Electronic identity card

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The Electronic Identity Card ("eID" or "EIC") is an identity card for online and offline identification towards authorities.

Countries currently issuing government-issued EICs include Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan,[1][2] Portugal, Romania, Estonia, Latvia,[3] Lithuania,[4] Spain, Slovakia.,[5] Malta, and Mauritius. Countries currently accepting bank-issued EICs for identification towards authorities (also known as Bankid) include Norway and Sweden.

Apart from online authentication many EICs also give users the option to sign electronic documents with a digital signature. The EIC has the format of a regular bankcard, with printed identity information on the surface (such as personal details and a photograph) as well as an embedded microchip.


After introducing the Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) in 2000 (over 89.5 million CNICs issued until 2012[6]), Pakistan's National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) introduced the Smart National Identity Card (SNIC) in October 2012. Pakistan's SNIC contains a data chip and 36 security features. The SNIC complies with ICAO standard 9303 and ISO standard 7816-4. The SNIC can be used for both offline and online identification, voting, pension disbursement, social and financial inclusion programmes and other services.[7][8] NADRA aims to replace all 89.5 million CNICs with SNICs by 2020.


Chip contents[edit]

The eID card contains a chip containing:[9]

  • the same information as legible on the card
  • the address of the card holder
  • the identity - and signature keys and certificates

Using the eID[edit]

At home, the user can use his eID to log in to specific websites (such as Tax-on-web, allowing them to fill in their tax form online).[10] To do this the user needs

  • an eID card
  • a smartcard reader
  • the eID middleware software

When other software (such as an Internet Browser) attempts to read the eID, the user is asked for confirmation for this action, and potentially even for their PIN.[11]

Other applications include signing emails with the user's eID certificate private key. Giving the public key to your recipient allows them to verify your identity.

Kids ID[edit]

Although legally Belgian citizens only have to carry an ID from the age of 12, as of March 2009,[12] a "Kids ID" has been introduced for children below this age, on a strictly voluntary basis. This ID, among containing the usual things, also holds a contact number that people, or the child itself, can call when they for example are in danger or had an accident. The card can be used for electronic identification after the age of six, and it does not contain a signing certificate as minors cannot sign a legally binding document. An important goal of the Kids-ID card is to allow children to join "youth-only" chatsites, using their eID to gain entrance. These sites would essentially block any users above a certain age from gaining access to the chat sessions, effectively blocking out potential pedophiles.


Bulgaria has an electronic ID called ЕИК (Eлектронна карта за идентичност) issued from 2013.


Croatia started issuing electronic ID (e-osobna iskaznica) on June 8, 2015.


The Estonian ID card is used, among other uses, for authentication in Estonia's ambitious Internet-based voting programme.

In February 2007, Estonia was the first country in the world to institute electronic voting for parliamentary elections. Over 30 000 voters participated in the country's e-election.[13]

The software used in this process is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

At end of 2014 Estonia implemented Estonian ID Card to non-residents. The target of the project is reaching 10 million e-residents by 2025, which is 8 times more than the Estonian population of 1.3 million.[14]


The German Identity Card is also an electronic identity card since 2010.


Guatemala DPI (Documento Personal de Identificación) replaces old ID document (Cédula de Vecindad). DPI at Wikipedia in Spanish


The Italian electronic identity card (Carta d'Identità Elettronica in Italian, in Italy identified with the acronym CIE), is a personal identification document that is replacing the paper-based ID card in Italy. The first Italian electronic ID cards (EIC) were issued in 2001. As of 1 January 2006 the Italian government requires that paper based ID cards are replaced by EICs. By the end of 2009 1.8 million Italian citizens had obtained EICs.

According to provisions of the Italian constitution only the Italian municipalities can supply identity cards to citizens. Therefore the EIC issuing system is distributed among the municipalities allowing each of them to give the EICs directly to their citizens. The Ministry of Internal Affairs supplies the required network infrastructure, software updates and security architecture. As a consequence the required issuing system is more complex than centralized ones used by other countries or for other electronic cards. Recently many municipalities joined the EIC system and currently about 180 municipalities are equipped to issue EICs. The system allows smaller municipalities to collaborate with nearby larger ones in order to reduce printing cost. The potential user base is estimated at about 50 million.

The Italian EIC is intended for both online and offline identification. Therefore, apart from the printed information, data for identification are stored on a microchip as well as a laser band. Specifically, the microchip contains a digital certificate for online authentication and (optionally) a certificate for digital signatures. The Italian EIC is explicitly designed to give access to e-government services and will become the standard for access to online services offered to Italian citizens by public authorities. The technical specifications for the Italian identity card have been developed by the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. The most recent legal document regarding Italian EIC standards and requirements is the Decreto Ministeriale n. 229 del 8-11-2007.


Mexico has an official electronic biometric ID card for all youngsters under the age of 18 years called the Personal Identity Card (Record of Minors), which includes: The data verified on the Birth Certificate; including the names of the parents; a Unique Key of Population Registry (CURP); a biometric Facial Recognition Photograph; a Scan of all 10 Fingerprints; and an Iris Scan Registration, image encoded.


The Netherlands has an electronic ID called DigiD and is currently developing an eID Scheme.


Since July 2013 Israel has an electronic id, the electronic id is not yet compulsory, it is issued free of charge to promote it, and is only valid for 10 years.[citation needed]


Since 2006 Spain has an electronic ID called DNIe.


The Norwegian BankID is an electronic identity service issued by banks and makes it possible to login to Norwegian authorities, universities and banks. The Norwegian mobile BankID is utilizing the mobile phone SIM card for authentication, and is financed by a fee to the mobile network operator.


The Swedish BankID is an electronic identity service issued by banks and makes secure web login possible to Swedish authorities, universities and banks. The BankID may be in the form of a certificate file on disk, on card or on smartphone. The latter (Swedish mobile BankID service) does not require a specific fee to the mobile network operator, and also makes it possible to login on a desktop computer web window.


Since 12 February 2014, Malta is in the process of renewing all ID cards to electronic ID cards.


Since 2013 Mauritius has an electronic ID.


External links[edit]


European Union[edit]






  • Mexican Directorate General of the National Population Register