Throughout the year, I talk with a lot of people regarding the use of reusable electronic identities (eID). Coming from Norway, where we have had BankID as an eID since 2004, we just take this for granted. It’s just natural for us to use the same login for bank, government, health, insurance. And more, nobody questions this. On average, Norwegians use BankID more than 4 times a week. So we are all comfortable with it and couldn’t imagine what it would be like if we had to remember all these different credentials to the important basic services.
We are also fortunate with the high degree of trust in the Norwegian society (or perhaps Norwegians are just more naive?). We have a high degree of trust in each other, in banks and in the government. This is confirmed by the World Values Survey, a standard measuring social trust across countries. One example of trust is the tax declaration, which typically a lot of people dread. Not the Norwegians however. Sometime in April, we all get a message from the government. This message tells me that the tax declaration is now filled in and I can log in to the government portal to inspect it and make changes if needed. The message also tells me that if I do not go to the government portal and accept the message by a given date, acceptance is assumed. And guess what? More than 400,000 Norwegians of a population of a little over 5 million don’t even bother logging in and checking it. In this trusted social climate, eID and trust services have good conditions for growth.
I’m often asked to give examples of eID usage. I guess the one that amuses the most is the tanning salons’ usage of eID. In 2016, a law was passed in Norway that you have to be over 18 to use a tanning salon. Most of the tanning salons are not staffed and adding employees for verifying the age limit would, of course, introduce a lot of overhead.
This is when they decided to use the Norwegian eID scheme – BankID – for age verification. You download the tanning app, register, and then use BankID for age verification. When booking a time at the tanning salon, you use the app to scan the QR code by the tanning machine and if you are verified, you are able to buy hours under the sun. The tanning salon only receives information that you are of age but not any other personal data which may identify you.
This is just one concrete example of age verification through eID, with other uses in gambling or buying alcohol or tobacco.
eIDs give a lot of simplification both for the users and for the government and organizations which uses it. And when eIDAS gets up and running, this will also be cross-border.
Signicat has the highest eID coverage in the world linking across borders to over 25 eID schemes globally. So if your organization operate across borders in Europe, you can benefit from one integration point to interface with all the eIDs we support.
John Erik Setsaas
VP of Identity and Innovation at Signicat
October 30 2019