Digital Identity in Romania
Author: Andrei Dumitru | Executive Partner ITSS
Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | The Paypers
The following article was published in ThePaypers, Voice of the Industry section, on Wednesday, 11 May 2022, 07:39 CET. It was edited by Mirela Ciobanu. You can find the original version following this link: https://thepaypers.com/expert-opinion/digital-identity-in-romania--1256263.
"With the EC advancing the initiative for a European wide Digital Identity Wallet, Andrei Dumitru from IT Smart Systems shares how Romanians are setting up local digital identity solutions to get ready.
Online Account Opening (OAO) and Online Contract Signing (OCS), including identity verification, have really accelerated in adoption in the past 3 years in Romania, with an increasing number of players offering these features for their end customers, especially in the financial services and fintech, insurance, and utility industries. The most frequently seen implementation in Romania includes video identification with an assisting human operator and it is typically available during normal work hours 9 am to 6 pm, with the level of friction being moderate and the waiting times in queue (for an available operator) that goes beyond 15 minutes in some cases.
With the Romanian Digitalisation Agency (ADR) initiative for a Centralised Digital Identity Platform still in process of implementation, currently estimated to be finalised by 31 August 2023, there is still a huge opportunity to connect private and public digital services using trusted digital identity in an ecosystem that puts the end customer in the centre and focuses on privacy, convenience, and security. In the end, the successful implementation can also speed up the identity verification processes required in several onboarding processes.
When the end customer is looking for purely digital interaction, in a context where this is important for him, a trusted digital identity that is accepted at multiple touchpoints enables the just-in-time connection of private and public services together.
Centralised digital identity, implemented on top of the public identity services, can potentially help to:
reduce the friction of several existing sign-up and account activation processes;
increase the number of digital transactions and the conversion rate;
boost the user experience for several user journeys, especially regarding the relation maintained by the end-customer with the public services.
With the European Commission (EC) advancing the initiative for a European wide Digital Identity Wallet (as part of the revision to the Electronic Identification, Authentication, and Trust Services Regulation, eIDAS 2), EU citizens including Romanian citizens could soon opt-in to prove their identity, enrol, or share consent-driven information with public services, cross-border services, or private services. As the DIW (Digital Identity Wallet) is linked to sensitive data access and potential privacy issues, broader conversations are now happening to reach a consensus on this topic.
The successful adoption and positive impact of a centralised digital identity solution must be accompanied by proper governance and privacy controls firmly set up throughout the solution.
While platforms such as ghiseul.ro, the almost one-stop-shop for private individuals’ property tax, fines, and public services payments, are the living proof that integrated platforms can deliver value with a short time to market, there is still a lot of work to be done at the level of interoperability between the main public services in Romania: tax office, population registry, and police office.
Innovation is on the way
In this context, the start-up sunt.io, co-founded by Lendrise and IT Smart Systems, is working ambitiously to deliver a new trusted Identity Provider (IDP) solution for the Romanian market. With a cloud solution based on open standards and best-in-class identity verification, the platform will compete in the ecosystem of established IDPs.
As a contributor to the project, I can say I am very excited about how this is shaping up and feel sunt.io will play a key role in the Digital Identity ecosystem in Romania in the next decade. sunt.io is built with high standards of privacy in mind and advocates for customer informed consent for information sharing as one of the core values of the IDP.
sunt.io will offer end-customers and partners identity verification and qualified trusted services that meet the requirements set out in eIDAS Article 8 regarding the assurance levels substantial or high. This would enable the sunt.io end-customers to:
initiate Online Account Opening (OAO);
initiate Online Contract Signing (OCS);
acquire from a QTSP a qualified signature using remote identity verification;
open new buyer journeys in the digital space.
All of these will be accessed remotely and with no compromise on privacy or end-to-end security. The solution is also being positioned as a competitive offering, an alternative to the established processes of identity verification.
Participant in the GAIN (Global Assured Identity Network) Proof of Concept (an interoperability exercise between Identity Providers, Service Providers, and Relying Parties), sunt.io is also looking at solving expat and cross border use-cases in the future, where the level of assurance required for transactions or identity assertions could be further standardised."
Please read the full version of this article in ThePaypers.
Andrei Dumitru, Executive Partner, is an experienced consultant in the fields of Digital Customer Experience, IT Security, Digital Identity, and Digital Business Transformation. Over the last 17 years, Andrei helped large international customers from the Telecom and Banking industries to accelerate their Digital Transformation Programs. Lately, he focused on R&D around Open Banking and Digital Identity, particularly the security challenges, in close cooperation with leading software vendors and initiative groups. Following this direction, he co-founded Smart Fintech, an innovation lab set to deliver innovative open banking solutions that emerge from the two words: Finance and Technology.