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Private sector rejection Swiss want state-run eID system, suggests poll

A smartphone displays an eID system

The cantons of Zug (pictured) and Schaffhausen have also developed eID systems.

(@ Keystone / Alexandra Wey)

An overwhelming majority of Swiss people appear to have rejected a decision by the government and parliament to hand control of a national eID scheme to the private sector. These are the findings of a recent poll.

In March, parliament endorsed the government’s recommendation to allow private sector companies to build a system for electronic identities. The front-runner is one developed by Swiss Post and the Swiss Railways, which has the backing of a consortium of large firms.

Some 87% of respondents to a poll said they wanted the state to not just check a national eID system, but also control it. Some 80% also said they wanted to use eID to sign legally-binding signatures, a service that is not available on the leading system.

Opponents of a privately-run eID system say it could be exploited for commercial reasons. The Swiss Alliance of Consumer Associationsexternal link told Swiss public broadcaster SRF that there is a need for digital ID in the country, but only if it is run correctly

"Proof of identity is a sovereign task that the state cannot outsource," said the organisation’s head Sara Stalderexternal link. The consumer watchdog has joined forces with a range of other organisations to lobby against a private sector-run digital identity system.

The Demoscopeexternal link poll, commissioned by the democracy association PublicBetaexternal link, interviewed 973 voters in May. The error range is +/- 5%.

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