Everyone must be able to participate in our society. That in turn calls for investment in accessible and understandable communication and improved digital skills. We have launched new initiatives and encouraged new collaborative ventures. Digital identity and control of data were key subjects and will continue to be essential pillars.
Pillar digital inclusion
In December 2018, the Letter to Parliament about digital inclusion was sent to the House of Representatives. To prevent people being excluded, it is essential that digitalised government services be accessible and understandable for everyone (digital accessibility), that people’s digital skills are raised to a higher level (digital literacy) and that people understand the opportunities and risks of digitalisation (digital awareness). Much work is already being undertaken by volunteers to reinforce these skills but often in the form of non-cohesive initiatives. In our approach to digital inclusion, we are therefore working alongside many different parties.
Improving digital inclusion is a challenge that requires constant attention. Over the past year, among others the following actions have been implemented or initiated:
- Since 1 July 2018, government bodies are required by law to take the measures necessary to make their websites and mobile applications more accessible. This obligation will be introduced in phases: new websites must satisfy the accessibility requirements at the latest by 23 September 2019; existing websites at the latest by 23 September 2020 and mobile applications at the latest by 23 June 2021.
- Via the Count with Language (Tel mee met Taal) programme, work is being undertaken to improve the digital skills of those will limited literacy. BZK, OCW, SZW, VWS and the municipalities are working to expand this support project over the coming years.
- We have opened fifteen Digital Government information points. These information points are located in libraries and offer general information also available via the various websites of the public service providers, but that is not easy to find for people with limited digital skills. This includes general information about tax rebate on rents, unemployment benefit or old age pension, healthcare, fines, child allowance and health declarations for driving proficiency certificates for the over 75s. The network of information points will be further expanded over the coming period; from 2020 onwards, we aim to have achieved national coverage.
- In March 2019, the Digital Society Alliance was launched. This alliance brings together public and private parties, knowledge institutions and practical experts to create a more digitally skilled Netherlands.
Accessible services for EU subjects
It has been agreed in Europe that Dutch government services must also be made accessible in digital format to citizens from other countries. A portal will be established where individual citizens and entrepreneurs can find commonly used services in English; the Single Digital Gateway (SDG). We have mapped out the consequences of the coming into effect of the Single Digital Gateway Regulation from 2020, for government organisations.
Pillar digital identity
We are working on a process of logging in at a level of assurance that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the personal data in use. The Digital Government Bill makes this possible and is currently being debated in the House of Representatives. Since 15 May 2019, two-step verification has been made compulsory for the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). To log on with a government body, it is no longer sufficient to use just user name and password. The user is now required to enter an additional code (that can be received via SMS) or to use the DigiD app. The DigiD app has been made more user friendly for this purpose. The DigiD app was used in 2018 alone on more than 11 million occasions for authentication purposes, 10% at the higher level of assurance. The total number of DigiD authentications in 2018 was 308 million.
The Netherlands implemented the eIDAS regulation within the specified deadline. Since September 2018, EU citizens and businesses have been able to log in in the Netherlands with means approved by the EU.
In collaboration with De Waag and the VNG, BZK has developed the digital identity lab as an innovative means of investigating what our digital identity will look like, in the future. Together with the market and representatives from the scientific community, a number of ideas and applications in the field of digital identity have been tested within the identity lab. BZK is experimenting with the development of a virtual identity (‘your passport on your mobile telephone’) and, together with the Ministry of Justice and Security with what is known as the Known Traveller Digital Identity. This latter development makes it possible to undertake international travel without having to show your passport.
Work is also underway on developing a Self Sovereign Identity (SSI). This gives individual citizens autonomy in the digital world and enables them to take control of their own data (and statements). The government intends to recognise an SSI at the same level as a passport.
Digital identity is closely related to digital authorisation: in other words making use of digital government services in a legally valid manner in the name of and on behalf of another person. A positive social cost-benefit analysis of the use of digital authorisations has been concluded, and now sent to the House of Representatives.
Pillar control of data
In its Coalition Agreement, the Cabinet expressed the ambition of giving people greater control of their data. This means that individual citizens in principle are able to access/receive their data, and share that data digitally with third parties, for example if they need to do so to arrange a particular service. At present, people still often need a file full of papers. Or people visit the municipal offices to pick up an official extract, which almost immediately they are required to hand over to another organisation. Digitalisation should simplify this process.
Via a series of different initiatives, we are investigating how to structure the concept of control of data. A number of municipalities and the implementing bodies the Educational Executive Agency (DUO), Central Administrative Office (CAK) and Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) have created what is known as a ‘Blue Button’. The Blue Button clarifies for citizens which data are known to which organisation. People can download personal data in a certified document. They can then for example use this data to apply for debt assistance, a mortgage or a lease contract.
To make it possible to give citizens greater control of data, a series of measures will be needed. In the policy document Control of Data, the relevant principles have been formulated. These relate to data sharing, the one-time issuing of data and the right to access and rectification.
Basic registers, geobasic registers and the BRP
Customer-friendly, reliable and efficient government services for citizens impose high demands on government information management, in particular in the basic registers. We are therefore working towards a structural framework for basic registers in the future. Without making interventions in the framework, behind the scenes we are working to improve the quality of data and to simplify the exchange of data. In 2018, a start was made on further development of the five geobasic registers. Users who identify errors on the map can get in touch with a single central reporting point: Improve the map (Verbeter de kaart). Since 4 February 2019, parents have been able to register stillborn children in the BRP.
Work and income
The goal for citizens
When a citizen transfers from unemployment benefit to social assistance benefit or takes retirement, then he must be able to understand the consequences of this change for his income. He also needs to know what steps to take, for example when applying for a different set of allowances from the Tax and Customs Administration. He needs to be able to use the work and income data known to the municipality, the Social Insurance Board (SBV) and UWV, also in order to purchase private services.
