GOV.UK Verify eID scheme pre-notified under eIDAS
European Commission, 2018
On 28 August 2018, the European Commission announced that the United Kingdom has pre-notified GOV.UK Verify, a nationally-issued eID scheme based on a federation of private identity providers.
The pre-notification is the first step in a process that would enable citizens residing in the UK to use their GOV.UK Verify credentials to access public services in other Member States. This would make cross-border interactions easier and more secure for UK-based citizens. The UK is the ninth Member State to pre-notify its national eID scheme, following Germany’s successful notification in September 2017, and the pre-notifications from Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Estonia, Croatia, Belgium, and Portugal.
The mutual recognition of eID schemes across Europe is mandated by Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (commonly known as the eIDAS Regulation). The Regulation states that by 29 September 2018 all online public services requiring electronic identification assurance corresponding to a level of 'substantial' or 'high' must be able to accept the notified eID schemes of other EU countries.
GOV.UK Verify allows British citizens and to other individuals legally residing in the UK to digitally prove their identity online to access eGovernment services and for example apply for a universal credit, check your income tax, check your state pensions, etc.. Soon additional services will be made available such as signing your mortgage deed, sign in to view your total reward statement.
The eID scheme is relying on seven certified companies (Barclays, CitizenSafe, Digidentity, Experian, Post Office, Royal Mail, and SecureIdentity) that can verify the identity of users and issue the necessary credentials to identity and authenticate oneself online. All provides a different set of services and prices to accommodate the needs of different customer segments. In a country were no national identification system is in place, GOV.UK Verify is providing a convenient option to UK citizens and residents.
Following the British pre-notification, the other Member States participating in the Cooperation Network may peer-review GOV.UK Verify (if requested by the UK). The actual notification of the eID scheme should then follow within six months. Other Member States have to recognise a notified eID scheme at the latest 12 months after the publication of the notification in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eID Building Block primarily supports the Member States in the roll-out of the eIDAS Network (the technical infrastructure which connects national eID schemes). CEF eID is a set of services (including software, documentation, training and support) provided by the European Commission and endorsed by the Member States, which helps public administrations and private Service Providers to extend the use of their online services to citizens from other European countries.
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