Author: Alicia Jiménez González, Manager of the European Project Office
This text was originally published in the Autumn 2023 edition of EU Research journal
As explained in the first part of this article, IMPULSE is a proposed universal solution for accessing different public services. A single method of electronic identification must be compatible with all practical cases, regardless of the public service requiring verification. For such a transformative solution to be accepted, the project must understand how effective it will be in practice and how users will adapt to the technology. To achieve this, six pilot studies were carried out to analyse the use of eID in the context of access to different public services.
In Spain, for example, there are two different pilot projects to test its effectiveness. One is for a citizen card, in which citizens can access a multitude of services in a city in a modern, efficient and secure way. Another case study was carried out by the security forces of the Basque Country. There, low-level crime incident reports to the police were made more efficient through secure online identification.
“For this type of low-level complaints, the aim would be to automate the process to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of services to citizens,” says Iñaki Gangoiti, head of the Ertainza case study.
Another of the objectives pursued with the new DNIe is to reduce the workload on the limited resources of the public sector, above all by reducing the need for human interaction so that public service employees can prioritise and allocate most of their scarce resources to the most serious incidents.
The pilot in Denmark focuses on improving vulnerable citizens’ access to public self-services through the use of lockers throughout the city. “To open and access the lockers, a secure system is required to ensure that you are the authorised person to pick up, for example, a passport stored in the lockers,” explains Jakob Asmussen, who is responsible for the Danish case study.
Another practical case in Bulgaria for public administration revolves around the online application for certificates, for example to verify a current address or to create a local register for which the eID can be used.
Marco Vianello, responsible for the Italian case study explains: “In Italy we work with the public administration that manages company information. In this case we have focused on an identification of a company representative. In this way, this person can request services or take action on behalf of the company he or she works for.
Finally, in Reykjavik, there is the case study aimed at supporting digital innovation and networking in online public services. Integrated into the civic participation platform Better Reykjavik, a portal has been designed to discuss online accessibility issues experienced by people with certain disabilities.
While the results of all these cases are being evaluated, valuable information has already been extracted: although the initial integration of eID may take some time, once it is established, all transactions with public services are carried out more quickly and smoothly.
IMPULSE is thus positioned as a proposed universal solution for accessing different public services. A single method of electronic identification that should be compatible with all practical cases, regardless of the public service requiring verification.
The roadmap for Europe
As part of the project, IMPULSE will develop national and EU roadmaps for planning the integration of eID. At the same time, it will demonstrate how this innovation will help the public sector and providers. We detail the application of the IMPULSE eID solution to the specific case studies, whilst analysing the risks and the gaps. IMPULSE is aligned with the European Identity initiative, so we are working to establish the basis, to be prepared for their future implementation, also being compliant with GDPR and policy regulations,” said Ms Bertille Auvray, leader of the roadmap preparations at case study and European levels.
In parallel, a socio-economic impact analysis of these roadmaps will be conducted. This study is likely to demonstrate the expected benefits on the economic costs, for example on the number of hours an official has to spend to process a citizen’s application in person. In this way, many hours can be saved, allowing other tasks to be prioritised. “We are seeing that the benefit is not only for the citizen, but also for the civil servant, because it reduces the amount of paperwork they have to do and the cost to public administrations,” says Nicholas Martin.
In June 2023, the IMPULSE APP for ID verification was launched, which reduces the manual steps needed in the verification process. It has the ability to detect forgeries in scanned documents used in the registration process (e.g. national ID cards and passports).
The use of eID has great potential to drive enormous efficiency through the European economies. This project can provide much-needed technologies to digitise public sector services, making it easier and faster for citizens and civil servants.
The IMPULSE consortium
The European IMPULSE partnership also involves Lappeenrannan-Lahden Teknillinen Yliopisto (Finland); Agency for European Integration and Economic Development (Austria); Association du Pole du Competitivite Transactions Electroniques Securisees – DIH (France); Aarhus Municipality (Denmark); Departamento de Seguridad del Gobierno Vasco (Spain); Gijón City Council (Spain); Municipality of Peshtera (Bulgaria); City of Reykjavik, Department of Services and Operations (Iceland); Unione italiana delle Camere di commercio, industria, artigianato e agricoltura (Italy); CyberEthics Lab Srls (Italy); ALiCE Biometrics (Spain); Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Germany); Tree Technology SA (Spain); Infocert S. p.A. (Italy); and DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung e. V. (Germany).
The IMPULSE project has been approved under the call Transformative impact of disruptive technologies in public services (DT-TRANSFORMATIONS-02-2018-2019-2020).