Concrete products: proof of concepts and choices for the digital infrastructure and the trust framework
To reinforce the information position of individual citizens, we are carrying out a series of tests. One key underlying principle is the way in which service provision can best tie in with the digital and other skills of this often vulnerable target group.
- To start with, a previously developed demo version of a Personal Income Environment will be linked to actual registrations containing data about individual citizens, via a new infrastructure based on the national government API strategy and the Dutch Government Reference Architecture (NORA).
- The purpose of a second test is to ensure that elderly individuals who are entitled to an additional income allowance receive clear information at the right time.
- In collaboration with the programme initiated by the Municipalities of Enschede, Groningen, Zwolle and Deventer, a test is being carried out to determine whether recipients of income support are likely to accept employment (temporary or otherwise) sooner, if they have a clear understanding of the financial consequences of doing so. This can help reduce uncertainty about a future financial situation. We are also testing whether people living at a minimum income level can be simply and accessibly informed about schemes and regulations that could apply to them.
The experiences gathered in these tests will be used in making choices for creating the necessary trust framework and the digital infrastructure.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) is the commissioning party. Implementation is in the hands of the programme Future Data Interchange Work and Income (TWI), a joint programme by the SZW Ministry, the UWV, SVB, VNG, the Public Information Office and UWV/Office for Chain Information Work and Income (Bureau Keteninformatisering Werk en Inkomen).
Vision for the future
Developments in society such as the growing demand for integrated services and safeguarding privacy impose new requirements on the system of data exchange concerning work and income. Technological developments are also opening up new opportunities. With that in mind, step by step we are working to modernise the system and reinforce the information position of individual citizens.
Actions 2019 – 2020
- We recognise the importance of ensuring that everyone can continue to participate. On the side lines, we are continuing our efforts as expressed in the Letter to Parliament concerning the cohesive approach to digital inclusion.
- We will meet the obligation from DigiAccess (DigiToegankelijk) according to which information on new websites and apps must be accessible as from 23 September 2019. The same obligation applies one year later for all websites and apps, including those already in existence.
- In 2019, the level of assurance for businesses wishing to log in to government (using eRecognition means) will gradually be raised to level 3 (substantial).
- In 2020, login by citizens supported with app or SMS code will be broadly rolled out. The aim is for all citizens to have access to level 3 (substantial) DigiD, by the end of 2020.
- We are working hard to develop broader-based solutions and (private) alternatives for DigiD.
- We are working hard to regulate the recovery capacity of the system of login means, so that citizens who fall victim to identity fraud can be adequately assisted.
- In 2019, BZK will be investigating virtual identity and together with JenV will be looking into Known Traveller Digital Identity. This will include an examination of the consequences for legislation and regulations and the preparation of a business case. Technical developments will be further continued and tested in pilots.
- In 2019, we will be launching the programme Improving the System of Travel Documents (Letter to Parliament 26 June 2019). This programme aims to make the system of travel documents more reliable, more secure and capable of keeping pace with the latest requirements. In 2020, the initial results will be put into practice, including automatic consultation of the Register of Passport Alerts (Register Paspoortsignaleringen). This will help ensure that people who are not entitled to a passport are not issued with a passport.
- Various municipalities have joined BZK in integrating new identity tools in their services.
- A working prototype of Self Sovereign Identity will be ready by 2019-2020. The intention is that in the future, citizens can identify themselves via their mobile telephone, without having to show a passport.
- The system of authorisations is so user friendly that it can be used by anyone. Authorisations can be issued for (digital) services from the Tax and Customs Administration and DUO. UWV is expected to join this group in November 2019. A rollout to other government organisations is planned.
- Mothers are automatically authorised to represent their children (for example in healthcare) and legal representatives (including guardians) are automatically authorised for their clients. This authorisation facility will be gradually rolled out across government.
Control of data
- Data sharing:
Pilots and initial implementation programmes are currently underway at various points in government, for the sharing of data. From 1 July 2020 onwards, every patient will be entitled to take control of their own health data via a Personal Health Environment. The programme MedMij has set the relevant standards.
We are developing government-wide (legal) frameworks for data sharing with private organisations. Those frameworks will be anchored in the Digital Government Act.
In 2020 we will enable citizens to share their own BRP data with civil society organisations, via MijnOverheid (MyGovernment).
- One-time data issue:
We will be anchoring the principle of one-time data issuing and will be making the use of basic data in the Digital Government Act compulsory, if possible by 2020.
In 2020, via MijnOverheid, citizens will be able to see which data are already subject to the principle of one-time data issuing.
- Access and rectification:
We are currently testing a government-wide, organisation-overarching problem solving team for urgent problem cases to rapidly rectify the consequences of an incorrect item of data.
In MijnOverheid, citizens can identify which organisations receive which basic data for what purpose, and via a rectification button can be immediately put in touch with the correct counter for rectifying basic data.
- We will learn lessons from existing pilots aimed at increasing control of data for individual citizens and businesses. Wherever possible, we will be scaling up the scope.
Basic registers, geobasic registers and the BRP
- We are optimising the system of basic registers. This includes proposals for improving user friendliness and possibly more compulsory use.
- We are working on a vision on the BRP system.
- One key tool for improving the address quality in the Basic Register of Persons is the National Address Quality Programme (LAA). Work is underway on a Bill that reinforces the role of the Minister of BZK.
- We are investigating the possibility of adding email addresses to the BRP. International studies are also currently underway into developments involving population registers.
- In the framework of restricting the registration of gender, studies are underway into choices for addressing citizens by government organisations using the BRP. In addition to Mr and Mrs, a gender-neutral option could be offered. The results will be announced at the end of 2019.