Traditional ID documents falling out of favour

28 January was European Privacy Day. In various member states, including the Netherlands, the occasion was marked by the publication of research into public privacy awareness. One of the studies was carried out in the Netherlands by Motivaction. Many people with serous privacy concerns highlighted the practice of asking for proof of identity in the form of a passport scan.

People know their rights

Only a minority (27 per cent) of Dutch respondents said they were very worried about their privacy. A small majority said that they weren't really concerned about their privacy or their on-line security. Interestingly, most people were well aware of their rights under the GDPR, which came in last year.

Traditional ID documents falling out of favour

Despite all the modern alternatives, many organisations still ask new clients and service users to identify themselves using a tangible document. However, that approach is becoming unpopular with an increasingly privacy-aware public.

People want control and a system they can trust

Dissatisfaction is understandable: why rely on a tangible paper document in the digital age? And how do you know what'll be done with a scan of your passport once you've sent it? There's a real demand for an innovative alternative that lets people control their identities. A system they can trust.

Portable solution

And there are alternatives out there. One that fits the bill is an innovative solution called IRMA (I Reveal My Attributes). It's still at an early stage of development, but making rapid progress. The biggest challenge is creating an electronic medium that the user can slip in their pocket while retaining complete control over the associated data.

Sharing only as much data as strictly necessary

IRMA is a solution that ticks all the boxes. It's a trustworthy alternative to a scan of your passport or other document: a way of providing reliable evidence of who you are, without sharing any more data than you really need to.


IRMA has been developed by the Privacy by Design Foundation, now SIDN's strategic partner. The technology recently won the ISOC Innovation Award 2019. By backing IRMA and other similar technologies, we're helping to make sure that sending a scan of your passport is soon a thing of the past

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