Table of Contents
eID-Me is a smartphone-based digital identity that gives you secure control of your identity.
During registration, you use your phone to prove your identity by taking a selfie and scanning your identity documents (e.g., ID cards, passport). Your phone is then issued a unique eID-Me digital identity, which includes a digital certificate with identity claims (pieces of information about you).
You can then use your eID-Me digital identity to easily access services and securely share identity information in identity transactions both online and offline (in-person).
eID-Me can save you time and trouble wherever your identity needs to be verified.
eID-Me Is Private
Your identity information is always in your possession on your phone. It's never hosted by a centralized service or third-party provider. Once your identity information is verified, a secure certificate is installed on your phone and only your phone. That information is not accessible to anyone but you, until you choose to share it in an identity transaction.
Identity transactions let you securely share your verified identity information with trusted organizations (relying parties) in exchange for access to their services (e.g., government benefits, credit card applications, check-in at a new medical clinic).
You can initiate identity transactions online by providing your eID, which acts as an anonymous username, on a relying party’s website. You can also initiate identity transactions in person by tapping a button in the eID-Me app to connect to a relying party’s system over an encrypted Bluetooth connection.
This prompts the relying party’s system to send an identity request to your phone. Identity requests always show you which relying party is requesting your information and exactly which pieces of information they are requesting. You can remove any optional information that is requested or deny the identity transaction completely if you feel the relying party is asking for too much.
Traditionally, people had to reveal more personal information than necessary because identity information has come grouped together on ID cards (age, name, and address on a driver’s licence, for example). With eID-Me, if a relying party needs to verify your age, you can share just your age. Your name, address, and other information remains private. You control your identity information.
eID-Me Is Convenient
eID-Me lets you easily prove your identity to access government, financial, health care, and other ID-enabled services in minutes, not weeks.
Unlock your eID-Me app using your phone’s unlock method (e.g., passcode, fingerprint scan). Log in to websites password-free by sending identity requests to your phone. Share verified identity information without filling out long forms (and without typos).
eID-Me Is Secure
Your eID-Me identity is secured in a digital wallet within your eID-Me app. Your identity information is protected using AES 256-bit encryption and the strongest security mechanisms available on your phone.
Instead of hosting an online database that contains everyone’s identity information, your identity information is only stored on your phone (offline). There is no centralized database of information, which means there is nothing for hackers to target.
During identity transactions, your identity information is protected with public key cryptography to ensure your information is only shared with the service provider you intend to share it with.
Currently, to register for eID-Me, you will need:
- An iPhone (with iOS 13 or later) OR an NFC-enabled Android phone (with Android 6 or later). Every iPhone with iOS 13 or later has NFC enabled by default, but not all Android phones do. To enable NFC (near-field communication) on Android, open the Settings app and tap “Connected devices” or a similar option like “Wireless & networks,” “Connections,” or “NFC,” and turn on NFC.
- Access to the Canadian App Store or Google Play Store.
- A valid Canadian ePassport.
- A valid Ontario Driver’s Licence OR Ontario Photo Card.
- To be at the address listed on your Driver’s Licence or Photo Card.
To obtain an eID-Me digital identity, you must download eID-Me from the App Store or Google Play Store and register your phone with the eID-Me servers.
To register your phone, open the eID-Me app and follow the on-screen instructions. You will be instructed to do the following.
Enable Bluetooth Connections with eID-Me
eID-Me uses Bluetooth to let you securely connect to a relying party’s system and send encrypted identity information during in-person identity transactions. See the eID-Me privacy section above for more information on identity transactions.
Enable Your Phone’s Unlock Method (and Never Disable It)
**Important: Ensure your phone’s unlock method (e.g., face scan, fingerprint scan, passcode, or PIN) is enabled and never disable it.
If you disable it, you will lose access to your eID-Me data, and you will not be able to regain access, even if you re-enable it.**
eID-Me uses your phone’s unlock method to lock your eID-Me app, encrypt your eID-Me data, and hide your sensitive information.
We recommend using the strongest authentication as possible.
A strong and convenient unlock method is to use your biometric scan (face or fingerprint) and set a passcode composed of four words (with at least one unique word), using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, a number, and a symbol. Example: DeepBlue7PterodactylFrienD&. This technique generates passwords that are relatively easy to visualize and remember. And you won’t have to type it in too often because of your biometric scan.
Provide Your Email Address
To save time, provide an email address that you have connected to an email app on your phone. If you have done so, open your email app, and open the email with the subject line: “Reg Code Ready” (sent by email@example.com). Tap the blue “Register Now” button.
If you provided an email that is not connected to an email app on your phone, you will need to manually enter the registration code into your eID-Me app (see the next section).
