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Electronic Identity as a Structural Precondition of e-Government Implementation: Case Study of Austria, Belgium, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Electronic Identity as a Structural Precondition of e-Government Implementation: Case Study of Austria, Belgium, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Published by zlatan.sabic2760
In this paper we argue that the provision of highly accessible and integrative electronic services for citizens and businesses require reliable state level electronic identification and authentication management that offers at least the same level of security and data integrity as existing (semi)manual systems. We illustrate that by presenting and juxtaposing two conceptually different, but exceptionally well implemented eID systems (Austria and Belgium), as well as the case of country without implemented eID system (Bosnia and Herzegovina). First two case studies clearly demonstrate that a successful implementation of eID system at the national level radically improves the interaction between clients and service providers, while the later case shows that without nationally implemented eID system, even well designed and implemented e-Government systems, cannot transform the potential into optimal performance and provide integrated and easily accessible services to citizens and businesses.
In this paper we argue that the provision of highly accessible and integrative electronic services for citizens and businesses require reliable state level electronic identification and authentication management that offers at least the same level of security and data integrity as existing (semi)manual systems. We illustrate that by presenting and juxtaposing two conceptually different, but exceptionally well implemented eID systems (Austria and Belgium), as well as the case of country without implemented eID system (Bosnia and Herzegovina). First two case studies clearly demonstrate that a successful implementation of eID system at the national level radically improves the interaction between clients and service providers, while the later case shows that without nationally implemented eID system, even well designed and implemented e-Government systems, cannot transform the potential into optimal performance and provide integrated and easily accessible services to citizens and businesses.

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Published by: zlatan.sabic2760 on Feb 20, 2009
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Electronic Identity as a StructuralPrecondition of e-GovernmentImplementation: Case Study of Austria,Belgium, and Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Nera NAZEČIĆ, M.A.
1
, Tarik ZAIMOVIĆ, M.A.
2
, Merima AVDAGIĆ, M.Sc.
3
,Zlatan ŠABIĆ, Ph.D.
41
UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maršala Tita 48, Sarajevo, 71000, Bosnia and HerzegovinaTel: +387 33 563 836, Fax: + 387 33 552 330, Email: nnazecic@undp.ba
2
University of Sarajevo School of Economics and Business, Trg Osloboenja 1, Sarajevo,71000, Bosnia and HerzegovinaTel: +387 33 447 559, Fax: + 387 33 447 559, Email: tarik.zaimovic@efsa.unsa.ba
3
UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maršala Tita 48, Sarajevo, 71000, Bosnia and HerzegovinaTel: +387 33 563 850, Fax: + 387 33 552 330, Email: mavdagic@undp.ba
4
University of Sarajevo School of Economics and Business, Trg Osloboenja 1, Sarajevo,71000, Bosnia and HerzegovinaTel: +387 33 447 559, Fax: + 387 33 447 559, Email: zlatan.sabic@efsa.unsa.ba
Abstract
: In this paper we argue that the provision of highly accessible andintegrative electronic services for citizens and businesses require reliable state levelelectronic identification and authentication management that offers at least the samelevel of security and data integrity as existing (semi)manual systems. We illustratethat by presenting and juxtaposing two conceptually different, but exceptionally wellimplemented eID systems (Austria and Belgium), as well as the case of countrywithout implemented eID system (Bosnia and Herzegovina). First two case studiesclearly demonstrate that a successful implementation of eID system at the nationallevel radically improves the interaction between clients and service providers, whilethe later case shows that without nationally implemented eID system, even welldesigned and implemented e-Government systems, cannot transform the potentialinto optimal performance and provide integrated and easily accessible services tocitizens and businesses.
Keywords:
electronic identity, eID card, e-Government, e-governance, publicservices
1.
 
Introduction
E-Government is a structural reform process that implies a fundamental, customer-orientedre-engineering of the service delivery processes of government bodies. This processrequires organizational changes within those bodies, the interoperability and securityframeworks, co-operation between government levels and government bodies, legislativereform and adaptation of the laws, education of customers, as well as measures to prevent adigital divide. Series of preconditions for effective implementation of e-Government must be met, and in this process, a number of critical factors for a successful e-Governmentdevelopment need to be considered – including a number of country specific risks that needto be managed. In this process, a critical element of success is a strong political leadershipwhich will drive the necessary changes and guarantee co-operation between all governmentlevels and government bodies. It is particularly important to stress that this process willrequire a drastic cultural change within government: from hierarchy to participation andcontinuous team work, as well as the focus shift towards meeting the needs of the
 
customers, not the government itself. All this will require a long term vision andwillingness for profound re-engineering of service delivery to the end customers.Primarily, this process requires the investment of significant efforts and resources aimedat creating the infrastructure that will provide preconditions for implementation of systemsthat can offer easily accessible and citizen-oriented e-Government services. Anygovernment that wants to provide integrative, accessible and proactive services to citizensand businesses needs to seriously address the following infrastructural issues:
 
Policy framework and Legislation;
 
Institutionalization;
 
Common network/communication infrastructure;
 
Electronic ID Management;
 
