France Identity, a further step towards a reliable and robust digital identification

Did the France Identity application have the same success as its big brother France Connect, an Internet public identification device, launched in June 2016? From an interterministerial program, France Identity should finally make it possible to verify a person’s identity online, thanks to the NFC chip present on the biometric identity card, in circulation since the summer of 2021. But for now, preparing for a hospitalization, making the power of attorney or opening a bank account are accessible only methods for those who have a smartphone that uses the Android operating system and has NFC short-range communication functionality. Because France Identity is still in the testing phase.

Lagging behind its European neighbors, France seeks to release new digital services, such as the possibility of more easily verifying a person’s identity on the Internet or during physical means. , with the possibility of disclosing only some information, for example to prove his majority. And thus forget Alicem, the project started in 2013 that plans to use facial recognition, was left to follow specific alerts from Cnil.

Can France Identity replace CNI-e?

Currently, the data remains stored on the NFC chip of the biometric identity card. However, as Marc Nolain, director of the company AriadNext, pointed out to AFP, “in 2022, you will need to get your identity card out of your phone”, in the model of contactless mobile payments or Apple Wallet available in the United States. It is also a dream of Brussels, which wants to permanently install its European digital portfolio.

Note that a survey by the company Thalès, conducted in December 2021 on the same European digital wallet, concluded that 85% of French people are willing to use it. So citizens say “yes” but France Identity has a long way to go to guarantee data security. In its current format, “the application is not very useful, as Hervé Bonazzi, director of the company Archipels, a joint venture made up of La Poste, EDF, Engie and the Caisse des dépôts. However, it is a necessity and important document for the future of digital identity in Europe “, which according to him should eventually succeed in” making the link between different data about you “in the number of Social Security, the mutual, the certified income…

What is France Identity used for?

France Identity should be the first application in France to provide a “high” level of guarantee in terms of digital identification, according to the reference framework of the European e-IDAS regulation. This level is not yet required in any online service, but it should eventually allow access to health data, the development of fully dematerialized power of attorney, or even electronic voting.

Meanwhile, France Identity will provide access to France Connect, the portal now used by more than 37 million people to pay their taxes, consult their pension rights or the balance of their points. license. But also with France Connect +, this version requires a “substantial” level of guarantee to, for example, open an online bank account. Today, only La Poste’s “Digital Identity” has received this certification from Anssi, which guarantees the security of information systems, and new private applications are in the process of certification.

Another function of France Identity, the only one available to date, allows you to create a digital proof of identity, to avoid sending copies of the original document, for example when renting an apartment : one of the most common sources of identity theft. .

Wrong start around Apple?

While the official Twitter account of France Identity announced on Monday a mysterious tweet that should be followed by keynote Apple’s WWDC to see what’s new, following disappointed: no tracking support under iOS16 for French digital identity card.

The reported participation in the Maps app, aka wallet, quickly spread before the keynote began at 7 pm Monday, before being denied by France Identity. And finally, Apple didn’t announce anything. The official Twitter app finally talks about the development of France Identity under the Apple brand: an iOS application is preparing so that iPhone users can also benefit from these new services.

What are the privacy risks?

The use of France Identity will remain strictly optional and “is not intended to replace alternative means, paper forms or counter”, the government has promised.

“This is where we remain very vigilant”, said Bastien Le Querrec, member of the association for the protection of freedoms in the digital age La Quadrature du net, who wants these physical alternatives not to be “disincentive”. “Through this phenomenon of excessive dematerialization of public services, we are in the process of forcing citizens to go through digital identity”. And “who says digital identity says making a card in his name with his photo, date of birth …”, he added. Another risk, this could “result in an increase in cases where you will be asked to prove your identity”.

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