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Politics

Minister: Citizen Certificates, Ministerial Signatures Gradually Moving Online

ATHENS — Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis outlined several current and upcoming key changes concerning the citizens' simplified access to digital certificates issued by state and local authorities, speaking at the online Delphi Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Illustrating the ministry's digitization project with one type of certificate that is always in demand, the minister said that soon death certificates will be issued electronically via the government's website gov.gr. As of Tuesday, birth, marital status and citizenship certificates have begun being issued on the same central government platform, using verification through the taxis.net portal. By 11:00 on Wednesday morning, some 4,000 certificates were issued electronically, he noted, including 2,701 marital status documents, 1,272 birth certificates and 210 citizenship certificates.

"This is only the first step," he pointed out, as the process will expand to other doccuments. The Digital Governance Ministry's plan foresees that "all those bureaucratic processes that can be digitized should have been simplified and digitized within four years," he said.

In addition, ministers now use a digital signature to sign off on bills and other legislative decisions, Pierrakakis said, with some 150,000 digital signatures expected by the end of the summer. Several projects are also promoting the use of digital signatures in companies, as the government's goal is "to have distributed half a million digital signatures by the end of the year."

Speaking about the so-called Unified Number, a unique number replacing all others for every citizen at birth, he said a legislative initiative in the summer will convert everyone's current tax registry identification number into a broad-use ID using the digits in the tax registry's personal number.

Referring to personal data protection, he asserted that "technology is not an end in itself," and that "in the end it must always empower people." He also revealed that personal data collected during lockdown from text messages to permit movement was not being stored. That permit-granting electronic system via telephone number 13033 took only fifteen hours to set up, he said.

Finally, Pierrakakis said that Greece has the hardware but does not have the software to draw on, meaning that the infrastructure is there but the required mechanisms and processes are missing.

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