Digital mobile key

Portugal lets citizens sign documents with a smartphone


Digital mobile key

Portuguese citizens can now electronically sign documents using a smartphone app. This is the latest feature added to Chave Móvel Digital (Digital Mobile Key), the mobile authentication solution developed by Portugal’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation (Agência para a Modernização Administrativa, AMA).

A screenshot from the Chage Movel Digital website
The website for Chave Móvel Digital (Digital Mobile Key)

The new feature of Chave Móvel Digital was announced by AMA on 26 June. To start using the new functionality, users have to activate it, either online or by visiting one of the over 580 Espaços do Cidadão (“Citizen Spots”).

Portuguese citizens can already sign documents using their eID smartcards; the new smartphone feature is useful in those situations where people do not have their eID card or a smartcard reader available. The mobile phone software relies on the combination of a user-defined PIN code and a temporary security code sent by SMS or email.

By adding new features, AMA hopes to encourage more citizens to start using the Digital Mobile Key. Chave Móvel Digital was first announced in 2014. At the time, the government hoped some 200,000 citizens would be using it in the first phase. AMA is now close to reaching that target: at a conference this week, the agency said there are over 160,000 users.

Reusable tools

On Joinup, the collaboration portal for eGovernment professionals, a search for “electronic signing of documents” returns three reusable ICT solutions:

  • Valide, a web service to generate and verify electronic signatures, made available by Spain’s Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations;
  • ITDL, software for drafting legislation, made available by the Ministry of the Interior in Slovenia; and
  • Pro@, a document workflow solution, made available by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.

A search for "electronic signatures” on the portal provides links to no less than 130 solutions.

Joinup also offers links to government initiatives related to electronic signing of documents. Examples are Hungary’s eID card, introduced in early 2016, and Sweden’s 2017 push to encourage public services to implement electronic signatures.

More information:

ePractice case study on Chave Móvel Digital

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