on the Ministry of Finance website
Questions and answers about the digital identity project (in Finnish)