Hong Kong Invests in Electronic Identification for Data Security

Hong Kong plans to invest more than HK$100 million to introduce a new “electronic identification” within the next two years as part of its smart city plan and in order to boost data security. Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung states that the e-ID would allow residents easier access to online services offered by the government and stronger safeguards of their personal data. It’s expected that the new e-ID will enable more accurate verification of a person’s identity by checking more markers, such as fingerprints and biochemical information.

Other countries around the globe are already using this technology. NemID in Denmark is a national electronic ID and digital signature infrastructure that provides Danish citizens – free of charge – a common identification method that allows them to access both public and private services. As Denmark is committed to creating an e-government, it required easy, unambiguous, and secure identification of citizens, businesses and employees – including the ability to sign electronic documents to give them full legal value.

In Germany, the e-ID uses two authentication factors to perform authentication, “possession” (eID card) and “knowledge” (6-digit PIN). A mutual authentication between the chip of the eID card and the government agency or private service provider – such as a bank – takes place, thus doubly ensuring security in transactions with no third-parties involved.

Israel issues a Smart ID card that contains an electronic chip with the unique biometric measures and data of the person including a facial features image and images of the fingerprints of both forefingers. Embedded in the ID card are also details of the owner’s identity. It allows residents to identify themselves online from home and perform various activities on Israeli government websites and institutions, by entering a personal password given to the smart ID cards holder. It also enables the use of certified electronic signature with various agencies who opt to use it.