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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

Ukraine and the state in a smartphone

Mykhailo Federov is Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. The youngest minister in the history of Ukrainian politics, at the age of just 30 he succeeded with opening his own businesses as well as with leading the country's digital revolution. His most important project is the "state in a smartphone", which aims by 2024 to have 100% of all government services available online, with 20% of services provided automatically without the intervention of an official.

“People have no choice but to trust technology” — Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation also said. When it comes to winning trust in government-run digital identity schemes, Fedorov believes that if you give the people an overwhelming amount of convenience that is accompanied by strong cybersecurity, then they will have no choice but to trust the technology. “The pandemic has accelerated our progress. First, people are really now demanding digital, online services. People have no choice but to trust technology. We see what kind of business is developing & this business is influencing the development of our services.” He said. “We have to make a product that is so convenient that a person will be able to disrupt their stereotypes, to breakthrough from their fears, and start using a government-made application” - Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation.

“When we allow a person to register a business in three clicks; when we allow them to pay their taxes in two clicks — no matter how sceptical a person is about the technology, they will start using our services.” - He said. “Our goal is to enable all life situations with this digital ID,” - Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation. Over 50 government services are available online through this EID. Taking the lead internally, the Ministry of Digital Transformation has the ambition to make Ukraine a world champion in being digital, and we are already the first ones who can use digital IDs with no internal restrictions. Diia ID 2.0 allows Ukrainians to access 9 digital documents (ID card, foreign biometric passport, student card, driver’s license, vehicle registration certificate, vehicle insurance policy, tax number, birth certificate, IDP certificate)

Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, was a panellist at the WEF “Scaling Up Digital Identity Systems” session. He shared Ukraine’s progress in digitalization of governmental services. The technology for digital identities is being used in several countries around the world. One of the most ambitious countries in this regard is Ukraine. “Our goal is to enable all life situations with this Digital ID” - Mykhailo Fedorov said. Speaking in the same panel discussion Mykhailo Fedorov said that his government’s goal was to create a digital ID system that within three years would make Ukraine the most convenient State in the world by operating like a digital service provider. “[Ukraine] President Zelensky has tasked our ministry within three years to create one of the most convenient States in the world in terms of the State as a service provider,” said Fedorov. He added, “The Ukrainian Parliament has also adopted a draft law making us one of the first countries to legalize E digital passports, which means an ‘equal sign’ between plastic or paper passports and IDs & Digital IDs, and now they’re accessible in all life situations.” Ukraine has become the first country with a digital ID that is valid and can be used everywhere within the country and the fourth in Europe to launch a digital driving licence & they want to digitise 100% of all state services.

The government also presented Diia City, a large-scale project which would establish a virtual model of a free economic zone for representatives of the creative economy. It would provide for special digital residency with taxation regimes. The Digital ID Services in "Diia": also features sole proprietors, vaccination, electronic passport and Ukrainian Covid Certificates. Banking too: "Mykhailo Fedorov received his first ID-card and immediately tested a new function in Diia - NFC authorization. This is a revolutionary function that is not available in the world yet," the Ministry of Digital Transformation said. Ukraine is proud of its achievements in the field of digitalization. Thus, according to Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine is a world leader in the digital transformation of the public sector. At this event: Chandran Nair (WEF), one of the leading thinkers of our time, an entrepreneur and president of the World Institute of the Future, noted that the world is moving towards a post-Western order and Ukraine is a big part of this. More recently: The Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Called on Crypto Exchanges to Ban Russian Users. However Binance and Kraken have rejected Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov's request to ban Russian users from crypto exchanges. Mykhailo Fedorov said he is grateful to Swiss development partners for supporting digitalization in Ukraine. The Ministry of Digital Transformation cooperates with Swiss Confederation through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (WEF).

Ukraine is the first country in the world to fully legalize digital passports in smartphones

It is enough for Ukrainians to have a phone with a digital passport for any life situation that requires a passport. Biometric passport and ID-card in Diia will be a complete analog of paper and plastic document from August 23, 2021 at the legislative level, while Ukraine - an innovator in the use of digital documents.

The Verkhovna Rada adopted the bill №4355 "On the Unified State Demographic Register and documents confirming the citizenship of Ukraine, identity or special status" on digital passports in the second reading. 302 people's deputies voted in favor of the document. "Ukraine is the first country in the world to launch digital passports and legally equate them to ordinary documents. Diia users will no longer face situations when the digital passport is not accepted. This is not just a landmark event in the history of modern Ukraine and a big step towards the introduction of the "paperless" regime. This is a unique global case that we can and should be proud of," commented Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov.

Ministry of Digital Transformation launched digital passports in the Diia mobile application in April last year. Digital passports are much safer and more comfortable than paper ones. Now they can be used by about 20 million Ukrainians - more than 5.5 million of them have an ID card and another 18 million are holders of foreign biometric passports. Since its launch, their use has been an experimental project and regulated by a relevant resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

"The bill will provide the opportunity to use electronic documents in a mobile application on a par with ordinary passports. This is the first step towards the introduction of a paperless regime in Ukraine - when public authorities will not have the right to demand paper documents, if the information is already in the registers. You will be able to choose which passport you use today," said Mykhailo Kryachko, Chairman of the Committee on Digital Transformation.

It will be possible to present digital passports on the territory of Ukraine for identification and confirmation of citizenship, except in cases of crossing the state border, entering and leaving the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. The approved bill also determines the terminology, in particular the use of e-passports.

Ukrainians can already use digital passports in most life situations. They are accepted by CASPs for the provision of public services, government agencies and courts. Digital passports can be used to receive deliveries in the post office, to confirm age in supermarkets, in banks - to confirm identity and cash transactions, as well as to open a bank account online. With digital passports, you can also travel to Ukraine by plane and train, check into a hotel and more.

Digital documents in the smartphone are also used in Poland and South Korea. Similar projects are being implemented in the UK, Finland and the USA. Estonian citizens use a digital ID card, with which they can receive public services online, manage bank accounts and vote online. However, Ukraine is the first country in the world where digital passports in smartphones have legally gained the same force as paper and plastic documents. In September 2021, Ukraine will begin entering the "paperless" regime - public authorities will not have the right to require paper documents if the necessary information is already in the registers. And the adoption of the law on digital passports is one of the most important steps towards this, because the passport is the main document for obtaining public services. It will also allow to trigger a large-scale digitalization of business and government and simplify internal processes for launching new digital products.

The bill was developed with the assistance of the EGAP Program, funded by the Swiss government and implemented by the East Europe Foundation, SURGe with the support of the Government of Canada. We also thank the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, the Committee on Digital Transformation, the State Migration Service, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their support. This is our joint victory!

By Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

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