Reply to post: Re: ID Card

My life under Estonia's digital government


Re: ID Card

My central point is that ID cards commonly issued on the continent of Europe, don't show residential address and as such are not the all in one master identity document they are frequently trumped up to be. As far as I can see, an ID card does nothing that an ordinary Passport cannot do

So you seem to be conflating Proof of Identity with Proof of Residence. Which are two different requirements. Recall the original Estonian system provides proof of identity for access to government services. Holding the card does “not entail full legal residency or citizenship or right of entry to Estonia.

Which means it isn't a Passport, which is a globally recognised legal travel document and proof of citizenship. It may be accepted as such within the EU, but legally it isn't.

What it does appear to do is allow an Estonian to avoid having to carry multiple valid legal documents for every service they use - in the UK that would be the equivalent of a drivers licence, student id, NHS number, NI number, banking two factor device, et cetera and only have to carry a single ID card.

Each department that interacts with the cardholder has a device that can talk to the card system, and the middleware on the card system can then talk to their own systems.

Since the banks and utilities also have access to the system, they don't need external proof of residence - the system itself knows where you live and work and the cardholder can approve that information being made available to the company asking.

The UK has the same idea, but every service relies on composite keys manufactured out of disparate information that the user has to pull together every time they need to establish something new. The Estonian ID system lets you do that once and never need to do it again.

The key difference is where the balance of power lies. In the current UK system, the individual continually has to prove themselves to the arms of the state, though combined the state has access to most information about the individual. In the Estonian system, the state formally knows everything about the individual, but the individual has control over who sees the information and under what conditions.

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