Infosecurity 2009 – the ID-card as the most widespread resource

In 23 May 2006, major partners of the Look@World Foundation had a meeting in the Estonian Information Technology College with the chancellor of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as the representative of the Estonian state. They entered into a cooperation contract “Infosecurity 2009”, the purpose of which is to turn Estonia into a country with the most secure information society in the world by the year 2009.

The contract prescribes that in order to increase the security of electronic services, the ID-card will become the most widespread means of personal identification over the Internet by 2009. If in 2006 a mere 20,000 people used their ID-cards electronically, then by 2009 the number will reach 400,000 to 600,000 with the help of this project.

Based on the cooperation contract, the Look@World partners EMT, SEB Eesti Ühispank, Elion and Hansabank will finance the Infosecurity 2009 initiative during the next three years in the amount of up to 60 million Estonian kroons.

Strategy

The Look@World Foundation and AS Sertifitseerimiskeskus have created a joint strategy to promote the spread of ID-card applications.The strategy describes the steps and activities needed for full implementation of the ID-card, making it possible to use it for consuming a wide variety of services and making various transactions in public and private sectors.

Several parties (the public sector in the form of the State Informatnon System, the Look@World Foundation, etc) are currently reviewing various information society projects that are tied to each other in one way or another.  Although the ID-card relates to most of such projects, it cannot be viewed as merely a segment of Internet-based services, because the card can create significant added value also outside the service sphere. The electronic identity, provided by the Id-card, can be used in the most variegated relationships, including contractual relations between private persons, although such relations cannot be covered by the wide scale solutions that are currently being developed.

The strategy lists six areas of activity, indicating the targets, performance criteria and further actions for the scope of the next few years. The following is a brief overview of it all.

Technology

From the technological point of view, the following three directions bear importance.

  • ID-cards. The number of issued cards necessary for ensuring a sufficient number of service users. Unless people have ID-cards, there is no point in providing them with such services.
  • Card readers. Various computer workstations (work, home, school, public) must be equipped with smart card readers – otherwise the use of such services becomes impossible. Card readers must be available and priced reasonably.
  • Technological base. Existence of components needed by IT developers for creation of new ID-card applications. DigiDoc provides the first version of this base. It already provides the users with broad possibilities; however there is still a significant room for development.

Preception

The ID-card also has a perceptive side, defining the way it is perceived by users, service providers and system developers. Although the technology might be available, the solutions bear no value if people lack the desire, will or possibility to use them. It is essential to explain how the ID-card can contribute to various everyday processes.

  • IT companies. They must be aware of the possibilities provided by the ID-card. The companies must also wish to offer digital signing and authentication solutions to their clients.
  • Applications. Different service providers in public and private sectors must wish to offer their services by means of the ID-card, as it is useful for both, the service providers and the users.
  • Users. Ordinary card users must trust the system as well as the infrastructure and wish to handle their everyday affairs conveniently and inexpensively with the ID-card.

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