Manually Enter Registration Code
Note: If you tapped on the blue “Register Now” button in an email app on your phone with eID-Me, skip to the Identity Proofing section. Otherwise, complete the following steps.
eID-Me Registration Code
Go to a computer or mobile device, open your email application, and open the email with the subject line: “Reg Code Ready” (sent by firstname.lastname@example.org). Find the registration code in bold at the end of the email (see the photo above). On your eID-Me app, tap on the “Input Manually” link (under the blue “Open Email App” button), and enter the registration code from your email.
You are now ready to start identity proofing.
Identity proofing is the process of verifying your identity based on presented evidence. Currently, this process is performed remotely, in a self-serve manner, from your phone. An in-person option will also be available at participating outlets in the near future.
The remote identity proofing process involves taking a selfie with liveness check, scanning identity documents, and submitting the information to the eID-Me servers for verification.
What You Will Need
In the current version of eID-Me, to perform identity proofing, you will need:
- A valid Canadian ePassport.
- A valid Ontario Driver’s Licence OR Ontario Photo Card.
- To be at the address listed on your Driver’s Licence or Photo Card.
You must perform the identity proofing from your home address and enable access to location data because your home address on your identity documents needs to be verified against your current location. Your location is only accessed once during registration. Location data access can later be disabled.
You may also choose to scan your Ontario Health Card to increase your identity proofing score and add your Health Card information to your eID-Me app.
Currently, only Ontario ID cards are accepted by eID-Me. ID cards from other provincial/territorial jurisdictions will be supported in upcoming versions.
Selfie with Liveness Check
Your selfie is used to perform a biometric match of your face versus your portrait images from identity documents. The photo is not displayed anywhere in the app or saved after registration. It is only used to confirm your identity through biometric comparison.
The capture process also has instructions to follow to prove that you are taking a live selfie. These instructions are simple and appear in the camera overlay during the selfie capture. At the same time, some simple graphics also accompany the instructions to help guide you.
The selfie capture process will fail if multiple faces are detected, so ensure that the background is clear of other people. You must also ensure that your face remains in view during the entire capture process.
Since the selfie is used for biometric comparison against portrait photos from your identity documents, we recommend that you use good lighting, remove glasses if you’re wearing them, and have a neutral facial expression.
Scanning Identity Documents
The more identity documents you scan and submit, the higher your identity proofing score will be and the more likely you are to successfully pass identity proofing and receive an eID-Me digital identity.
During identity proofing, the information that you collect with your eID-Me app is securely stored on your phone.
When this information is submitted to the eID-Me servers for verification, the information is destroyed after each failed attempt to pass identity proofing.
When the identity proofing passes, your submitted information is transformed into a digital identity, installed on your phone, and then destroyed on the servers. This information is also encrypted so that only your phone can decrypt it.
The information is retained on the eID-Me servers for a maximum of two hours, after which it is destroyed.
Scanning Your Identity Cards
Both the front and back of identity cards are captured and processed to extract the information on them.
Here are some suggestions to improve scanning results.
- Clean your phone’s camera lens. Dust or grime on your phone’s camera lens will impede eID-Me’s ability to accurately process some of the fine details of your identity documents. The lens can be cleaned by gently wiping it with a microfibre cloth.
- Ensure your identity card is clean. eID-Me processes fine details on your identity cards such as the portrait photograph, logos, and 2D barcodes. Dirt or damage on the card may cause the capture process to fail.
- Place cards on a plain dark background. Do not hold the card with your hand as the capture process tries to find all of the boundaries and must be clear of obstructions. The background surface should be clear of any patterns or clutter.
- Ensure adequate lighting. The capture process may also fail if the lighting is too dark. The camera flash is not used because this will cause glare, so you must find a location where there is good lighting.
- Avoid glare from strong light sources. The capture process may fail if there are reflections or glare from strong light sources. Try to position yourself to remove any glare from the capture process.
- Ensure all four sides of the card are visible. The capture process will fail if eID-Me cannot detect all four edges of the identity card. Ensure that all four edges are within the camera view as you are scanning. An overlay graphic on the capture view will help you guide the card to the correct position.
- Ensure that there are no other edges in the frame. Only the card’s edges and the background should be in the frame.
Scanning Your Passport
eID-Me only supports ePassports, which are passports that contain a chip with electronic storage of passport information. You can tell if your passport has this capability by ensuring that it has the following “Chip Inside” symbol on the front cover.
ePassport Chip Inside Symbol
There are two types of scans that must be done to capture the information from an ePassport. The first scan uses your phone’s camera to process the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) on page 2 (the visual inspection page) of your passport. The second scan uses your phone’s NFC (near-field communication) to scan the information from your ePassport chip.
The following suggestions will help maximize your chances of successfully completing both types of scans of the passport.
