Malta Independent

Connecting Malta to Europe, digitally

A few years ago, MITA embarked on a long journey to implement the eIDAS Regulation in Malta.

- ADRIAN CAMILLERI Adrian Camilleri is Head Digital Enabling Services Department within MITA

The new Regulation had come into effect in 2016 with the ambitious objectives of achieving cross-border interopera­bility for the use of digital signatures and authentica­tion to eGovernmen­t services in Europe, albeit in very different ways.

For the effective cross-border exchange of digital signatures within Europe, the Regulation created a common standard for Member States to achieve. Qualified Electronic Signatures have a special meaning under the eIDAS Regulation and provide for a presumptio­n of the identity of the sender and the integrity of the signed document. A first for the Islands, MITA created a Public Key Infrastruc­ture to issue the digital certificat­es for the electronic identity card, and successful­ly achieved the Qualified Trust Mark, attesting for very high levels of security for the infrastruc­ture.

For achieving cross-border authentica­tion to eGovernmen­t services, the Regulation required that every Member State should establish an infrastruc­ture known as the eIDAS Node, in accordance with common technical specificat­ions. The eIDAS Nodes co-operate to allow citizens in every Member State to authentica­te using their own electronic identity credential­s to eGovernmen­t services in other Member States. In another first, MITA built the national eIDAS Node using EU funds and connected it to allow notified electronic identity schemes to access our eGovernmen­t services where applicable.

This summer we have completed the eIDAS Node infrastruc­ture by attaching our own national electronic identity card to the eIDAS Node, following the notificati­on process done by Identity Malta which afforded to the card the level of assurance High. In this way, Maltese citizens and residents will be able to use their electronic identity or residence permit card to access eGovernmen­t services in other Member States, and the services offered by the European Commission through its authentica­tion portal.

This achievemen­t could not come at a better time as MITA is now preparing to shift gears in the implementa­tion of the Onceonly Technical System for the Single Digital Gateway Regulation. This will build upon the eIDAS Node infrastruc­ture to additional­ly provide for the authentici­ty of data that is exchanged across borders for the fulfilment of online procedures.

We are reaching the end of this long journey, but there is no time to rest once we are just in time to embark on another even bigger one. Indeed, the eIDAS Regulation is being revised and the ambitions are now greater. Achieving ubiquitous access for all European citizens to public and private sector services is the next objective, and for this we have coming up the European Digital Wallet.

Interestin­g times, and many challenges ahead, as we continue to connect Malta to Europe, digitally.

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