Electronic identification (E-ID)

E-ID is a digital identification method used to verify people’s identities in a trusted, secure way when processing online business transactions. E-ID is a key infrastructure element that makes processing business transactions more cost effective. It can also be used for e-voting and e-health applications. The negotiations in the National Council from march 20 have shown that there are still some hurdles to overcome.

Important requirements for the publication of the future E-ID are the following:

  1. The usage data and the identification data must be managed independently by different companies. An E-ID publisher must not know how the owners of the E-ID use it (Privacy by Design).
  2. A person may have several E-ID's to make profiling more difficult. In particular to separate business and private transactions.
  3. The possession of an E-ID must not be forced. Users without an E-ID must not be unnecessarily or unfairly disadvantaged.
  4. Public authorities may not supply register data to private individuals, but only confirm the accuracy of the data supplied by the user himself.
  5. Providers of services based on non-public data from government agencies must not have a monopoly position in order to guarantee fair prices. This applies in particular to the publishers of E-ID.

With the Confederation’s initial attempt to implement SuisseID having failed for various reasons, it has now adopted systems developed by the market. The Federal Council will informally discuss the topic from May 13 to June 5, 2015. In a press release dated January 13, 2016, the Federal Council stated that the government should focus on the creation of the general legal framework and the provision of identity data. In February 2017, the Federal Council published a preliminary draft of an E-ID law and began the process of legislative consultation. At the Finance 2.0 conference on March 14, 2017, Swiss Post subsidiary SwissSign and UBS each announced an electronic ID solution. On May 8, 2017, SwissSign AG will become a joint venture owned by Swiss Post and SBB. On March 5, 2018, it will become SwissSign Group AG, which also has shareholders from various banks including UBS. Following the legislative consultation, the Federal Council issued the mandate to the FDJP to draft a piece of legislation that was published on June 1, 2018 along with the corresponding communications. The National Council’s Legal Affairs Committee advocated for the draft without any counter-motion in November 2018 and aligned itself with the Federal Council’s concept in January 2019. On March 20, 2019, the National Council began negotiations with the respective committees. The National Council advocated for the submission and rejected the proposal for referral to the Federal Council. The main topics during the initial legislative consultation were the division of duties between the government and the business sector, as well as data protection and data security. The importance of technological neutrality was also stressed.

The eIDAS ordinance was adopted in the EU on July 23, 2014 and came into effect on September 17, 2014. The eID concept is based on the assumption that Swiss eID providers will become certified to comply with eIDAS. The numerous ID solutions already being used abroad suggest that biometric features will play an important role. This will, in turn, lead to new challenges for future data protection provisions.

Complete Revision of the Federal Data Protection Act

The complete revision's draft of the Federal Data Protection Act is currently in political consultation. Data Protection is to be increased by giving people more control over their private data as well as reinforcing transparancy regarding the handling of confidential data.

Links: draft, report

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