15 Feb 2023 20:34

Putin backs Digital Development Ministry's proposal to introduce digital IDs on smartphones

MOSCOW. Feb 15 (Interfax) - The Russian Ministry of Digital Development will submit jointly with the Federal Security Service (FSB) before May 1 a draft order that would allow using a digital identity document on smartphones instead of a passport in some day-to-day situations, as Russian President Vladimir Putin upheld this proposal on Wednesday.

"Please go ahead, the sooner the better [...] Of course, such services are in great demand in our country, and their introduction just needs to be accelerated. Please draft these documents," Putin said at a meeting with government members in reply to the proposal of Digital Development Minister Maksut Shadayev.

"We would like to ask you to issue an executive order determining in what kind of situations such a digital personal ID on a smartphone could be used as a substitute for a passport [...] We wanted to ask you to task us to submit such a draft order before May 1 jointly with FSB and other concerned agencies. This will allow legalizing this technology," Shadayev said.

There will be only a few situations where a digital personal ID might legally be used instead of a passport, the minister remarked. "We're not cancelling the passport," he said.

The Digital Development Ministry and FSB earlier agreed on a similar technology to allow biometric passport owners to obtain Fan IDs entirely in the digital form through the ministry's app, without applying to a Public Services Center in order to prove one's identity, he said. The owner's identity is verified in this case with the help of their photo recorded on a chip in a biometric passport.

"We did the same thing with the help of the mobile application of Gosuslugi [public services website]. [...] Such technology is ready, it works all simple: you download a photo from your biometric passport directly onto a smartphone and then you need to generate a QR code that you will present, and anyone who wants to check your status verifies your age or your name, surname, your father's name, going to the Gosuslugi mobile app," he said.

The use of such an ID should allow using your smartphone instead of your original passport document "in 80% of cases in such day-to-day, simple situations," he said. This technology is already approved by FSB with regard to security and data protection requirements, Shadayev said.