Scanning Your Passport’s Machine Readable Zone (MRZ)
The MRZ is located near the bottom of page 2 on your passport. It consists of two lines of alphanumeric text with filler characters (<).
The Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) of the Passport Visual Inspection Page
The eID-Me app will automatically find the MRZ and process the information (provided you position the passport properly within the camera view). An overlay for the camera view will help you guide the passport to the correct position.
Try to hold the passport open near the top of the page such that the page is flat (see the following diagram). A plain dark background is recommended.
How to Hold Your Passport for MRZ Scanning
Many passports have a glossy coating on this page. It is important to try and minimize the glare that can occur due to this glossy finish. If you see glare on the page, try to change the orientation or position to remove any reflections of light.
If MRZ Scanning Doesn’t Work
The main reasons for an MRZ scan to fail are the following:
- Too much glare or reflection from the page.
- The background is not dark or plain enough.
- A dirty camera lens.
If you are still having trouble scanning the MRZ then the information required to continue to the next step (the NFC scan) can be entered manually. This requires the following information:
- Document Number (this is the alpha numeric passport number in upper case).
- Date of Birth in the format YYMMDD (To be confirmed with development).
- Date of Expiry in the format YYMMDD (To be confirmed with development).
Scanning the chip on your passport may take multiple tries because the chip’s location can vary slightly between passports and the location of the passport chip reader can vary between phones.
Scanning Your Passport Chip (via NFC)
Once the MRZ has been successfully scanned, the next step is to scan the stored electronic information from the passport chip via near-field communication (NFC). On a Canadian ePassport, the chip and antenna are located inside the back cover. For the best results in doing the NFC scan, follow these steps:
- If you have a phone case or passport case, you may need to remove them to improve your chances of scanning successfully.
- Do not start the NFC scan until your phone is properly positioned (see the next steps).
- Close your passport such that the back cover is facing up on a flat surface.
- Place your phone directly on the back cover with the top of the phone slightly below the top of your passport (about 3 cm down) (see photo below).
- Once in position, tap the "Scan Passport" button without moving your phone. The scanning operation should take about three seconds. If the scan fails, move your phone down a centimetre and try again. (It is important to not move the smartphone during the scan operation.) Repeat this step until the top of your phone reaches the bottom of your passport. If the scan still has not succeeded, please go back and repeat the MRZ code scan on page two of your passport, and try scanning your passport chip again.
How to Position Your Phone for Passport Chip Scanning
Submitting for Identity Proofing
The submitted information is checked for integrity, consistency, and accuracy, and a biometric face comparison is performed between your selfie and portrait image obtained from your identity documents.
Reasons Why Identity Proofing Can Fail
Identity proofing encompasses a variety of different measures derived from the information you submit. These measures are combined to produce an overall result. After submission, the results from the eID-Me identity proofing server are displayed in a view. You will see an overall pass/fail result as well as the results of some of the underlying measures. This breakdown is meant to help you understand why a fail may have occurred.
Full Address Validity
This is a measure of the validity of your current home address.
Possible Cause of Failure: Some or all of the address provided did not match what is on record with verification sources.
This is a measure of the correctness of your mobile phone number.
Possible Cause of Failure: The provided mobile phone number did not match the information on record with the associated mobile carrier.
Full Name Validity
This is a measure of the correctness of your given and family name.
Possible Cause of Failure: Some or all of the name provided did not match what is on record with verification sources.
This is a measure of the correctness of your date of birth.
Possible Cause of Failure: The date of birth provided did not match what is on record with verification sources.
Face Biometric Match of Selfie
This is a measure of how well your selfie matched your portrait images on your identity documents or that may be on record with verification sources.
Possible Cause of Failure: Your selfie did not sufficiently match the photos obtained from your identity documents or on record with verification sources. It is possible that some of your portrait photos from identity cards (such as driver’s licence photo) do not resemble your current appearance or are of insufficient quality to perform an accurate comparison.
You can try to improve the biometric match by retaking your selfie and ensuring that the lighting is good, you are not wearing glasses, and your facial expression is neutral. You can also try to recapture the photos of your identity cards (not the passport) with better quality lighting.
Closeness to Home
This is a measure of how close you are to your home address based on your mobile phone location.
Possible Cause of Failure: Your current location is too far from your provided home address. Remote identity proofing requires that you are at your home address.
Number of Identity Documents Provided
This is a count of the number of identity documents provided for identity proofing.
Possible Cause of Failure: Not enough identity documents were provided to achieve the required identity assurance level.
Document Date Validity
This measures status of the supplied identity documents with respect to their expiry dates.
Possible Cause of Failure: One or more of the supplied identity documents have expired.
SafetyNet Attestation provides a measure of the integrity of Android smartphones.
