Got your SuissID?
Internet-based platforms allowing for C2G (citizen to government) transactions, such as internet voting or other services proposed by online governmental portals, must be able to correctly identify the citizen who tries to conclude the transaction. That’s the identification and authentication problem.
Up to now most cantonal administrations propose online transactions that are concluded in great part online but whose validation, especially when the signing of the document is needed, has to be done manually and the final document handed over in a more traditional way (personally or by post). Internet voting, a transaction which is concluded online, is a special case: the identification is done through codes printed on the voting card that voters receive at home prior to each vote and the authentication is based on information known by the citizen (date of birth, commune of origin). The use of the digital signature has so far been very limited. Now things are slowly changing and the use of digital identification is increasing, not least thanks to support by the Confederation for the introduction of SuissID – a standard for digital identification and signature.
The cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura who have an internet portal on which citizens can conclude a number of transactions with the cantonal administration, have opted for SuissID as an identification tool. One of the SuissID providers is the Swiss Post – it collaborated with canton Jura to launch their online portal. Now the Swiss Post has signaled its intention to also get involved in cantonal internet voting projects. The Post is at the same time the distributor of postal votes. Distant postal voting is the most used voting channel in Switzerland and the Swiss Post enjoys a high level of trust in the population. Post’s future involvement may create new dynamics in the development of internet voting and 2013 may turn out to be a crucial testing year for the Post’s internet voting project.