Czech Government Decides to Keep Personal Identification Numbers in Citizen Cards

The Czech government has decided to keep personal identification numbers (PINs) in citizen cards despite a previous regulation that aimed to replace them with meaningless identifiers by 2025. The decision was made after resistance from the public and private sectors, as PINs are currently used as identifiers for public authorities and private relationships.

PINs were supposed to be replaced with client identifiers or numbers of personal documents, but the change would require significant investment in private information systems. Moreover, some state agendas have not yet been prepared for the transition.

According to the decision proponents, PINs are still considered necessary for the reliable identification of physical persons. They ensure a person’s unique identification not only in the public but also in the private sector. By contrast, client or meaningless identifiers may cause confusion or errors in information systems.

Even though PINs can reveal a person’s age and gender, most people do not seem to mind their use. In a survey, 90.4% of respondents said PINs did not bother them, while only 6.4% thought PINs should be abolished.

The decision has been welcomed by Vice Premier for Digitalization Ivan Bartoš, who previously argued for reducing the use of PINs. He explained that a law passed 13 years ago could not have predicted the progress in digital and identification technologies. However, after consulting with partners, he discovered nobody wanted to change the current system.

The government’s decision has implications for the future of digital identification in the Czech Republic. While PINs will remain in use, the government may need to consider alternative identification systems that can meet the public and private sectors’ needs.