With electronic services becoming increasingly numerous, security and reliable authentication of identity is becoming ever more important. More and more confidential messages are sent and different services are used online.
The Population Register Centre creates an electronic identity for Finnish citizens when providing them with a personal identity code. The electronic client identifier is used for electronic user identification in secure online transactions. It is a dataset consisting of a series of numbers and a check character that helps identify Finnish citizens and, in accordance with the Municipality of Residence Act, foreign citizens permanently residing in Finland who are entered in the Population Information System.
The electronic client identifier is activated when a person receives a certificate card, utilising the Population Register Centre's Citizen Certificate, for instance an ID card. The Citizen Certificate is an electronic identity, which contains, among other information, a citizen’s first name, last name and an electronic client identifier.
The Population Register Centre's Citizen Certificate may be attached at the moment to the ID card.
Electronic transactions made with the Citizen Certificate are secure. The certificate is used for identifying, encrypting e-mails and documents and providing electronic signature. Electronically signed document is legally as binding and undisputed as a document with a traditional signature.
The Population Register Centre is currently the only so called Certificate Authority of qualified certificates in Finland that is able to issue Pan-European certificates, as specified by the Act and the relevant EU Directive, that provide high levels of information security and contain the correct identity. Every personal certificate issued by the Population Register Centre is a qualified certificate.
Information about electronic identity is contained on two web sites
Information about electronic identity is contained on two web sites of the Population Register Centre. The main site, www.vrk.fi/en, discusses the topic on a general level. The fineid.fi site, www.fineid.fi, introduces Population Register Centre's certificate products and services and the technical descriptions as well as online services that use the Citizen Certificate.
The Population Register Centre main site's Electronic Identity and Certificates section discusses the use of an ID card as well as the Population Register Centre's certificates and role as a Certification Authority. The site also contains an introduction to the operation of the international Porvoo Group.
The Population Register Centre's fineid.fi site offers technical information about the Citizen Certificate and other Population Register Centre's certificate products. It also includes technical descriptions of certificates' information content, revocation lists and certificate directory specifications. The site also contains, for instance, certificate policies, FINeID specifications and other standards, and information about legislation, online services that use the Citizen Certificate and international development of the adoption of certificates. In addition, a card reader software can be downloaded.