Editorial

Estonia rolls out national facial recognition-based Digital ID

The newly-extended service will allow Estonian citizens to renew accounts from wherever in the world, without visiting a bank branch, through a smartphone app which will scan the chip of their ID documentation using the phone’s contactless reader to prove they are the holder of that document – all in three seconds

Posted 4 March 2020 by

Estonia’s pioneering state-certified Digital Identity programme is to be bolstered by a new raft of technologies, including facial recognition biometrics, Machine Learning and cloud.

The new Smart-ID service, delivered as an app and also available in Latvia and Lithuania, is provided by SK ID Solutions, a Trust Service Provider in the EU-wide eIDAS digital identity system. The Smart-ID mobile app also uses InnoValor’s NFC-based ReadID document verification technology alongside iProov’s patented Flashmark facial verification technology.

The newly-extended service will allow Estonian citizens to renew accounts from wherever in the world, without visiting a bank branch, through a smartphone app which will scan the chip of their ID documentation using the phone’s contactless reader to prove they are the holder of that document – all in three seconds.

The system uses technology from an ID vendor called iProov, which is also used by the Home Office’s EU Settled Status app.

The company’s Founder and CEO, Andrew Bud, claimed that, “Estonia has proved, for the first time, that a remote, automated, biometric ID verification service can deliver the highest possible levels of security.

“This is a major development for all Digital Identity providers.”

The system meets the European Union’s eIDAS Digital Identity standard (to eIDAS Clause 24 1(d) level), with Bud claiming eIDAS is “probably the most demanding civil conformance standard in the world” and to which iProov is the first automated facial verification technology to be certified.

“This gives consumers and organisations the confidence to carry out transactions online and to adopt new services. This is absolutely critical to long-term economic and social development worldwide,” he added.

“Tens of thousands of people will be updating their Smart-ID accounts in the next few months,” said Kalev Pihl, CEO of SK ID Solutions. “With this new solution, those people can choose to complete the process from the comfort of their own homes or offices. The benefits to the citizen are enormous – great convenience, a simple user experience, and trust in the security of the service.”

“This new application combines the NFC capabilities of smartphones and biometric passports and identity cards to create the best user experience as well as optimal security,” added Maarten Wegdam, CEO of InnoValor.

“Using NFC, we can remotely determine the authenticity of the identity document at the trust level that is needed for qualified signatures. In addition, the high-resolution face-image from the chip enables secure facial matching.”