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.