On 7 March 2021, Swiss will vote on whether to accept laws to allow the issuance of electronic IDs.
Switzerland’s government has come up with a plan to improve online identification via an e-ID. The aim is to create a secure reliable form of electronic ID that can be used online. To this end it has drafted laws to enable its rollout.
The e-ID would be voluntary. Anyone who wants one must apply to a federally approved provider. The provider forwards the application to the Confederation, which checks the applicant’s identity and gives the provider permission to issue the e-ID.
Providers would be responsible for dealing with the e-ID’s technical aspects. Providers may be companies, cantons or communes. The Confederation would monitor their management of the e-ID system continuously.
As with any identification procedure, issuing and using the e-ID would generate personal data. In the case of the e-ID, the regulations on data protection would be even stricter than usual.
However, not everyone likes the plan and opponents have successfully called a referendum against the new law. Those against it do not like the government’s plan to allow private companies to issue the IDs and handle sensitive personal data. They think that it is something that should be managed and run only by government.
The Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive branch, parliament (144 yes, 51 no, 2 abstentions), and the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house (35 yes, 2 no, 8 abstentions), are all in favour of the new law.
Based on a recent survey, a majority of the Swiss public (54%) appears to be against the new e-ID.