Swedish venture backs e-ID standard

A group of banks and mobile operators have for the first time agreed on a common standard for secure electronic identification (e-ID) on mobile phones.

The partners in the new venture include banks Danske Bank Sweden, FöreningsSparbanken, Handelsbanken, Ikanobanken, Länsförsäkringar Bank and SkandiaBanken, along with tele-communications experts TeliaSonera Sweden, and Ericsson.

The technology for e-IDs has been around for a while, but a major agreement has proved more elusive. With this new standard a mobile phone can be used for secure electronic identification and for authorization of signatures in a number of services.

The international standard is based on an electronic identification tied to the SIM card in a mobile phone. The e-ID is issued by banks or other authorized issuers of electronic IDs. The solution enables the secure identification of a person through his/her mobile phone, allowing people in the future to do their banking business, file their tax forms or even vote over a mobile phone, among other applications.

According to a TeliaSonera, initial tests with the new standard are expected to take place during the second half of 2005. Simultaneously, the partners will be campaigning to get e-ID accepted as a global standard.