Five questions to understand the future of digital identification

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French citizens will soon be able to use the public digital identification service to authenticate and perform dematerialized procedures. A decree of April 26, signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior, now authorizes the state to establish an optional and free Digital Identification Guarantee Service (SGIN). In technical terms, the implementation, at the end of the program launched in 2018, a smartphone application that allows “to prove [l’]online identification and distribution control [des] identification data “.

What will this application be used for?

The idea of ​​the state approach is as follows “All French people can authenticate online with the same security as a real-world paper ID”. Thanks to the “digital identification of France”, French Internet users will be able to provide one-time identification, thus avoiding the need to scan identity documents before sending them, the government explains on the Internet. .

The program is also designed to provide access to public service sites protected by France Connect, such as the tax site or the site of the National Document Security Agency. Other features are being studied.

How will it work?

From August 2021, the new electronic identity card (CNIe) in credit card format contains a chip. They store two types of data, called the state:

  • “Road compartment”, containing civil status data and biometric data;
  • and “Digital identification department”containing the elements printed on the identity card itself: surname, name, date and place of birth, nationality, gender, card number, date of issue.

The program will import only the second compartment, and this data can be read only if the user agrees to it and unlocks it with the personal code associated with the new ID card.

To verify the identity, the user must also have his smart card icon on his smartphone equipped with NFC technology, capable of reading the chip. This process will allow you to check whether the citizen really has his card and whether it was stolen.

What are the conditions of its use?

It will be necessary, like 4.5 million French people today, to have a new digital identity card. This is the case if you have had a ticket made or reworked since August 2021. But you should also have a smartphone compatible with NFC technology, both for contactless phone payments or paperless transport tickets.

When will it work?

The program will be available in a test version first in May on Android phones. Apple phones are expected to be released by the end of the year, when the system will be expanded “Passports and residence permits”according to the details of the French digital identification site in its FAQ.

What security measures are provided for personal data?

This new tool will bury Alicem, a previous digital identification project that has been controversial because it was based on face recognition. The government, which has rejected this option, has nevertheless taken care to report personal data protection to reassure users: “Civil status data is stored in encrypted form on a chip [de la carte d’identité] will be read only after the user agrees to complete the process., guaranteed by the site. the same, “Identification data [peuvent] not be processed for commercial or advertising purposes “.

Read also Proponents of digital freedom are concerned about face recognition for online identification

The National Commission on Computing Technology and Freedoms (CNIL), which has issued warnings about face recognition devices, has called for a new digital identification system that “Will allow high-level identification, the ability to display only certain attributes and create credentials to replace respect for photocopies of certificates”.