Denmark has introduced a new digital ID system, and there are serious concerns that a rushed phaseout of the previous one will harm Danes who don’t have smartphones or are lacking in digital literacy.
The Danish government rolled out the previous NemID system in 2010, offering Danes a nationally standardized means of accessing government and financial services online. Over a decade later, the country is now transitioning to the new MitID system, which will become the default eID system effective September 22. This means that when Danes seek online access to things like tax filing and healthcare services, they’ll be prompted to use the MitID mobile app, which has a built-in code generator to enable secure access.
NemID also enabled e-services through a smartphone app, but those who wanted to opt out of the mobile system could instead request to use an alternative handheld code generator or a physical code booklet for identity verification. MitID will support such alternatives as well, but Finans Danmark – which operates MitID in cooperation with Denmark’s Agency for Digitisation – says that its offline code generator solutions won’t be ready until early next year.
For some, that could be a big problem, because Danes are required to use their eIDs for online shopping – including grocery shopping – and NemID will officially go offline for that application on October 31st, according to a report from Politiken. That could leave thousands of people without access to online shopping, some of whom may depend on it due to mobility issues or other disabilities.
Commenting on the situation to the domestic news outlet, Finans Danmark Director of Digitisation Michael Busk-Jepsen called it “regrettable,” explaining that “he code displayer and code reader has unfortunately proven to need a larger amount of analysis work than we originally anticipated.”
Fortunately, there’s an easy, obvious solution. The deadline for phasing out NemID just needs to be pushed back. As it stands, it’s not meant to be completely shut down until June 30 of 2023 anyway.
Meanwhile, those who are comfortable with using smartphone apps seem to be embracing the new eID solution. The Agency for Digitisation says that so far 4.5 million people have downloaded MitID, of a population of about 5.8 million.