Certificates are required for identification via information networks, encryption and electronic signatures. Traditional face-to-face methods of identification are not possible in online services.
A certificate is information presented in a standard format. For instance the Citizen Certificate on an ID card certifies the link between the certificate holder (first name, last name and electronic client identifier) and his or her public key.
The Certification Authority electronically signs its certificates and thus confirms their authenticity. Certificates issued by the Population Register Centre are based on Public Key Infrastructure.
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. The Population Register Centre publishes the issued certificates in a public directory.
In compliance with the Act on Strong Electronic Identification and Electronic Signatures, the Population Register Centre also operates as an identification service provider when providing certificate-based identification devices. In Finland, Certificate Authority of qualified certificates and strong electronic identification service providers are supervised by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.
When the card gets lost
If a card containing certificates is lost, the cardholder has to report the certificates to the revocation list in order to prevent misuse. The responsibility of the certificate holder ceases when the revocation notification is received. The revocation list is a list of cancelled certificates.