Possible Cause of Failure: The integrity of the smartphone did not conform to specifications or the smartphone has been rooted. Note that we do NOT fail your overall identity proofing if this measure fails. It is important to realize that a rooted smartphone can host malicious software and compromise your personal information. It is recommended to not use a rooted smartphone for eID-Me as it can be exploited by malicious software to steal identity information.
In-Person Registration Used
This is an indicator of whether the identity proofing process was done remotely (via smartphone) or through an in-person registration station.
This is a measure of the consistency of information between the supplied identity documents.
Possible Cause of Failure: Some of the information between two or more identity documents was inconsistent.
IAL Level Achieved
This is a measure of the identity assurance level (IAL) (1 through 4) that was achieved during identity proofing.
Possible Cause of Failure: The identity assurance level achieved did not meet the required level. Currently, the minimum allowable identity assurance level that must be achieved is IAL2.
If all of these identity proofing checks pass, then you will be issued an eID-Me identity. Success!
A private key that proves that you own this identity is generated in your phone and never leaves your phone. Since this is the only place that the private key exists, only you, and no one else, can assert claims from your eID-Me identity.
You can view your digital identity from the "Documents" tab in your eID-Me app.
After your digital identity is issued, all of your identity data is destroyed on the eID-Me servers. The only information remaining on the eID-Me servers is your anonymous eID-Me identifier and your registered smartphone push notification token.
You can view your digital identity from the “Documents” tab in the eID-Me app.
After your digital identity is issued, all of your identity data is destroyed on the eID-Me servers. The only information remaining on the servers is your anonymous eID-Me identifier and your registered smartphone push notification token.
Managing eID-Me Identity Documents
Setting Additional Protection Policies on Identity Claims
eID-Me protects certain sensitive identity claims (e.g., Passport Number) by default. These claims are hidden and require reauthentication (unlocking your phone) to view and share them.
You can choose to add additional protection to any identity claim by tapping the “Security” tab within an identity document, and tapping on the switch beside the claim you wish to add protection to. This claim will now be hidden and require reauthentication to view and share.
Self-Managed Identity Claims
You can choose to add multiple self-managed identity claims to eID-Me. Self-managed claims differ from verified claims in that they are not proven to be authentic by a trusted authority. You can change your self-managed claims, but you cannot change your verified claims.
For example, if a relying party requests your verified address, only your verified address will suffice. An address you added as a self-managed claim will not be accepted.
Adding self-managed claims helps you by securely storing your information and saving you time by letting you share that information quickly and correctly with relying parties you choose to interact with.
Currently, self-managed claims you can add include:
- Phone numbers
- Medical professionals’ information
- Medical information
- Emergency contact information
- Credit cards
- Employment information
Your transaction history is stored locally in the “History” tab of your eID-Me app. You can view your transaction history details, delete them, and even disable transaction history completely via the eID-Me settings.
The websites that can use eID-Me for online transactions are called “relying parties.” eID-Me currently works with Microsoft Azure Enterprise applications, allowing employees to bring their own identities to work. Other relying parties, including government and commercial services, will be supporting eID-Me over time.
Online Identity Transaction Flow
Referring to the above diagram, a typical online transaction with eID-Me works as follows:
- Visit an eID-Me website and initiate a transaction (by clicking a “Sign in with eID-Me” button or entering your username/email into the login field).
- The relying party’s service contacts eID-Me via a federation protocol which displays an eID-Me login form on the website. Type in your eID (located on the “Use eID” screen in the eID-Me app), and hit enter.
- The eID-Me Identity Provider sends an encrypted message to your phone for you to view and approve. The name of the relying party making the request as well as what information they are asking for is clearly shown for your approval. You may deselect any optional information you do not wish to share with the relying party. To approve the request, you must select the correct 4-digit anti-phishing code (from four choices) in the request. The correct code is clearly displayed in the eID-Me login form on the website.
- After confirming the transaction, the result is digitally signed by the eID-Me identity private key.
- After verifying the result, the requested claims are returned to the relying party, and you get access to the relying party’s services.
Note that some claims are optional and others are mandatory. You can deselect any optional claims that you don’t want the relying party to have. If you don’t wish to release a mandatory claim, then you can deny the transaction.
Offline (In-Person) Usage (Coming Soon)
eID-Me can also be used for offline (in-person) transactions as illustrated in the following diagram.
Offline (In-Person) Identity Transaction Flow
For in-person transactions, there is no eID-Me service involved. These transactions are performed directly between your phone and a host system (considered to be the relying party). Even though no eID-Me services are involved, the user experience is very similar to the online transaction use case.
There are many possibilities for what the host system can be, including a point of sale (POS) terminal at a retail store, a medical clinic check-in station, a police officer’s smartphone, an automobile, and a home door lock.
Have any questions? Please check our eID-Me FAQ: https://docs.bluink.ca/eid-me/faq.html.