Estonian developer of e-government services Cybernetica, in cooperation with the Information System Authority (RIA), will start analyzing the architecture of the technical solution of the future digital wallet and its compatibility with the already developed electronic identity ecosystem.
As a result of a successful analysis, in the future, documents such as an ID-card and driver’s license can be used using a mobile phone. This is the first procurement of a recently concluded wider four-year framework agreement, totaling six million euros, within the framework of which Cybernetica will provide RIA with applied research, development work and consultations in the field of information security, the company said.
As the first task, Cybernetica will analyze the wallet solution, which will allow people to leave physical documents, such as an ID-card and driver’s license, at home in the coming years and present and use them using their mobile phone. The wallet being created is, among other things, a preparation for the European Union digital wallet solution. By 2026, the wallet ecosystem should be widely available in all EU member states.
Aivo Kalu, chief security engineer of Cybernetica, said that the European Union Digital Identity wallet (EUDI Wallet) is not just one application, but rather a joint ecosystem in which each member state issues their own digital wallet together with supporting information systems.
“Together with RIA, we will analyze a wallet that is compatible with the current national information systems as well as related information systems, so that documents issued in Estonia can be applied for for the application. It is also important that digital wallets that meet EU standards can also be used in Estonian information systems for authentication, submission of citizen data, and digital signatures,” Kalu said.
Europe’s new electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services (eIDAS) regulation already allows to connect the offered services with new and increasingly widespread digital wallet technologies. According to Riho Kurg, architect at RIA’s electronic identity department, the electronic identity used in Estonia is the basis for all digital services and the biggest challenge for the authority is to create a digital wallet platform that would apply our experience so far and support the current ecosystem.
The creation of a cross-border EU digital identity certainly does not mean that the importance of the electronic identity of member states themselves will decrease.
“On the contrary, our companies can use their experience and bring solutions to the market that are not limited to Estonia or neighboring countries. Although the wallets are built with the joint contribution of member states, in principle there are no limits to the establishment of evidence-based business models, whether it be in logistics, transport or entertainment,” Kurg said.
With the support of Enterprise Estonia, Cybernetica is also developing a SplitKey CSP product for the digital wallet, which will prevent the copying and resubmission of documents in the wallet.
“In the future, the wallets will contain documents that can be used to access security-critical information systems such as online banks and public sector portals. Therefore, it is extremely important that these documents remain only in the possession of the wallet user and that they cannot be copied,” Mattias Lass, software architect at Cybernetica, said.
Cybernetica’s SplitKey CSP solution is one possible solution to ensure this — the documents in the wallet are linked to cryptographic keys that cannot be copied and can only be used by the owner of the wallet thanks to SplitKey technology. In Estonia, a similar solution is used today in the Smart-ID application.
“There are other solutions to prevent copying and identify the user, but generally they can only be used with the most expensive phone. One of the advantages of SplitKey is that it is not dependent on the phone’s hardware,” Lass said.
Cybernetica has been a strategic partner of the Estonian state in matters of digital identity since 2000. Among other things, Cybernetica has developed SplitKey, the technology that serves as the basis of the personal identification system Smart-ID, X-Road, which is the main data exchange platform of the Estonian e-state, and the online voting application.
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