“Familiarity brings acceptance.”
Esther Makaay, Business Analyst and eID Thought Leader at Connectis.
“Truly commercial organisations aren’t currently looking to connect to eIDAS,” says Esther Makaay, Business Analyst and eID Thought Leader at Connectis. In her role, Esther talks to a wide variety of contacts about the future of identification and authentication technology. “In commerce, the situation is very different from what you see in the regulated sector, amongst organisations with state-defined responsibilities, such as health care and education providers. The commercial world is all about supply and demand. And there’s no market demand for eIDAS yet, because customers haven’t heard of it. Businesses are also used to national eIDs being largely reserved for use by public sector organisations. As a result, little thought has been given to the potential benefits of their use in other sectors. But the potential is certainly there. In Estonia, for example, you can use your electronic ID card to arrange a mobile phone contract or take books out of your local library.”
“Cost-benefit considerations come into play as well,” continues Esther. “Setting up your organisation to accept other IDs implies investment, and that investment has to be justified by the return. At the moment, the benefits don’t weigh up against the cost. For example, businesses generally need customers’ addresses and other contact details, which the national eID systems don’t have. However, it’s clear that the business community is interested in federative identity management, because of the security angle. With FIM, they don’t have to worry about data breaches, hacks or privacy protection. It’s also important to them that there’s a real person behind every eID.”
Esther adds, “eIDAS has great potential for the private sector as well. It’s therefore good that state-sector use of eIDAS is being vigorously promoted, because it will drive public familiarity. A very large number of people are going to be using their eIDs to access public services. As eIDs become part of the fabric of life, the demand for their use in other sectors will follow automatically. And the acceptance of ‘foreign’ accounts will be a relatively easy step for any organisation that’s become accustomed to federative account management. I certainly expect familiarity to bring acceptance where eIDAS is concerned.”