“The digital IDs are not valid outside of Greece, but within the country they can now be used fully in lieu of their physical ID counterparts in interactions with government agencies.”
Greece’s Ministry of Digital Governance has followed through on its promise to launch a mobile ID system by the end of July.
The new app’s rollout began last week, with citizens whose tax identification number ends in 1 being allowed to download it from the Google Play or Apple app stores. Dubbed the “Gov.gr Wallet”, it enables an end user to store a virtual version of a driver’s license or official identity card on their smartphone.
The user can do so through an online portal, with a SMS One-Time Passcode being sent to their smartphone as part of the identity verification process.
The digital ID itself, meanwhile, can be verified with a QR code scan. An authorized agent can use the app to scan the QR code of the citizen whose identity needs to be confirmed. That will send a six-digit code to the ID holder, who will read it out to the verifying agent. Once the agent enters the code into their own app, they will be able to see a copy of the digital identity document, but won’t be able to save it – a privacy protection mechanism for citizens.
That having been said, the app has a less burdensome “quick scan” option. As the Ministry of Digital Governance explained in a statement announcing the app’s launch, in certain situations a user can preauthorize an identity check five minutes in advance.
Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis has announced near the start of 2022 that a digital ID system would be completed by Easter, framing it as a longstanding effort that was accelerated after Greece’s COVID-10 vaccination app had proven popular. The Easter deadline came and went, but the Minister insisted in June that his department was on track to deliver the app by the end of July.
The digital IDs are not valid outside of Greece, but within the country they can now be used fully in lieu of their physical ID counterparts in interactions with government agencies. And Minister Pierrakakis said that his department is working on a program that will see organizations like telecoms and financial institutions use digital ID to track transactions, rather than making copies of physical identity documents.
On that front, he once again gave his Ministry a deadline: October 1, 2022.