Interoperability framework.Electronic identity (eID), as official proof of one’s identity, is becoming increasingly anoutstanding issue in various e-Government programs and initiatives. The electronic identitymanagement (eIDM) or simply electronic ID (eID), provides authentication that has thefunction of corroborating claimed identities of entities in order to generate a reliable contextin which it is possible to ensure legal certainty to transactions that take place through anelectronic modality [1]
.
Therefore, electronic identity enables convenient and secure accessto a large number of public services. Over the last decade, this need for electronic identity,along with electronic signature, which would protect the confidentiality and integrity of data, became even more eminent in all domains of public sphere. All transactionscompleted with use of electronic identity and electronic signature, along with support of  proper lawful acts, offer the users a legal support (legal signature).The European Union has clearly recognized the importance of introduction of eIDsolutions, as strongly expressed in "eID White Paper" from 2003: "…electronic identity isof major importance for the deployment of secure e-Government, e-administration and e-commerce services, and that interoperable eID systems can help in bringing Europetogether" [2]. This issue is also well addressed in many other EU policy papers such asi2010 EU policy framework for the information society and media, adopted by theEuropean Commission in 2005 [3], "A Roadmap for a pan-European eIDM Framework by2010" [4], and similar. Therefore, many EU countries have introduced eID systems even before 2006 (Finland starting from 1999, Estonia since 2002, Belgium 2004, Italy, Sweden,Austria, and Spain 2005) [5].In this paper, we are using two case studies of conceptually different, but wellimplemented eID systems (Austria and Belgium), and one case study of a country withoutimplemented eID system (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to illustrate the importance of eIDmanagement as the key enabler of integrated and accessible e-Government solutions.
2.
 
Case: Belgium
Belgium is comprised of no less than five government instances: federal, community,regional, provincial and the municipality levels – each of which is responsible for particular domains of public services [6].
 
Yet, the vision delineated by the FEDICT
1
, the FederalPublic Service for ICT of the Belgian Federal Government, responsible for defining andimplementing an e-Government strategy
,
is to
“Enable one virtual government consistent to the customers with full respect for every single competency.”
 We will illustrate by an example of Belgium, how structural obstacles can be overcometo make an operational e-Government system, including the Electronic Identity system asits highlight and a baseline for further development of services. To address the
1
FEDICT was created by Royal Order on May 11, 2001, as part of the plans of the first VerhofstadtGovernment to modernise the federal administration
 
governmental complexity issue, in March 2001 the co-operation agreement was signed
2
  between the Belgium federal State and the communities and regions in the context of constructing and operating a common E-platform [7]. The aim of the co-operationagreement’s signatories is to use ICT to transmit information to all citizens, companies,organizations and authorities in a user- friendly way, and to provide opportunities for carrying out electronic transactions with authorities in a trusted, secured environment.Under this agreement, the parties created an integrated E-platform with the eID card as itskey component, to facilitate rapid, direct communication between government and citizens,companies and other organizations, as well as among the parties themselves. This, the primary mission of the eID project was: ”to give Belgian citizens an electronic identity cardenabling them to authenticate themselves towards diverse applications and to put digitalsignatures
3
.”The Belgian electronic identity card has the following features:1.
 
Visual and electronic identification of the cardholder;2.
 
Electronic authentication of the cardholder using the digital key pair technique;3.
 
Generating an electronic signature with legal force by the digital key pair technique(non-repudiation);4.
 
The Belgian electronic identity card thus does not function as an electronic currency.The Belgian electronic identity card is structured as a processor chip card. It enables thedata being printed on the card
4
, and simultaneously the data are piled up on the processor chip of the card
5
. The use of private keys and the corresponding certificates is protected bya PIN code. The use of a qualified e-signature will require the entering of the PIN codeevery time a signature is to be placed, while the use of biometry is not practiced due to theexpensive and complex supplementary equipment which is required for this purpose. It isinteresting that the strategic decision has been made to use the eID card only as a means of identification, authentication and placing e-signature, and not as a means of transmittingdata. The data is transmitted over networks, with the eID card serving the identification andauthorization purpose. The storage of data on the eID card would place the burden on thecardholder to update those data whenever they change. Electronic data exchange over anetwork relieves the cardholder from the tedious duty of regularly updating the card.With regards to the actual process of creation of the eID card, as part of the competitiveselection process, the Government has selected a service provider to produce eID cards,while the certification authority was selected to produce certificates
6
. The focal point for issuing certificates are the municipalities, who are entrusted with acting as service countersfor eID cardholders and performing the identity checks required to issue the cards.To ensure that the eID card qualifies for the security standards for placing a qualifieddigital signature outlined in the Directive 1999/93/EC [8] of the European Parliament andof the Council of 13 December 1999 on a Community framework for electronic signatures,it is tested by a body competent for that purpose, in compliance with the prerequisites of theannex III of this Directive. In addition, the certification authority chosen by theadministration requests its accreditation by a body competent for this purpose, to verify
2 This co-operation agreement was signed by the Federal State, Flemish Community, French Community,German-speaking Community, Flemish Region, Walloon Region, Region of Brussels-Capital, FlemishCommunity Commission, French Community Commission and Common Community Commission.
3
http://www.fedict.belgium.be/4 The following data are printed on the card and can be read visually: the single ID key; ID number; basicidentification data (name, gender, date and place of birth, nationality); residence; photo; handwritten signatureof cardholder and municipality official; card’s period of validity; place of issue.5 In addition to the duplication of the above listed, this additional data are entered on the processor chip of thecard: private key with a corresponding certificate that can be used for e-authentication; a private key with acorresponding certificate that can be used by the cardholder to place an electronic signature with legal force.
 
6
www.ksz.fgov.be

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