“Become ‘the Singapore of Europe’ in the digital world“. Here is the ambition of the Principality of Monaco, according to Julien Dejanovic, director of digital services in the government of Monaco, requested by The Digital Factory. Among the projects in progress, digital identity had been elevated to the rank of priority by the Rock.
The bet has been successful since the 38,350 inhabitants of Monaco, including 9,571 of Monegasque nationality, can benefit from a completely free digital identity since June 2021 to access public and private online services in a simplified and secure manner.
An 18-month project
Work began three years ago and is accelerating with the adoption of the law of December 17, 2019, which created a legal framework for Monegasque digital identity. “The project lasted 18 months from the time the law was passed until the first digital ID cards were released.“Says Julien Dejanovic.”It is a fairly short period of time. We have been able to demonstrate agility linked to the context of the Principality: we are a small administration“, he adds.
“The strength of the project is to have associated a digital identity with a sovereign identity, that is to say a physical identity document issued by Monaco», Notes Julien Dejanovic. Indeed, to have a digital identity, residents must first equip themselves with a new identity card for Monegasques and a residence permit for residents (who do not have the nationality) . This new title can be issued by the Monaco town hall even if the old one is still valid.
An optional digital identity
Enrollment takes place at the time of issuance of the card by agents sworn in by the State, which makes it possible to certify that the person is who they claim to be. The activation of the digital identity remains at the discretion of the inhabitants, specifies Julien Dejanovic. “We do not impose digital. It comes in addition to the physical dimension. We do not dematerialize the steps to close physical services. We do not want to take away the human side of the Principality of Monaco. “
In practice, two choices are available to the person to activate his digital identity. If your smartphone is equipped with NFC (contactless) technology, activation is done directly on the dedicated MConnect application, which also allows you to connect to online services. Failing that, the installation is done on a socket at the Town Hall or at the Direction de la Sûreté Publique.
To connect to MConnect, the user must place their card on their smartphone. For people who do not have a smartphone with NFC technology, a dedicated box has been created. Connected to a computer, it allows you to authenticate by inserting your identity card inside.
The user must also enter a chosen PIN code (five digits to connect via a computer and six digits via a smartphone). “That helps prevent someone from finding a card and not being able to use it“, indicates the director.
The company IN Groupe in charge of the technical aspect
The entire technological aspect has been developed by IN Groupe, selected through a call for tenders. This French company specializes in the manufacture of secure documents (identity card and passport) and provides public utility identification applications. The solution is based on the interoperable OSIA and OIDC standards developed by the Secure Identity Alliance, a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) with the objective of promoting access for all to a reliable legal identity.
Sovereignty has been placed at the center of concerns. Thus, all the data passing through the MConnect application is hosted exclusively on Monegasque territory and by a public infrastructure developed for the occasion.
Julien Dejanovic refuses to reveal the total amount of the project. It only specifies that around thirty people were involved full time in the digital identity project alongside the IN Groupe teams.
Use cases intended to expand
The use cases of digital identity were at the heart of the development of the project. “It is essential to think about the purpose of this type of device, indicates the director. You don’t have to make a digital identity just to tick off a deal. The objective is to facilitate the procedures for the population“.
Today, the use cases are quite limited but have a vocation to expand rapidly. Via the MConnect application, people can request the issuance of certain civil documents as well as authenticate themselves with the operator Monaco Telecom and the Société Monégasque de l’Electricité et du Gaz (SMEG). Secondly, it will also be possible to subscribe to a contract, declares the director.
In October, citizens and residents can also access a new one-stop shop dedicated to all administrative procedures for the public service. “By the end of 2022, we will hear all the essential procedures available at the counter», Specifies Julien Dejanovic. Procedures related to recruitment and business creation will also be available.
Two thirds of the population equipped by 2022
Will these use cases be enough to convince the inhabitants of Monaco? This is now the main challenge to be taken up. Until today, around 70% of the 2,500 people who created a new identity or residence card have agreed to create a digital identity. A figure in line with expectations according to Julien who specifies that the summer is not a period conducive to the renewal of identity documents. “We were targeting two-thirds of the population by 2022“, he projects himself.
With its newly deployed digital identity, Monaco prides itself on being “in the top 5 of the most advanced countries in this area“, advances Julien Dejanovic who recognizes that the geographical and administrative specificities of Monaco are significant assets. “Digital identity requires working both on physical titles and on the concept of digital identity., he ends.
Although it cannot be replicated, the Monegasque example could inspire France. The digital identity project was launched several years ago but is quite chaotic. The Alicem application, which should allow each citizen to demonstrate their identity on the Internet in a secure manner using their smartphone, is still not operational.
The government seems to want to speed things up. Last May, Atos, Sopra Steria, Idemia and Idakto were chosen to develop the digital identity management system. However, no timetable has been set.
Brussels launches into digital identity
At European level, the subject of digital identity has taken a major turn since the European Commission presented its strategy last June. The ambition is high: to provide every European citizen, resident and businesses with a digital identity portfolio by October 2022.
The device will allow digital identification, storage and management of identification data and official documents in electronic format. Thus, it will make a link between their national digital identity and proof of other personal attributes – such as a driver’s license, diplomas or even a bank account – via a smartphone.