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itsme notified by Europe as a means of identification

On 18.12.2019, the itsme mobile ID and the FAS (the Belgian government’s Federal Authentication Service) was notified by the Europe Commission. This means that itsme can now be used as a means of ID with the public services of other EU member states.

It was in last April that FPS Strategy and Support (BOSA) applied for accreditation to the European Commission for the Federal Authentication Portal (FAS) and itsme. This request was approved on 18.12.2019 and means that all Belgian citizens (and all foreigners holding an electronic card for foreigners) are now able to use their eID card or itsme app to identify themselves with the public services of EU member countries.

The accreditation process involves the selection, peer review by other member states and the official addition of national electronic identification systems to the European eIDAS network (electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the single market). Accreditation guarantees that eID schemes connected to the eIDAS network meet the quality and security requirements set by the eIDAS regulation. As a result, there is now mutual recognition of electronic identification methods across all online public services in the other member states.

To benefit from this mutual recognition, an eID scheme must:

  • have been issued in accordance with an eID scheme accredited by the member state in question and featured on the list published by the Commission.

  • have a level of guarantee equal to or greater than the level required by the public sector body in question to access this online service, on condition that this level is already substantial or high.

The FAS/itsme scheme meets these two conditions and has been recognised as a high guarantee level.

Practical possibilities

As a result of itsme being notified by the European Commission, students are now able to identify themselves using FAS/itsme and can enrol online at a university in France or Germany
Another example: a Belgian worker currently or previously employed in Italy or Greece will be able to go online and check the details relating to the job (payment of social contributions, pension, etc.). 
Yet another possibility: Belgian companies will be able to submit official tenders for public procurement contracts securely in other member states.

And, last but not least, Belgians living in another European member state using a non-Belgian telephone number can also create their digital itsme identity with this telephone number.

In actual fact, Europe is built on a whole series of everyday activities,” says Kris De Ryck, CEO of Belgian Mobile ID. “So, we are delighted with the notification of the Belgian eID card, the itsme® app and the Federal Authentication Service FAS on a European level. This notification by Europe means an extension of the number of possible applications of the digital identification system, already used by more than 1.5 million Belgians today. From today onwards, the system opens the doors to the public services in every member state to all Belgians.”

Progress in Belgium

Two-and-a-half years after its launch, the itsme digital ID application continues to go from strength to strength. So far, no fewer than 1.5 million Belgians have created an itsmeaccount, which enables them to identify themselves online, connect with each other and confirm actions and transactions. They can also sign documents online.

20% of Belgium’s working population already has an itsme

account. When itsme was accredited by the Belgian government in 2018, there were 125,000 registered users. That number has now multiplied by a factor of 12, to 1.5 million!

Each month, nearly 5 million transactions are conducted using itsme.