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Belgian government plans official alternative to ItsMe
Belgium's federal government plans to develop its own digital ID system for logging into websites, as an official challenger to the popular ItsMe app.
While many official government websites use the ItsMe system to help users prove their identity, it is in fact a private initiative led by a consortium of the country's banks and telecoms operators: Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC, ING, Orange, Telenet and Proximus.
Since its launch in 2017, more than six million people have downloaded the ItsMe app, which links an individual's mobile phone to their national registry number and bypasses the need to use an ID card reader and PIN to log in to secure websites.
ItsMe allows users, for example, to file their taxes on Tax-on-Web, consult their health records, deal with their local administration or login to their bank.
Mathieu Michel, the state secretary for digitalisation, said that it was not "prudent" to be "totally dependent" on one provider for such an important function.
"The highest level of identification must be guaranteed by the state," he said. "It is not normal that we as a government depend on one private company for something so crucial."
The official alternative to ItsMe will be developed "during 2023", Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard reported.