For digitization to succeed in Switzerland, we need a nationwide electronic identity. The e‑ID law is a first step in the right direction. However, the responses to the consultation process show that there is potential for optimization to ensure rapid and widespread introduction.
For the success of the E‑ID, the use in public authority traffic is decisive: The authorities (federal, cantonal and municipal) must set a good example and accept the E‑ID as a fully-fledged alternative to material means of identification and authentication, such as the identity card and passport. In this way, the trust of the population in the E‑ID will be strengthened and the dissemination of the E‑ID will be promoted.
The Federal Council is asked to answer the following questions:
1. is it prepared to prioritize the use of the e‑ID in public authority transactions and in state-related businesses in the e‑ID Act?
2. how does it plan to promote the acceptance and introduction of the state-recognized e‑ID among the authorities at the federal, cantonal and municipal levels? Is it prepared to create incentives?
3. will it work in the E‑ID Act to introduce obligations that are as far-reaching as possible for the acceptance of the E‑ID in dealings with public authorities?
4. Is there a need for legislative action outside the E‑ID Act to ensure that the E‑ID is accepted as a fully-fledged means of identification and authentication, like an identity card and passport (e.g., in the Identity Documents Act, AwG)?
Statement of the Federal Council of 14.2.2018
The Federal Council is aware of the importance of the E‑ID for digitization in Switzerland. On November 15, 2017, after taking note of the results of the consultation, it therefore instructed the FDJP to prepare a draft federal law on electronic identification services (E‑ID law) by summer 2018. However, the Federal Council does not consider the use of the e‑ID in official transactions to be the main factor for its success.as normally the same number of contacts with the authorities are required per year as the number of contacts with the business community per day. However, he is aware that in Europe, it is primarily those e‑ID solutions that allow use in dealings with the authorities and in contacts with the business community that have prevailed, as the consultation draft already envisaged.
In light of these introductory remarks, the interpellant’s questions are answered as follows:
1/3 The consultation draft of the E‑ID Act already provides in Article 16 that authorities which enforce federal law and require electronic identification must accept any state-recognized E‑ID. Thus, as soon as these authorities provide access to their services with an online registration, they must also accept the government-approved E‑ID. This regulation is to be included in the draft law submitted to parliament. A more far-reaching obligation for the authorities of the cantons and municipalities would require a constitutional amendment.
2 The creation of uniform legal and technical specifications for state-recognized e‑IDs envisaged by the e‑ID Act will break through the previous “silo solutions” and create interoperability. This and the resulting possibility of dispensing with an expensive proprietary solution already create a major incentive. The planned use of standard technical protocols will keep the costs of integrating the e‑ID functionality into the solutions of the federal government, the cantons and the municipalities low. In addition, the dissemination of the e‑ID is to be promoted through intensified communication with all stakeholders involved.
The e‑ID is also a concrete contribution to achieving the goals of eGovernment Switzerland and the Federal Council’s strategy for a digital Switzerland. All relevant stakeholders were invited to participate in a structured dialog “Digital Switzerland”, which was launched together with the new strategy. In this context, it should also be noted that the federal government and the cantons already support the introduction of the e‑ID in the joint priority plan 2017 – 2019 of eGovernment Switzerland. In addition, the Confederation will also include the implementation and use of the e‑ID as an important focus in the renewal of the eGovernment strategy of the Confederation, cantons and municipalities.
4. it is the responsibility of the responsible offices and specialist departmentsThe aim is to examine the need for legislative action for the digital transformation of their services and to regulate the acceptance of the e‑ID. The drafting of the E‑ID Act provides the corresponding impetus. According to the current regulatory concept, the purpose of an E‑ID is to be able to identify and authenticate oneself in the electronic world. It does not entitle the holder to cross national borders.