Swisscom to join new joint venture for e-ID

Wednesday 22 November 2017 | 12:04 CET | News

A broad alliance of industry and politics representatives is moving forward with the electronic identity (e-ID) project in Switzerland. The new SwissSign Group will include the Post and SBB, as well as Swisscom and six Swiss financial service providers.

Swiss Post, SBB, Swisscom, Credit Suisse, Raiffeisen, UBS, Zurich Cantonal Bank, SIX and the insurance company Swiss Mobilier will cooperate in the establishment of a trustworthy Swiss brand for e-ID.

The nine companies signed a letter of intent to established a joint venture. Its objective is the creation and implementation of a digital identity for the Swiss population. The name of the new joint venture will be the SwissSign Group and it will integrate SwissSign and further develop the product SwissID. SwissSign, the joint venture of the Post and SBB, launched an electronic ID called SwissID in May 2016. 

The new joint venture wants to prepare fundamentals for a certified e-ID, which shall be provided by the private sector and certified by the state. The objective is in line with the idea of the government to share the tasks associated with e-ID between the private and public sector.

The CEO of the new company will be Markus Naef, currently CEO of SwissSign. The management of SwissSign will continue as is. 

One of the challenges in the implementation of the electronic identity is data protection. Swiss Data Protection and Information Commissioner (EDOB) welcomes the fact that it will have a sole negotiating partner in the matters of e-ID. 

The state will also have an important role in defining of a legal framework for the project. The state will also be able to define and verify itself the state identities.

The new e-ID will be available free to users. It will be financed from contributions by the providers of the online services. As Markus Naef said for the agency awp, the investments in e-ID will amount to a high two-digit million number. 

Today, almost all providers of online services run their own certification systems. E-ID will simplify the system. However, it is not excluded that still other electronic identities will enter the market. The concept of the government does not limit the number of providers.

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