The sovereignty of a State entails the duty to protect the identity of its citizens. The challenge is to create a successful trusted digital environment where the fight against cybercrime, document fraud and identity theft are the real encounters. Apart from allowing more protection and security, such a digital trusted framework is definitively a real vector of competitiveness and growth for the global economy. That is why today the main concern of States lies in the security of identity credentials of their citizens. Celine Gouveia explains how States can benefit from a multicredentials platform.

While prioritising security and the fight against crimi­nality, all States and their government agencies seek to offer efficient and profitable e‑Government services to their citizens, who wish to have speedy, secure and easy access to those services and to relevant informa­tion they can use to interact digitally and seamlessly with these services. To meet these needs, turnkey solutions for the implementation of a multicredentials platforms are nowadays available – a unique technical solution for managing several types of secure documents, such as passports, identity cards, driving licenses, govern­ment officer cards, official employee ID cards, health service ID cards, secure administrative documents, diplomas and examination papers.

Creating confidence

One of the major objectives of the States, if not the most important, is to be able to build a fully secure multicredential platform on which they can rely over time and with confidence. Such a platform also brings considerable advantages to States. It allows them to modernise identity documents, to raise security levels to international standards, and thus fight against fraud more effectively. By offering a guarantee to citizens that their data are protected, States strengthen the link between their administrations and their citizens, thus creating solid foundations for a future digital economy. Finally, by optimising the costs, modernising enrolment services, creating and issuing secure credentials, the multicredentials platform solution appears more than ever to be the future security solution for States all over the world.

Integrated process

A multicredentials platform is at the heart of a compre­hensive solution for issuing secure identity credentials with a four-step optimised and fully integrated process:

  1. enrolment
  2. training and validation
  3. dynamic management of records
  4. presentation of certificates or titles

Key objectives

Originally designed by the French State to administer its official credentials, the multicredentials platform answers the following key objectives:

  • to ensure a maximum level of global security;
  • to enable States to retain total sovereignty over their citizens’ data;
  • to adapt to the specific features and constraints of each country and in accordance with international standards;
  • to optimise the costs of implementation and exploitation;
  • to promote modularity and upgradable, future-proof, solutions. In order to ensure the longevity of the solution, transfers of skills, supports and assistance to issuing authorities are part of the global offer.

Flexibility and adaptability

Achieving total security is indeed met by isolating the customisation environment, but also by the proposed techniques and technologies which provide States with a system that ensures their full sovereignty over their data and respects full confidentiality. Embedded with the specificities and constraints of each country, the multicredential platform reduces the costs of
imple­mentation and operation to a minimum, and further­more allows the modularity and scalability of solutions while optimising the quality and production deadlines and the application of international standards. The whole solution is sustained by a solid transfer of skills, and monitored and evaluated on a regular basis. The services offered are fully interoperable, scalable and adaptable to the contexts of states and governments. Thus, the multicredentials platform can adapt to all digital systems, customise all types of secure creden­tials and ensure cloud archiving on third-party servers.

Governments’ concerns

There is no denial that today’s major concerns for governments are to promote good governance and to strengthen security. Indeed, the two combined
allow governments to be aware of their citizens’
needs based on reliable solutions, and to
issue and deliver secure identity
documents.

Promoting good governance

The process to promote good governance includes three major steps:

  1. the definition of effective policies and the control of expenditures;
  2. the organisation of reliable and transparent elections;
  3. the modernisation of the Administration in order to allow the implementation of e-Government services.

This comprehensive solution entails three different phases:

  1. the enrolment phase, during which the applicant’s data are captured digitally and transferred;
  2. the instruction and validation phase with data management and control, biometric data control, the creation of a citizen database, the notification of civil status events and civil status certificates application;
  3. the certificates delivery phase.

Together, these phases form an all-in-one process allowing governments to promote good governance with national population registration, targeted popu­lations registration, elections and management of public records.

Strengthening security

The process to strengthen security helps States to achieve three major goals:

  • to fight identity theft, criminality and terrorism;
  • to control their borders and monitor migration flows;
  • to meet the obligations with regard to the inter­national community.

Secure document issuing needs to entail the engineering and deployment of solutions from the individuals’ registration to the personalisation and delivery of secure documents. This process comprises four different steps:

  1. the enrol­ment with the digitali­sation and transfer of the applicant’s data;
  2. the instruction and validation step with data manage­ment and control, biometric data control and the creation of the document applicants’ database;
  3. the production and personalisation entailing pass­port booklet manufacturing, card manufacturing, and personalisation;
  4. the delivery of documents, such as passports, identity cards, driving licenses, professional cards and secure documents, all manufactured on one single multidocument platform.

The multicredentials platform meets all the challenges of the passport issuing authority, including issuing ICAO-compliant passports, visas and identity cards, as well as setting up a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for e-Passport issuance, developing an electronic border control programme and setting up a robust and secure issuance system.

The benefits of using a multicredentials platform are multiple. It makes processes more efficient, it reduces the risk of fraud and mismanagement, it reduces the need for personnel at the issuance process, and it reduces initial investment and support costs.

Selecting the right partner

In order to actively combat terrorism, cybercrime, document fraud and identity theft, now more than ever the priority of States is to reassure their citizens and the international scene by securing identities. However, solely securing identities is no longer enough, and the need for reassurance has moved forward the protection of the whole identity production chain, while meeting budget targets.

The logic of centralisation prevails. It offers an unparalleled opportunity for the harmonisation and standardisation of identity documents, on a single multicredentials platform, meeting the sovereign needs from the different departments that retain full control of their databases. Such a platform can significantly reduce costs and maintenance, drastically increase the security level, and reinforce the intelligence training for dedicated individuals who possess multiskills to run different credentials on a single platform. Secure ID operators can assist States in this process. France is one of a number of European countries that has opted for a centralised production platform.

Selecting an agnostic partner capable of integrating different technologies to implement a multicredentials platform is essential – it will determine the success or failure of the committed investment. It will ensure the reversibility of the solution and will leave sovereign States free to make their own technology choices. The selected partner should also have strong references worldwide. Experience and exper­tise are the two key­words to ensure the successful establishment of a multi­credentials platform production centre and the know-how necessary to operate it on a daily basis.

Case study: Focus on Gabon

In 2013, the Gabonese Project was delivered by the French Imprimerie Nationale. The government of Gabon wanted to customise various secure documents, including passports, visas, resident permits, refugee cards and agent cards, as well as provide a competitive solution and guarantee total sovereignty over data and support.

The solution, a multidocument platform, was specifically designed to customise documents, and assured the electronic archiving of document application files. Intended to personalise passports, visas, residence permits, refu­gee cards and agent cards, the platform also ensures the electronic archiving of demand securities records.

The implementation platform for Gabon was based on production control software and a personalisation workshop. The key results of this success story: the most demanding security standards were satisfied, a solid transfer of competence was done, and a tailor-made approach was designed. Three major deliverables made a success of this project: the implementation of the structure required for printing and encoding the new e‑Passport, the implementation of a PKI, and the implementation of the interfaces required to inter­connect the different applications, as to supply e‑Passport books, visa stickers, refugee cards, agent cards and resident permits.

The testimony of the Gabonese government under­lines the relevance of multicredentials platforms:
“We demand a system of which we are completely sovereign. It allows the Gabonese State to achieve the highest safety standards by incorporating specific, local constraints and all the acquired international experience in a spirit of independence. The contract includes a transfer of sovereignty, freedom in the evolu­tion of systems and the preservation of free competition in expanding scopes of the Gabonese State.”