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Apps instead of ID and power of attorney: how does it work?

Ivan Bartos, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitisation, together with the Digital and Information Agency, recently presented several results of their cooperation, which are intended to make life more pleasant and easier for citizens and to make dealing with the authorities more comfortable. The innovations concern both the long-promised mobile ID card and the so-called register of powers of attorney. How will everything work?

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Chapters of the article

eCitizen card instead of plastic cards

The mobile phone represents and represents a whole range of tools nowadays. It is not only a voice and text communicator, but also, for example, a map, a bank, news, a TV screen, a payment tool or an exercise trainer. There are a huge number of functions, so the use of the mobile phone for identification or, if you like, as a substitute for an ID card, has been proposed for a long time.

Pirate MPs have therefore introduced the eDocuments app, which is expected to go live in January 2024. eDocuments will work like any other mobile app that a citizen downloads and registers. There is a variant for both Android and iOS platforms. However, the advantage of using it is that everyone can choose what data they want to communicate about themselves when they are being checked.

In fact, very often the check is only about the name and it is not necessary to know the age. Or, conversely, it is necessary to certify that you are over 18 years of age, at which point you do not need to give your place of residence.

Another advantage is that the operation is essentially unrestricted. If citizens only use their current plastic card, if they lose it, they have to go to the correct office, pay a fine and wait for a new card to be issued. If the mobile phone is lost, it will be sufficient to deactivate the application.

A fingerprint or a facial image on the camera will be enough to initially verify the user’s identity.

More conservative individuals who are not comfortable with the mobile app, or who do not even own a smartphone, do not have to worry about being taken to the police station every time their identity is checked. The plastic cards will continue to work.

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When will it be possible to present the eCard?

The launch in January does not mean that we will be able to throw away the plastic cards immediately. Even the authorities will get used to the presence of eDocuments gradually. For example, the Police of the Czech Republic, which is probably crucial for the functioning of this platform, will start accepting this type of documents from July 2024. This also applies to tax offices, regions or courts, for example. However, as soon as January, citizens will be able to prove their identity electronically, for example, with the Czech Telecommunications Office and other central state administration bodies. In private companies such as banks, or at the post office, for example, you will be able to show your eObčanka from January 2025.

Tip: Getting into contact and maybe even a scuffle with a police officer or officer can happen to anyone – you don’t have to be an environmental activist who’s just stuck to the road. How do the powers of police officers and constables differ and how do you actually tell them apart? That’s the subject of our separate article.

Validity within the European Union

To travel to and prove your identity in the European Union, you will still need a classic card or, where applicable, a passport. In the future, there will be a so-called eWallet, which should be compatible with eDocuments. However, EU citizens will have to wait a few years for this option.

Register of Powers of Attorney

Another project that should move the level of Czech eGovernment further into the future is the Register of Representations. This was recently introduced by Ivan Bartoš, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalisation.

Until now, when representing someone in official meetings, it was always necessary to physically present a power of attorney (in some cases, even officially certified), which proved the right to act for someone else. The Register of Representation should change this. The Representation Register will allow the use of essentially digital powers of attorney. This will create a central database where powers of attorney will be stored digitally and where all authorities will be able to consult and verify their validity.

These digital powers of attorney will be valid until they are revoked, so that if someone uses the representation repeatedly, over a period of several years, they will not have to think about the validity or renewal of the power of attorney and, above all, about having the relevant stamped paper in their possession. It will be enough to point out the digital power of attorney and the official will look it up in the database.

Tip: A power of attorney is a very useful tool that can come in handy when selling a vehicle, picking up mail, dealing with the authorities, or re-writing your utility bills. Are you hesitant about whether one template can be used for all these cases and what exactly a power of attorney must contain? We have prepared a clear guide that will answer everything.

But the way in which digital powers of attorney are created is also key. If, in order to create it, it were necessary to bring a paper power of attorney certified by a notary to the municipal office, where it would be registered in a database, such a service would be rather lamentable. However, there is no such threat. A digital power of attorney can be created electronically, simply by using the citizen’s identity and verifying it, for example, via mobile banking or an ID card reader. A simple form is then filled in, where the name of the represented and the representative is entered and for which area or act the power of attorney is issued. Individual offices will start using the register gradually, so initially it will be necessary to check whether or not the institution has already joined the register.

The system will work not only for natural persons, but also, of course, for commercial companies that use powers of attorney for representation often on a daily basis.

As with eDocuments, people need not fear that paper powers of attorney will end. If the electronic form does not suit anyone, then they can still get by with a printed power of attorney.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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