Saturday 6 March 2010

DigiD: Your own login code to the entire state (of Netherlands)

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [in Netherlands] Blog]

On 1st of February, I've received by mail a notification from the VU to convert my Studielink account into a DigiD account. I let it rest nicely in the inbox until the end of last week when I decided to solve the problem.

Studielink - short description: the Studielink site technically aggregates information regarding all students in the Netherlands. As I understand it, it is a platform used by all universities here to manage their students (native or international), as each student's profile contains information regarding one's education background, payment status of his/her education in NL and so on. I think it is a very smart approach to managing international students.

Anyway, after a few clicks (as described in the mail) on Studielink I landed on a page that said the same thing as the e-mail said a few paragraph below: one needs an already existing DigiD account in order to make the conversion. Ok, let's make the DigiD account...

So, here I am landing on the DigiD site, which offers a very nice and very short English explanation of its functionalities...

Indeed, you are a fan of my blog and you know the rest: Well, that's everything you're gonna get in English! :)

The steps for creating and activating a DigiD account:
  1. So, at the end of last week, having the Dutch (i.e. the only) version of the site open in one tab and Google Translate in another, I started reading the options and the messages from the site, and filled in the required information (names, surname, address, BSN etc.) to finally create an username and password, which further required an activation code.
  2. DigiD sent me by regular (i.e. paper) mail the activation code, which I've received at the beginning of this week.
  3. Friday, i.e. yesterday, I opened again the DigiD site and inserted the activation code and finally activated my DigiD account. Hooray!
Side note: This is an interesting approach to securing your account, since an attacker cannot do it in our place, since they will never get access to all data. To do it, they must (1) know everything about you (since the information is checked against one's registration with the Municipality), (2) have access to your mailbox and (3) pick up the activation code letter before you notice it has arrived, but I find it all unlikely.

Anyway, then I went back to Studielink and successfully converted my Studielink account into a DigiD account, which means from now on I can use the same DigiD username and password for Sudielink, too.

Wondering about the title of this post?
Well, that's written on one of the papers in the envelope I received with the activation code:
Uw eigen inlogcode voor de hele overheid
which translates into:
Your own login code for the entire state
Isn't this good publicity for the state or what?

DigiD, as I understand it, seems a great move towards e-government (NL occupies the 5th place regarding e-gov readiness). In the future, as both the letter and site claim, this account should allow one to access many administrative services, therefore interact more effectively with the state.
So, this is one of the many times when I say about the Netherlands: Cool approach! Congratulations!

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