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Digital Identity

A digital identity for Switzerland
Business processes are being increasingly shifted to the digital world. So that more complex transactions can be processed online, business partners need to trust the identity of the person they are dealing with. The Federal Council therefore intends to put in place the legal and organizational framework conditions for the recognition of electronic IDs and their providers. At present, a legislative procedure is underway at federal government level for an eID Act.

Division of activities between the government and the market
The Federal Council is working on the assumption that activities will be divided between the government and the market. Specifically, suitable private or public-sector identification providers will be able to apply to a federal certification authority for authorization to issue electronic IDs that are recognized by the government. This, for example, will allow existing systems or systems in development, e.g. the projects being carried out by the Post Office, SBB as well as the banks and Swisscom, to receive government authorization.

Issuance for authorized persons
Officially recognized eIDs will allow holders to securely register for online services and then subsequently log back in securely. It will be possible to issue electronic IDs for two categories of people: Firstly, for Swiss people who have a valid Swiss ID at the time of issuance. Secondly, for foreigners with a residence permit who have a valid foreign national identity card at the time of issuance.

Concerning the current status
Legal certainty and trust are key requirements for transactions to be processed. The full-scale digitalization of society requires that there is adequate information available about the identity of those involved. For the physical world, the federal government already issues conventional means of identification, i.e. a Swiss passport, ID card and foreign national identity card. In addition to this, the aim is for it to be possible to confirm the identity of natural persons electronically as well.

In the human world, those involved are represented by natural persons and in the digital world, by digital identities. After all, natural persons can only really trust identification solutions for online interaction which are equivalent to offline identity cards issued by the state. Such a solution will only take full effect when eIDs are owned by many individual persons who are able and willing to use them. The eID creates the foundation for trust in a thoroughly digitized society. It is a key infrastructure element, which will underpin the development of further digital services in the areas of e-Government, e-Banking, e-Commerce, e-Health, e-Education and e-Voting. In this regard it will make a key contribution to the digital transformation of Switzerland.

State of digitization in topic Digital IdentityFortschritt der Digitalisierung im Themenfeld Digital Identity

15.03.201621.11.2017, Christian Weber Small

Topic Owner

Christian Weber

Head eGovernment for SME
Head of Project SuisseID
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

Measurement parameters

Degree of dissemination of (secure) digital identities of natural persons

Degree of dissemination of (secure) digital identities of legal entities

Attitude of population toward digital identities

Degree of dissemination of (secure) digital identities of natural persons

In Switzerland, only those owners of digital identities meeting the requirements of ZertES (Federal Law on Electronic Signatures) are allowed to sign using qualifying electronic signatures. This is only possible for natural persons using a SuisseID. In 2010, the implementation of the SuisseID created a legal and technical basis for secure electronic business operations. As a digital means of identification on the Internet, it offers users a secure means of authentication for web applications, a unique ID for Internet services and the digital, legally binding signing of documents.

Calculation: A survey among ZertES-compliant digital identity providers has shown that currently 33,500 digital identities are being used in Switzerland. It is the aim to ensure that 2 million digital identities are used in Switzerland. If the start-up financing target value (300,000 IDs) is not met, there is an acute need for action, while from half onwards at the latest, a self-reinforcing process should be initiated and the measurement parameters will thus represent a need for optimization

Data source: 

  • Survey among digital identity providers
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Degree of dissemination of (secure) digital identities of legal entities

Until further notice, this measurement parameter will serve as a proxy for the dissemination of secure digital identities of legal persons until further data sources for ZertES-compliant business processes can be used.

HTTPS is used to ensure confidentiality and integrity of online communication between website and web browser. This is achieved by encryption and authentication. HTTPS is relevant for every kind of data transmission, e.g. submission of online application forms. It is the long-term aim to firmly anchor the digital identity of legal persons by using the most secure SSL standard (extended validation certificate), thus effectively prohibiting phishing fraud by seemingly secure websites. Currently, the vast majority of security-critical websites (online banking, etc.) are based on the HTTPS protocol.

Calculation: The internet service provides a permanent collection of web performance information (e.g. size of sites, used technologies). Data are based on the 1,000,000 most-viewed websites worldwide. The measurement parameter is defined by the number of HTTPS websites with a Swiss domain.

It is the aim for all big Swiss websites which can be identified by to be backed by an SSL certificate. If the dissemination is still a niche phenomenon (25%), there is an acute need for action, which will only become a need for optimization from majority use (50%) onwards.

Data source

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Attitude of population toward digital identities

The openness of the Swiss population toward digital identity is surveyed by considering the following aspects:

  1. Would you generally welcome the possibility of proving your identity digitally with an electronic identity? 
  2. It is possible to legally sign a document using an electronic signature, e.g. a SuisseID. Do you trust such an electronic signature, e.g. a SuisseID? 

Calculation: Answers were measured and scored on a scale from 1 to 5 (I trust it a lot; generally yes; neither yes nor no; generally no; I definitely do not trust it). The average of all responses is calculated for the measurement parameter. The responses «generally yes», «neither yes nor no» and «generally no» are weighted 0.75, 0.5 and 0.25, respectively. The target value is the openness and trust toward digital identities. There is a need for optimization from a fundamental trust in the ID onwards, while a neutral or worse attitude toward it corresponds to an acute need for action.

