The government wants to allow documents to be added to the digital wallet

Czechs can upload their ID and driving licenses to their phones. They will no longer need to carry a plastic card. In the future, the government wants to allow birth certificates and other documents to be added to the digital wallet. According to experts, this is supposed to be a more secure option than the current, traditional documents. The chances of misuse are minimal.

“We aim to get this done by the end of next year. We are counting on the fourth quarter of 2023,” Anna Urbanová from the press department of the Government Office’s digitalization section said. Citizens would thus be able to leave their traditional ID cards at home and use only their electronic forms voluntarily.

“Plastic cards will not disappear. It’s not that we are forcing everyone to have a smartphone. We are just giving an alternative to people who are used to using their phones to pay,” said Ondřej Profant (Pirates), advisor to Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalisation Ivan Bartos (Pirates) at the Ministry for Regional Development.

In the first wave of operations, it will be possible to add an ID card and a driving license to the app. In the following years, it will also include a birth certificate, a professional card, a vehicle registration certificate, an insurance card, a card for people with disabilities, a residence permit, and more.

Profant said certificates of the highest educational attainment, debt-free status, or criminal record would also be considered. However, it will not yet replace the passport. “With a passport, it would be of little use because it is primarily about cross-border contact, where you have to have a guaranteed form,” he said, referring to the need for biometric data.

The exact form and functioning of the app are currently being fine-tuned. However, they will likely be similar to the digital infection-free ID card, Tečka, where citizens upload their vaccination certificates, i.e., based on a black and white QR code.

This will be scanned by a clerk, postman, or police officer to verify that the document is valid and will also display a photo, as on a traditional ID card. At the same time, each person can set in the app what data to provide for the check.

The Czech Republic should be among the first EU countries to introduce such solutions. The cabinet is now only waiting for an EU decision, but the technical solution is ready. It will then be extended to other countries. “At the time of launch, the application will not be compatible throughout the EU. However, in the context of the eIDAS regulation, which addresses this matter at the European level, a European digital wallet is being developed, which is to be implemented in member states in 2025. Our eTreasury should be ready for this,” added Urbanová.

“We don’t want to be the last in Europe this time. Next year, the EU regulation will be finalized, passed through the European Parliament, and fully effected in three years. But we don’t want to wait another few years,” Profant said.

The app will meet high-security requirements and count on protection against hacker attacks. Like with the Tečka app, access will only be possible by entering a code, making it much more difficult for would-be forgers to get hold of documents.

“The security risks are not too great, and the documents may be even more secure. There will be an option to report loss and deactivation. Even if a citizen loses his mobile phone, he will have his documents secured with a fingerprint or a code, just as he has a credit card in his phone,” the Deputy Prime Minister’s adviser on digitalization pointed out.