new official app to verify your identity with your smartphone

What is French identity?

The result of the inter-ministerial program is the mobile application France Identity, available from Thursday in early access, currently only on phones equipped with the Android operating system and equipped with NFC near-field communication.

This will allow holders of the new National Identity Card (CNIe) in the form of an electronic chip-enabled credit card to more easily verify their identity online or during physical procedures, with the option of revealing only certain information, such as proving their legal age.

France is one of the latest European countries to adopt CNIe. Since the summer of 2021, 4.5 million of these cards have been distributed.

Do what ?

France Identity is set to be the first application in France to provide a “high” level of assurance in terms of digital identity, in line with the reference structure of the European e-IDAS regulation. This level is not yet required for any online service, but it should eventually allow access to health data, the development of a fully dematerialized power of attorney, or even e-voting.

In the meantime, France Identity will provide access to France Connect, a portal used by more than 37 million people today to pay taxes, get information about their pension rights or their driver’s license points balance, and France Connect+, a version of it that requires “substantial » level of guarantee, for example, to open an account in an online bank.

Another France Identity functionality, the only one currently available, allows the creation of one-time digital identities, thus avoiding sending copies of the original document, for example when renting an apartment: one of the most common sources of identity theft.

Can we do without our ID?

No, because the data remains on the card. “I think that in 2022 you will have to completely remove your ID from your phone,” like contactless mobile payments or an Apple wallet in the US, estimates Mark Nolen, director of AriadNext, specifying that this is what is expected by Brussels with a European digital wallet.

But this availability has been delayed for the moment because it requires the use of proprietary systems from phone manufacturers.

In its current format, “the France Identity app is not very useful,” says Hervé Bonazzi, director of Archipels, a joint venture between La Poste, EDF, Engie and Caisse des dépôts. “Nevertheless, it is a necessary and important document for the future of digital identity in Europe,” which, he says, should ultimately “link various data about you” with social security number, mutually certified income, etc.

Recommended to start

The government says it has learned the lessons of Alysem and has decided to ditch biometrics in favor of using a personal code to unlock access to ID information. This will be sent by registered mail first, and more third-party verification will be required to access the most sensitive services.

Kniel this time greeted “very favorably” the draft decree published at the end of April.

The use of the app will also remain strictly optional and “is not intended to replace alternative methods, paper forms or counters,” the government promises.