TALLINN – SK ID Solutions, provider of the Smart-ID service in the Baltic countries, has created a new biometric registration method for Smart-ID, which enables those who do not have access to other electronic authentication tools to create a Smart-ID account without having to visit a bank branch.
As a result, users can use a secure electronic identity solution that enables them to authenticate their identity and to give digital signatures that are equivalent to handwritten signatures, SK ID Solutions said in a press release.
The new identification method has been through an international audit and has been approved by the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA). This new solution for creating an account is quite innovative in different regards. First, because of the fact that the whole biometric identification process has been automated. And second, thanks to this automation, the process of signing up only takes a couple of minutes.
Up until now, Smart-ID accounts could only be created via physical identification at a bank branch or via Mobile-ID or an electronic ID-card.
The CEO of SK ID Solutions, Kalev Pihl, said the new registration method was introduced on Tuesday afternoon and SK ID Solutions was calling on all Smart-ID users to try the new solution themselves.
"For Smart-ID, biometric identification is a brand new solution and because of this, it is possible that some things will not work quite as smoothly as they should just yet. We are constantly working on improving our service and we are very grateful for any kind of feedback from our users," the CEO said.
He said that in the following months, tens of thousands of people have to update their Smart-ID accounts since they are turning three years old. Thanks to biometric identification, they can now also do that by using their biometric passports even in situations where they do not have access to other forms of identification or are simply unable to visit a bank branch for this.
"This is also good news to the more than one million Smart-ID users in Latvia and Lithuania who can now upgrade their Smart-ID Basic account into a qualified electronic signature tool in just a couple of minutes," Pihl said.
In addition to SK ID Solutions, InnoValor from the Netherlands and iProov from the UK were also involved in the development process and the project was evaluated by TUV Informationstechnik GmbH from Germany.
Maarten Wegdam, CEO of InnoValor, said that the new application combines the NFC capabilities of smartphones and biometric passports and identity cards to create the best user experience as well as optimal security.
"Using NFC, we can remotely determine the authenticity of the identity document at the trust level that is needed for qualified signatures. In addition, the high-resolution face-image from the chip enables secure facial matching," Wegdam said.
To be able to use biometric identification, a user must have previously used Smart-ID, their phone must have the latest version of the Smart-ID app, a working camera and support NFC, and the user must own a biometric passport. If all of these requirements are met, then the process of biometric identification, which involves seven simple steps and a few minutes, can begin.
SK ID Solutions first introduced Smart-ID in 2017 and today, it is being used by more than 2.6 million people. Smart-ID is available in all three Baltic states and can be used in more than 200 e-services. Over 50 million transactions are concluded using a Smart-ID every month.