How governments and their citizens benefit from incorporating chips in identity documents

How governments and their citizens benefit from incorporating chips in identity documents Electronically altered identity solutions won’t spell the end for physical ID documents, but rather enhance them

Demand for secure ID solutions is reaching new heights after the global pandemic hastened the need for digital alternatives.

So, what precisely do we mean by electronic identification features? We are talking about the fusion of digital components, chips to be exact, in physical identification documents. In other words, it’s the concept of using technology to bridge the digital world with the physical world and thereby provide an enhanced, interactive experience for the user.

Overall, the global market for identity documents is showing strong recovery after COVID-19 as new identification solutions become available. In fact, the global identity market is set to reach a value of $9.67 billion (€9.02 billion) in 2022, according to a market research report from Smithers. This growth is set to continue unabated. By 2024, the global market will have surpassed $10 billion before reaching $10.99 billion in 2027, the report predicts.

The introduction of digital components to identity solutions is a major trend set to dominate the world of identity over the next decade. “Success for commercial high-security printers (HSPs) and technology suppliers will increasingly depend on integrating traditional document formats (passports, national ID, drivers’ licenses, health cards, voter IDs, and birth certificates) into the digital sphere. Purely digital IDs will remain a minority solution, however: instead the challenge for the next five years will be optimizing secure IDs that straddle the physical and digital realms.”


Electronic chips are facilitating the physical identification process

Today, we’re seeing an increasing move towards merging physical and digital ID documentation. Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic motivated governments to speed up digital ID adoption so that citizens could continue to securely access digital public and private services during lockdowns, whether sharing sensitive health records or using their digital vaccination certificate to prove permission to travel.

To date, global governments have launched 165 fully or partially digital ID schemes, providing reliable authentication for services requiring proof of identity and simplifying interactions between citizens, governments and businesses.

Nevertheless, no matter how digital the world becomes, there is still a fundamental need for physical documentation. Digital and physical documents go hand in hand. A trusted, durable physical identity credential offers official proof of who you are and provides a solid basis from which to create a secure digital equivalent.

Standards need to define the future of electronically-enhanced identification

As we increasingly become digitally-reliant beings and digital identity systems and tools start to become ubiquitous, it’s becoming increasingly important to introduce the appropriate worldwide standards, norms and rules for virtual documents and systems.

In 2021, for example, a new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for mobile driver’s licenses was approved and published.

In addition, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has introduced standards for machine-readable travel documents. ICAO has also issued recommendations and specifications to harmonize and standardize digital travel authorizations. For instance, this speeds up the verification of visa-exempt foreign nationals, who are required to provide specific information when entering certain countries.  In general, the more standards that exist worldwide, the greater the level of automation and the lower the costs involved.

In addition, data protection laws need to address any future issues relating to privacy to ensure anonymity and autonomy and address people’s desire to disclose as little data as possible.

The transition to wholly digital identity systems isn’t yet feasible. Moreover, digital user-friendly systems need to be created for the processes related to the issuance and application of digital documents to make their use as intuitive as possible even for non-digitally savvy citizens.

For now, however, by incorporating the digital with the physical, we can look forward to profiting from the best of both possible worlds.

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