We are moving at full speed towards this reality. But we all need to get ready for when the use of eID and trust services by the public and private sector across sectors and everywhere in the European Union becomes 'business as usual'.
So how do Member States and the private sector get ready?
Since the adoption of the eIDAS Regulation last year, we have been moving towards a European Union where notified national eID means will be recognised across borders. This is a real world premiere. Since 29 September this year, the rules governing the mutual recognition of eID under the eIDAS Regulation can already be applied and as from 29 September 2018, Member States will have to recognise notified eID means among each other. We have almost completed the work on the eID technical interoperability infrastructure and components under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which will allow all Member States to connect to each other directly so that the electronic identification issued in one EU country can be used for a specific purpose in another, such as filling a tax return online, accessing one's pension or social security services. Member States therefore have the necessary tools to give it a go and we can be confident that a number of them will notify their national eID schemes before 2018.
However, in a truly Digital Single Market, the eIDAS rules should not just be limited to accessing public services. The regulation can positively impact sectors where obligations exist for security, reliable identification, strong authentication of parties to a transaction (e.g. Payment Service Directive 2, the Anti-Money Laundering Directive). But it's not only the case for sectors like finance, banking, transport, insurance and health. It can also benefit sectors like the sharing economy. The eIDAS regulation will allow citizens and businesses to conveniently meet such obligations for any cross border electronic transaction seamlessly using the eID means and trust services of their choice.
By 1 July 2016, the rules on trust services under the eIDAS Regulation (i.e. eSignatures, eSeals, eDelivery, time stamps and website authentication) will also take effect repealing the existing eSignature Directive. The private sector will benefit from the cross-border recognition of electronic trust services enjoying a strengthened legal certainty, security and convenience in online transactions. In addition, an EU trustmark for qualified trust services will tell internet users whether they can trust a service online.
A successful rolling-out and uptake of eID and trust services across borders and across sectors brings us one step closer towards a Digital Single Market, fostering the digital transformation of organisations, enhancing customer experience, improving security and stimulating the provisioning of new and innovative services.
Imagine yourself in 2018, where the use of electronic identification, electronic signatures and the other trust services is a daily reality and where citizens, companies and public administrations safely access services and can do every kind of transaction online and across borders in just "one click". Wow, do you think this is science fiction? It most definitely is not. We are moving at full speed towards this reality. But we all need to get ready for when the use of eID and trust services by the public and private sector across sectors and everywhere in the European Union becomes 'business as usual'.
Want to see more? Watch this video, broadcasted today at ICT 2015, and put yourself in the shoes of a girl coming from 2018 who finds herself back to the 2015 reality when the eIDAS Regulation was not yet applied.
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