Digital identity app mRiik delayed, legal amendments necessary

mRiik mobile application.
mRiik mobile application. Source: RIA

The preliminary phase of testing for mRiik, the national digital identity application that was launched January this year, has been completed; however, additional technological and legislative modifications are necessary. It is yet unclear when digital identity public services via mobile devices will be available.

"The first phase of development of the Estonian e-Governance mobile app (mRiik) has been finished, and the technical solution meets the pilot product's objectives. We are starting the second phase of development, during which we will build an adequate legal foundation for the mobile application's wide-scale operation and further expand the application's functionality, design and technical solutions," Paul Pihlak, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, told ERR.

When asked about the potential duration for the implementation of the second phase, the ministry representative replied that the state legislature would have a significant say in the matter, given that legislation revisions would be necessary to implement the mRiik mobile app.

"In the pilot version of the app, copies of identity documents were screened, but these are currently not legally suitable to prove identity. We decided to make the app available to the public when the app's documents could be used as legal alternatives to physical documents," Pihlak said.

He explained that in order to accomplish this, the Identity Documents Act must be amended to provide a legal foundation for identity documents and to legitimize identity verification using the data stored on mobile devices.

Elen Kraavik, adviser at the ministry's border guard and migration policy department, told ERR that the ministry is in ongoing communication with the State Information System Agency (RIA) and the Ministry of Justice regarding the need to amend the law.

"We plan to submit the draft law amending the Identity Documents Act for approval later this year," she said.

"It is difficult to say when the amendment will become effective as it is dependent on the work schedule of the parliament," Pihlak added.

Pihlak also explained that the principles of the personalized state are planned to be extended to the app. "We will also draw on the long-standing and global experience of the Estonian private sector in providing e-government services. To that purpose, the State Information System Agency will synchronize the vision for application development and revise the roadmap in collaboration with the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications and other private sector stakeholders," he said.

When asked which solutions are being developed further, Pihlak said that technical solutions, such as authentication and the ability to add various services to the program are being considered.

The State Information System Agency oversees the development of mRiik, a mobile application for public services, on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

"We have a vision to work towards, which is to produce an app that satisfies the high needs and user expectations of the Estonian digital country," Greta Preast, head of the RIA's national mobile application service, told ERR on Friday.

Next to mDocuments (ID-card, passport, driver's license) and services that can be found on the state portal (my children; prescriptions; healthcare forms; dental and prosthesis benefit information; my vehicles; car insurance history, etc.), there are also three external interfaces: the national Bürokratt, Estonian AI assistant for public services, the environment Anna Teada to inform the local government or the state agency about a public order problem, and the Land Cadastre register and maps.

The application will be downloadable from the App Store (iOS users) and the Google Play Store (Android users) once it has been released. Similar to national authentication, the majority of logins will require a Mobile-ID or Smart-ID.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa

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