The internet identification procedure will be “unambiguous, secure and practical”. The Federal Council on Thursday defended its electronic identification project, fought against by a referendum and submitted to the people on March 7.
The Swiss are carrying out more and more online transactions. “The first thing I do when I get up is read the newspapers online,” Federal Councilor Karin Keller-Sutter told reporters. Buying a train ticket, paying a bill or going shopping are all online activities that require identification.
“None of these systems is however regulated in law”, pointed out the Federal Councilor. The project, submitted to the people on March 7, intends to fill this gap.
Thanks to the new electronic identity (e-ID), it will now be possible to perform many transactions on the Internet in complete security, including transactions generally requiring a physical presence. No need to go to the counter to sign a mobile phone subscription, open a bank account or order a criminal record extract.
However, some are worried about the division of labor between the state and the private sector. Thursday, the Federal Council wanted to be reassuring. “The Confederation retains its sovereign function. It verifies and confirms the identity of a person using the registers at its disposal.”
It is the technical implementation and operation of the e-ID that are entrusted to suppliers. However, the latter must obtain recognition from the State. They can be private companies, but also cantons or municipalities. People who want to get an e-ID can choose their provider.
If none of the suppliers meets the legal requirements, particularly in terms of data security and protection, the State can offer its own solution. Such a division of tasks ensures state control and the best use of digital progress, argues the government.
Storage in Switzerland
In addition, e-ID providers may only use data for identification purposes. User consent is required whenever data is to be transmitted. And these must be saved on servers in Switzerland.
The e-ID will simplify and make many online transactions more secure, points out the Federal Council. Consumers can however continue to shop without e-ID, if they wish.
The referendum was launched by Société Numérique, the Swiss organization Campax, the “We collect” platform and the Public Beta association. They are particularly concerned about the privatization of this electronic identity (e-ID) and fear that sensitive data will fall into the hands of banks, insurance companies and multinationals.
Eight cantons, including that of Vaud, are also opposed to this project.