- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech Government Retains Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) in Citizen Cards Despite Previous Regulation
In a pivotal decision with far-reaching implications, the Czech government has chosen to retain Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) in citizen cards, diverging from a previous regulation that aimed to replace them with more anonymous identifiers by 2025. This shift in policy comes after facing resistance from both the public and private sectors, where PINs currently serve as critical identifiers for interactions with governmental bodies and private entities.
The original plan was to replace PINs with client identifiers or numbers of personal documents, a transition that would have necessitated substantial investments in private information systems. Additionally, certain state agendas were unprepared for such a sweeping transition.
Proponents of the decision argue that PINs remain indispensable for the reliable identification of individuals, playing a pivotal role in both the public and private spheres. They ensure the unique identification of individuals and, unlike client or meaningless identifiers, minimize the potential for confusion or errors within information systems.
Interestingly, despite the fact that PINs can reveal an individual’s age and gender, a survey conducted on the matter found that a significant majority of respondents, approximately 90.4%, expressed that they were not bothered by the presence of PINs on their identification cards. A mere 6.4% of respondents advocated for the abolition of PINs.
The government’s stance on this issue has been welcomed by Vice Premier for Digitalization, Ivan Bartoš, who had previously advocated for reducing the use of PINs. Bartoš highlighted that a law enacted 13 years ago could not have foreseen the rapid advancements in digital and identification technologies. However, after extensive consultations with stakeholders, it became evident that the current system was preferred by the majority.
The government’s decision carries significant implications for the future of digital identification in the Czech Republic. While PINs will continue to be employed for identification purposes, there may be a need to explore alternative systems that can effectively meet the demands of both the public and private sectors, ensuring a delicate balance between security and convenience.
Article by Prague Forum