The e-ID: a major opportunity for Switzerland

The electronic identity, or e-ID for short, is a simple but secure solution for identification on the internet, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter affirmed on Friday at a briefing event organised by the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA). She was speaking on behalf of the Federal Council and at the invitation of the SBA along with SBA CEO Jörg Gasser and experts to explain how the e-ID works and highlight the importance of the e-ID Act for Switzerland. The SBA is in favour of a standardised e-ID for the whole country.

“Data sovereignty remains with the state.” That was one of the key messages from Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter to the more than 700 attendees of the virtual briefing event organised by the SBA on the Federal Act on Electronic Identification Services (e-ID Act). On 7 March, the Swiss electorate will vote on the e-ID Act, which has been adopted by the Federal Council and Parliament. Ahead of the vote, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter, Jörg Gasser, CEO of the SBA, and experts briefed members of the Swiss Bankers Association and bank staff on how an e-ID will work in Switzerland. They also explained why issuing the e-ID requires collaboration between the state and the private sector, and what the implications for Switzerland and its financial centre could be if the Act were rejected.

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter emphasised that a state-recognised e-ID is central to advancing the digital transformation, and that the solution provided for in the Act cuts the administrative workload and so reduces bureaucracy. She also stressed that the data used to identify an individual and the e-ID usage data must be stored separately, this being one of the legal requirements for ensuring data protection. Data protection under the new e-ID Act is stricter than that under the current Data Protection Act, she added, with commercial use of data and the creation of profiles being expressly prohibited. SBA CEO Jörg Gasser underscored that an e-ID would in future allow bank customers to enjoy simpler and more secure access to digital financial services, while for banks, the e-ID is an opportunity to make processes both more customer-friendly and more efficient. Jörg Gasser warned that without an e-ID, Switzerland would fall behind in the digital transformation, to the detriment of its status as a centre for innovation and business.

The briefing event for SBA members and bank staff was conducted virtually and in German and French.


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