Austrians are expected to take steps to sign up for the new national digital ID system, ID Austria, as the government deadline for a full switchover from the old era elapses on December 5.
Handy-Signatur, the ID platform which citizens currently use to access a number of government services online, is set to phase out, as the country looks towards the future with a system that will ensure a more seamless and secure access to several government services, The Local writes in an explainer. The Handy-Signatur, which is commonly called a cell phone signature, works on a feature phone which can receive a short service message (SMS).
Per the outlet, 1.5 million people currently use ID Austria, and about 2.8 million others still using the Handy-Signatur will need to switch by December 5 at the latest, to continue obtaining certain government services digitally. ID Austria, which is for people 14 years and older, meets the highest security and data protection standards and forms the foundation of the country’s digital ID platform and many other applications, the government says.
The switch will be easier for those who are already signed up for the Handy-Signatur as they’ll use the same profile to register for ID Austria via a mobile application called “Digitales Amt” (Digital Office).
However, the sign-in from a Handy-Signatur will take them to only the basic functions of the ID Austria, and not the full range of services which can also be accessed by non-Austrian citizens.
Those without a Handy-Signatur can create one before signing up for ID Austria, or they can register for an ID Austria directly. Such direct registration will require the registrant showing up at a physical registration office to have their identity validated. A passport, residence permit, driver’s license, or passport photo is required for this.
The government says ID Austria will facilitate identity verification in several situations and anywhere in the country and will serve as a replacement for physical copies of credentials such as the mobile driver’s license. Austria launched the mDL and digital ID last year.
ID Austria is intended to give users highly secure access to government and commercial services, and a quick, easy way to sign digital documents. They’ll also be able to use the ID throughout the European Union soon.
The ID Austria project is overseen by the Federal Ministries of Finance and Interior.