Eurosmart comments on Commission proposal
18 June 2012
Eurosmart has published its views on the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market.
The smart security organisation says: “In our digital society, securing digital information and transactions is an important and growing challenge for governments, businesses and individuals alike. Fostering economic growth in Europe will depend on our capacity to develop innovative solutions that will enhance the usability of digital services while protecting privacy and combating fraud. This in turn depends on deploying robust and secure solutions for electronic authentication and signature. The Digital Agenda for Europe establishes a clear legal framework to prevent cybercrime, and to eliminate fragmentation and lack of interoperability, while enhancing digital citizenship.”
Eurosmart says it welcomes the recent proposal from the European Commission for a regulation on eIdentification, eAuthentication and eSignatures as another step forward towards removing existing barriers to Europe’s digital development, but stresses the vital nature of making smart secure devices a mandatory part of this regulation. It adds this was highly successful for mobile telephony and for road safety with the tachograph systems deployment. It must be done again for electronic signature with eIdentification and eAuthentication.”
The organisation points out that the smart security industry, with its European roots, has developed worldwide over more than 20 years to a point where it expects more than 7 billion smart secure devices to be shipped in 2012. “Thanks to the development of international standards, smart secure devices have contributed to the development of mobile telephony (SIMs), secure payments (EMV banking card), eIdentity (ePassports, tachograph, eResident permit, eID cards, eDriving licences, eHealthcare cards, eVoting cards) and solutions for eBanking and eCommerce (smart secure tokens, EMV card readers),” it says.
“Today, the challenge of the digital world is to foster security and trust for Internet-based services. Several electronic identification initiatives exist, notably in Europe, but also in the US.” Eurosmart says it believes that Europe has a great opportunity to federate these initiatives by creating a global and unique electronic identification, authentication and signature standard.
It adds: “We suggest that this electronic identification be secured by a portable smart secure device. In our experience, citizens are more apt to put their trust in a secure, portable and personal object. It acts like a ‘safety deposit box’, containing personal data and rights, protected by strong authentication based on ‘what I have’ (my smart secure device) and ‘what I know’ (the PIN code or password).
“Smart secure devices embed a secure microcontroller that together with secure embedded software cannot be subject to viruses, spoofing, Trojan horses or malware. Even if absolute security doesn’t exist, smart secure devices offer vendor independent guarantees of the highest level of security. They embed powerful cryptographic mechanisms that support a wide range of security functions and are able to resist the highest attack potential in an unsecured environment. Being tamper resistant, an attacker can try any manipulation of the device he wants without breaking its security properties. Throughout their lifecycle, they are updated by certified, secure personalisation and Trusted Services Management, ensuring personal data and secret keys are protected.
“Finally, smart secure devices allow for partial or full anonymous authentication, thus protecting privacy. eService providers could request the authentication of a user without disclosing, for instance, his or her name.
“The proposed regulation for electronic identification and trust services sets an ambitious goal for the development of the European Single Digital market. Reliable electronic identification, trusted by the European citizen and embedded in a portable, smart secure device, is key for fostering growth of the digital economy. Eurosmart’s experts are ready to assist the European Commission as well as member states in reaching this important objective for Europe.”