Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (201)

John Curran


201. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason precedent is being given to an in-house SAFE2 form of identity verification over internationally recognised documents that allow safe passage between countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10002/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

SAFE registration is the process used by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to establish and verify a person’s identity in order to ensure that –

- the person using a service is the person they claim to be,

- that nobody else is using that person’s identity for the purpose of claiming a payment or service,

- that the person is not claiming another payment or using another service under a different identity and,

- to minimise the requirement for people to provide the same identity information over and over again when accessing different services.

The SAFE standard, which stands for Standard Authentication Framework Environment, is a standard for establishing and verifying an individual’s identity for the purposes of accessing public services, the standard was agreed by the Government in 2005.

The SAFE standard has four levels:

- SAFE 0 = No assurance of identity

- SAFE 1 = Balance of probabilities (the minimum authentication level for the allocation of a PPS Number)

- SAFE 2 = Substantial assurance (the minimum authentication level for issuing a Public Services Card)

- SAFE 3 = Beyond reasonable doubt (use of biometrics - this level is not used) 

SAFE Level 2 (SAFE 2) registration is used for the issuance of a Public Services Card and MyGovID, and allows a person to verify their identity to a substantial level of assurance once in their life for use across an increasing number of public services, both in person and online.  SAFE 2 is the only identity registration process employed by the State that involves a face to face component, in line with international best practice and the EU eIDAS regulation, which has direct application to Ireland.  SAFE 2 is the highest level of identity assurance available to public bodies, providing a more secure and robust identity infrastructure than those of other identity documents and cards.  Neither a passport, nor a driving licence, is sufficient to validate an identity to SAFE Level 2.  The State has an obligation to its citizens to employ SAFE 2, the best identity process currently available to it, as part of public service provision to ensure citizens' identity, data and rights are protected.