Danish digital safety upgrade.
Text: Mariano Anthony Davies
Denmark is the most digital country in Europe. For years, the Danish Agency for Digitization has been developing strategic collaborations to set the course for digital transformation. These collaborations led to the creation of NemID in 2010. At the time, NemID was one of the best digital identity solutions in the world.
Since 2021, Nem ID has gradually been replaced by Mit ID. If you are registered and live in Denmark, you will receive a message in your eBoks, when you need to do something. NemID is a common secure login on the Internet, whether you are doing your online banking, finding out information from the public authorities or engaging with one of the many businesses that use NemID.
It allows you to use the same login everywhere. So whether you are doing your online banking or you need to view your tax file, the way you log in will be exactly the same. It consists of a User ID, a Password and a Code Card containing codes (one-time passwords). You first enter your User ID and Password and then a code from your Code Card when you log on.
You can use it on most computers with an Internet connection. There are only three things to remember: Your User ID, Password and Code Card. You choose your own User ID and Password, and the Code Card is a little piece of laminated card about the size of a credit card, which you need to look after carefully. You can also take NemID with you and use it on other computers.
The goal of this migration to MitID has been to provide Danish society with a more resilient Electronic ID solution.
With modern smart phones, a NemID App can be downloaded, and this App can replace the physical Code Card, which has a limited number of codes which need to be replaced once all the codes have been used.
NemID is still a very reliable solution. However, after more than ten years since its creation, new challenges have emerged. To ensure that the national digital identity infrastructure can meet future needs, a significant update of the ID solution was necessary. Therefore, the migration to MitID was planned as part of Denmark’s Digital Strategy 2016-2020 to equip citizens, businesses and public sector employees with a more secure digital ID solution.
The goal of this migration to MitID has been to provide Danish society with a more resilient eID solution. In addition, the new solution should withstand the digital threats that the future might bring. Another practical reason is the expiration of the NemID contract with Nets. Due to tender obligations, the Danish Digitization Agency had to select a new tender to provide a digital ID. This created an opportunity to re-consider the existing identification system and evaluate the need for a better eID.
MitID has been introduced to Danish citizens and businesses since May 2021. The transition period will continue until the end of 2022. This means that public authorities and organizations will have to support NemID and MitID during the migration period. Danes will be able to use both eIDs until NemID is phased out.
MitID is primarily intended as an app accessible via a smartphone or tablet. The MitID App looks and works similarly to the NemID App – you can still approve activities, transactions and payments by swiping your finger on the screen. In addition, users can log in to the App with their User ID and Password. However, there will also be physical options to use MitID, such as:
Code viewer: The size of a USB stick displays the code needed to approve the activity. The device shuts down after every use and has a 10-year lifespan.
Chip: For high-frequency use or when the highest level of security is required, a MitID chip (U2F unit) is available for purchase and can be ordered at MitID.dk. You have to press the button on the chip to approve the activity. The chip then communicates directly with a mobile or computer using Bluetooth, NFC (like contactless payment) or USB.
Code reader: For blind and visually impaired people who will receive a special Code Reader. This device shows the one-time codes on a large screen and reads them aloud (both in Danish and English).