Electronic identification cards to be adapted in Iceland

14.3.2007

Next fall all debit cards in Iceland will be multi-functional and serve as electronic identification cards for online administration. The cards were presented at the Tech-Know North 2007 exposition last weekend.

“This is without a doubt a revolution in online communications,” Rúnar Karlsson told icelandreview.com. He is a consultant at Audkenni, the company that developed the cards in cooperation with the Finance Ministry and the Icelandic Financial Services Association.

“With the identification cards communication on the internet will be simpler and safer. [...] You can be sure the person you’re communicating with is the person he or she claims to be,” Karlsson added.

The electronic identification cards will be used for online administration in a “Public Key Infrastructure” (PKI) system. The debit cards are equipped with a microchip which contains information about the card holder.

With special card readers, card holders can have their home computers read the information on their identification cards and use them for online banking, electronic tax returns and signing agreements online. In the future, people may also use the cards for booking flights.

“The best thing about the cards is that people will get rid off all those passwords and usernames. And people won’t have to run back and forth to sign agreements, they can sign electronically,” Karlsson explained.

Hugrún Ösp Reynisdóttir, an expert at the Finance Ministry, told icelandreview.com the electronic identification cards could also be used for increasing safety in online chat rooms for children or teenagers.

“Users would have to register using their identification cards. The chat room would be limited to a certain age and if the users are outside that age frame, they would not be granted access,” Reynisdóttir explained.

“Iceland is good location for adapting the Public Key Infrastructure because 90 percent of homes in Iceland have internet access,” Reynisdóttir said. She said she also believed the older generations would learn how to use the electronic identification cards.

From Iceland Review