In Part 2 of our series on the success of electronic IDs in the Nordic countries, we looked at what has made these schemes so successful with near universal adoption rates. We continue along the same vein in this final piece on collaboration. Collaboration comes across as the key theme when analyzing what made the Scandinavian eID initiatives click. It was such a key factor leading to the success of eID schemes in the Nordics, that it deserves a brief case study in its own right.


Collaboration – Public Private Partnerships

Sweden also has an equivalent to Norway’s BankID scheme which also happens to be called BankID. The BankID network includes close to a dozen banks in Sweden and this allows it to service almost the entire adult population of the country. The collaboration between not only banks but also government agencies and other service providers was critical to making the national electronic ID becomes wildly successful. The various eID schemes in the Nordic countries are a testament to successful public-private partnerships as the systems designed by the banking sector have benefited the country as a whole.

Such collaborative projects can achieve multiple goals for all cooperating entities. In the case of NemID (which translates to EasyID) in Denmark, the objective of the banking sector was to achieve economies of scale and sharing the substantial costs of Customer Due Diligence. After all, the banks should be competing on product features and pricing rather than their ability to quickly turn around KYC requests. Similarly, the objective of the government was the creation of a robust and widely used national eID system. They took advantage of the wide user base of the banks to provide a massive boost to the adoption rates of the eID scheme.

The collaboration does not end there though. Mobile BankID, for example, was launched in Norway in 2009 through a collaboration between DNB Bank and the country’s largest telecom operator – Telenor. By 2013, all of the country’s mobile networks as well as 23 banks had joined the network leading to almost universal coverage. Today, almost 80% of Mobile BankID customers use the service almost once a week. Such levels of success require an unprecedented level of cooperation between private entities themselves and with the public organizations as well.

Collaborating on eIDAS

The European eIDAS initiative is a collaborative project as well. In addition to the public private collaboration seen in the Nordic cases, eIDAS will also have to additionally ensure cooperation between the various Member States, their regulators and private companies. Another massive hurdle that eIDAS addresses is the legal treatment of the tools that it enables. By harmonizing all of these aspects across all Member States, eIDAS achieves perhaps an even greater level of cooperation and collaborative development.

The analysis of the Nordic eID schemes reveals that rather than reinventing the wheel, it might be more beneficial to piggyback on the existing infrastructure and optimize it to be used across all service classes. eIDAS is also building upon the existing national eID schemes of the various Member States and its primary effort is towards harmonization. In that sense, it has the additional advantage of adopting from the best practices in each EU member State.

 

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References and Further Reading

Image: WIP - Baby Viking Hat for Ben's newborn, courtesy of Robin Zebrowski, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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