Digital Identity Digital Identity

Digital Identity

One person, one password

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No more endless queues at administrative offices, no piles of documents to fill in or waiting for pin codes to arrive by mail and e-mail: such desirable scenarios should be guaranteed by the introduction of digital identity for Public Administrations. But increased security and protection are also required for citizens who are more and more at risk of identity theft due to an increase in the use of e-mails, online payments and social networks. 

Acknowledged as one of the mainstays of the digital agenda, the digital identity of citizens and companies is of fundamental importance for the economic, civil and social development of the country, which goes hand-in-hand with the digitalization process of Public Administrations. Many advantages are envisaged by using a combined public system for digital identity, which allows all citizens to be given a username and password for use in various contexts:

  • reduction in waiting times for obtaining services and information, and simplified transactions;
  • greater trust on the part of citizens in Internet services such as online payment or e-commerce systems, using secure, certified information;
  • protection against crimes such as identity theft;
  • improvement in productivity at work and in technological resources for the operational management of processes;
  • reduction in costs due to the opportunity to recover physical spaces required for offices, branches and archives;
  • reduction in eco-environmental impacts and in the exploitation of public spaces due to a lower demand for movement.

Many challenges need to be faced concerning opportunities and critical issues. Therefore, on the occasion of the 25th edition of FORUM PA, the workshop on “Digital identity, opportunities and critical issues” - organised by Forum PA, in collaboration with Telecom Italia Trust Technologies  - a debate started among the key players involved and recommendations were drawn up (in a report) aimed at contributing to the Government's strategy on digital identity.

Critical issues and opportunities

Among the guidelines outlined is the need to create a common language that sees digitalization as the only means of dialogue between Public Administrationscitizens, companies and individuals as the starting point for administrative processes, beginning with the creation and allocation of Digital Identity. Above all, it will be important to make digital identity a deep-rooted habit of the everyday life of citizens. In this respect, a decisive role will be played not only by Public Administrations - which will need to provide and make easily accessible an increasing number of online services: digital signatures, e-mails, digital document filing, etc. - but also by legislators who will need to provide a stable regulatory framework to protect the online reputation of citizens (given the spread of information on the Web) and respect the right to confidentiality and oblivion.

With regard to regulations on a national scale, two essential tools have been established:

  • ANPR – National Registry Office of the Resident Population: this organisation will replace municipal registry offices. It is a kind of digital domicile, which, using a Web application and several online tools, will provide municipal administrations with residents' personal data and enable all operations related to processing the personal data concerned;
  • SPID – Public System for managing the Digital Identity of citizens and companies: it comprises a network of public and private authenticators who manage registration services and make credentials and tools available on a network for citizens and companies. In short, once authentication procedures have been completed with one of the authenticators involved, citizens will be able to use all the online services provided by all the other authenticators who have joined the network. One of the Government's priorities is to make the SPID system available by April 2015.

TRUSTED IDENTITY e MOBILE IDENTITY: digital identity with Telecom Italia

At the 25th edition of the Forum PATI Trust Technologies and its Innovation department presented Trusted Identity and Mobile Identity solutions to visitors, Government members and Public Administrations.

Trusted Identity is the mobile strong authentication solution from Telecom Italia Trust Technologies, which, using a special app for smartphones and tablets, allows digital identity to be checked in just a few quick and easy steps using a single password. It also enables access to the systems available on the Internet or Intranet. Therefore, citizens and companies will be able to minimise their movements and interact more quickly, also from mobile devices, using PA systems to access authorised areas and retrieve their personal data (health records, diagnostic test results, social security documents, certificates, etc.). PA staff will be able to do the same and access all the reserved areas, for example, retrieve their own pay slip, check clocking in/out etc.  The system allows a user's own digital identity to be used for secure registration and access to online services.

The experimental Mobile Identity solution, also heading in the same direction, allows the user's Digital Identity to be transmitted via a mobile phone using new generation SIM Cards. The new SIM cards enable personal digital certificates and electronic signature certificates to be hosted with maximum security in a dedicated storage area (Security Domain), protected from fraudulent online access. Furthermore, the new SIM cards feature NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and allow additional easy-to-use applications to be developed for identification and electronic signature purposes, by simply holding a mobile phone near an enabled proximity reader.

The Telecom Italia Group, through the Certification Authority Trust Technologies S.r.l., is one of the players selected to take part in the testing stages planned for the implementation of the SPID with its Trusted Identity solution that meets all the security, usability and interoperability requirements that arose at the Forum PA workshop.

Furthermore, the application, which has already achieved certification of reliability and efficiency from the IMQ (Italian Quality Mark Institute), is user-friendly: the authentication step takes just a few seconds using a personal security code that users put into their mobile device after receiving an SMS alert from the system to which the request was made for access.

The personal code is chosen by users at the time of registration: nothing else needs to be known or brought by users.  A smartphone or a tablet is enough.

Forum PA