Data source: 

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Team of experts, Mario Voge

Mario Voge

Head of Identity Services, Member of the Executive Board
SwissSign AG,

Markus Waldner

Head of Project E-ID: fedpol
Head of Continued Development Division
Head of Project Passport and ID renewal
Federal Office of Police, Winkler  M  05 Small

Maria Winkler

IT & Law Consulting GmbH, Riedl Reinhard 1

Reinhard Riedl

Head of Centre for the Digital Society

Bern University of Applied Sciences, S   Eberle

Sandra Eberle

Federal Office of Justice, Carl Rosenast

Carl Rosenast

President of the SuisseID Association
SuisseID Provider: QuoVadis, Walter  Berli

Walter Berli

Member of the Executive Board - SIX Terravis AG
Project-Manager - eGRIS und SIX Nominee

Opinions and Dialog


Überhang an Staatsvertreter

Remo Bruggisser, zuletzt diskutiert am 0 Kommentare

Chief Technology Strategist

Monique Jeanne Morrow, zuletzt diskutiert am 0 Kommentare

Current Projects

Current Publications

Wie steht die Schweizer Bevölkerung zur Digital Identity?

Der Branchenverband Swiss FinTech Innovations hat zusammen mit dem Link Institut eine Studie durchgeführt, um der Befindlichkeit der Schweizer Bevölkerung gegenüber der digitalen Identität auf den Grund zu gehen.

Das Fazit fasst Ruedi Maeder, Chefredaktor der unabhängigen Informationsplattform ISO-20022.CH, wie folgt zusammen: «Die E-ID hat sicher Potenzial und wird teilweise erwartet oder zumindest akzeptiert. Allerdings stehen Sicherheit und Datenschutz im absoluten Vordergrund. Die öffentliche Hand wird als Ausgabestelle präferiert, dennoch kommen private Unternehmen für eine grosse Mehrheit ebenfalls infrage.»

Online Presse zur StudieOnline-Plattformen ISO-20022.CH
Link zu den Resultate der Studie in der ZusammenfassungE-ID Study Outcomes
Link zur StudieErgebnispräsentation des LINK Instituts und der LINK qualitative AG
PDF DownloadErgebnispräsentation des LINK Instituts und der LINK qualitative AG

Studie Digital IQ 2017

Seit zehn Jahren erheben wir gemeinsam mit unseren PwC-Kollegen weltweit den digitalen Intelligenzquotienten der Unternehmen. Für die Ausgabe 2017 haben wir von September bis November 2016 über 2‘200 Führungskräfte in 53 Ländern zu Digitalisierungstrends und deren Einfluss auf ihre Organisation befragt. In der Schweiz nahmen 35 Personen teil, die mehrheitlich als Chief Information Officer (CIO) oder IT-Leiter tätig sind.

Die sogenannten Top-Performer – also Unternehmen mit Umsatzsteigerungen und Margenerhöhungen von über 5% – legen den Begriff «digital» breit aus. Sie führen weitsichtige, kundenorientierte Technologieaktivitäten durch, die über die reine Digitaltechnologie hinaus auch andere Geschäftsaspekte berücksichtigen. Diese Firmen setzen in digitalen Projekten auf disziplinenübergreifende Teams mit Vertretern aus diversen Fachgebieten und Technologien, um das menschliche Erlebnis (Employee & Customer Experience) zu revolutionieren. Weiter nutzen sie agile Methoden überhaupt für die meisten Projekte, selbst wenn diese keine Softwareentwicklung enthalten.

Führungskräfte von Schweizer Unternehmen stufen den digitalen IQ ihrer CIOs im weltweiten Vergleich höher ein als ihre ausländischen Kollegen (89% in der Schweiz gegenüber 83% weltweit). Für den CEO liegt dieser Wert jedoch unter dem weltweiten Durchschnitt (54% gegenüber 62%). Bei der Innovationsfähigkeit stehen Schweizer Firmen im internationalen Vergleich schwächer da. Nur 54% wagen sich systematisch an neue Technologien heran (gegenüber 76% in anderen Ländern). Schweizer Unternehmen erkunden neue Technologien anders als ihre Kollegen im Ausland: Sie schliessen sich eher mit anderen Industrieführern oder mit Händlern zusammen.

Erfolgreiche digitale Initiativen orientieren sich an einer digitalen Strategie, die für alle Anspruchsgruppen verständlich und schlüssig ist und zudem eine Veränderung der Unternehmenskultur herbeiführt. Die Sicht von Mitarbeitern und Partnern wie Lieferanten oder Kunden muss in der Transformation jederzeit miteinbezogen werden.

Digital aufstrebende Unternehmen führen verschiedene Aspekte zu einer harmonischen und wertschöpfenden Transformation zusammen. Diese resultiert durch die Integration von Geschäft, Kunden- und Mitarbeitererlebnis sowie den entsprechenden Technologien in einem nachhaltigen Wettbewerbsvorteil.

Link to the studyDigital IQ
Study Digital IQ 2017Download
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