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One step closer to e-governance with electronic IDs

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Cyprus is gradually moving one step closer to adopting e-governance after the Transport Ministry called for public consultations on the issuance of digital ID cards which will act as an electronic signature.

Cyprus has remained among the few countries in the European Union that have failed to legislate a “National Plan for the Issuance of Electronic Identities in Cyprus”, since a relative directive was first issued in 1999.

Cyprus must now implement an EU directive known as eIDAS (Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services) for electronic transactions in the European Single Market.

According to the directive, all organizations delivering public digital services in an EU member state must be able to accept electronic identification from all EU member states as of September 29, 2018.

According to the public consultation documents, the introduction of electronic identity will take place through the creation of a complete institutional and legal framework that provides for the modification or adoption of six comprehensive laws, regulations, decrees and protocols.

The decision to promote the implementation of this program, namely electronic identity cards, was taken about a year ago by the e-governance Council, which is currently in charge of the implementation of digitization reforms, in anticipation of the launching of the Deputy Ministry of Research and Innovation.

In accordance with the provisions of the National Electronic Identity Plan, any duly authorized electronic identity service provider – authorized private companies – will be able to provide citizens with electronic identity cards.

Electronic identity cards will essentially be a bar code signifying the holder’s electronic signature.

It will be the means of electronic identification of individuals in all their dealings with online government services.

Citizens applying for an electronic ID card will be able to do so online avoiding red tape at government offices. Applicants will need to be over 18 and have been issued a biometric Republic of Cyprus ID card.

Companies issuing such ID cards will be called “electronic Identity service providers” and should be owned by Cypriots who have a clean criminal record.

Companies issuing electronic IDs will have liability insurance in place for a minimum of €1,000,000.

The Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for the Population Register, along the Transport Ministry is to oversee the issuance of e-IDs.