Estonia has by far the most highly-developed national ID card system in the world.
Much more than simply a legal picture ID, the mandatory national card serves as the digital access card for all of Estonia's secure e-services.
The chip on the card carries embedded files which, using 2048-bit public key encryption, enable it to be used as definitive proof of ID in an electronic environment.
Here are some examples of how the ID Card is regularly used in Estonia:
- As a national ID card for legal travel within the EU for Estonian citizens
- As the national health insurance card
- As proof of identification when logging into bank accounts from a home computer
- As a pre-paid public transport ticket in Tallinn and Tartu
- For digital signatures
- For i-voting
- For accessing government databases to check one's medical records, file taxes, etc.
- For picking up e-Prescriptions