Israel’s government recently set forth a decision approving the key points of a national “safe identification” policy. The purpose of this policy is to define how a person’s identity is to be verified when receiving government services in a digital mode, in order to improve the services being provided to residents, and to simplify the access to these services.

The setting of a national “safe identification” policy derives from the absence of a uniform approach toward the identification process required to receive services in digital space. This absence has resulted in a bureaucratic burden, both for the recipients of services and for service providers. Recipients of services are caused inconvenience and wasted time due to the need to identify themselves to service providers in different ways and to recall a multitude of usernames and passwords. At the same time, service providers are unable to take advantage of their resources logically and are often barred from supplying digital services due to the lack of safe means of identification.

Various principles for the implementation of safe identification processes were approved within the scope of the decision. These include simplicity and practicality, the need for cyber defense and data security measures, obligations with regard to privacy protection during the identification process (including ensuring a process whereby surplus information is not accumulated), and the use of smart identity cards and mobile phones as a key component of the policy.

According to the guidelines outlined in the decision, four levels of verification are defined, each of which reflects the degree of security in the identity of the entity performing the process. The responsibility for classifying each service according to the appropriate level of verification safety will apply to each service provider. To this end, the guidelines define a process of risk assessment and analysis that is to be implemented as a practical tool for classifying the various services.

The decision states that the private sector will also be integrated in the policy over time, the aim being to provide maximum benefits to the Israeli economy as a whole.