The international Porvoo Group supports the deployment of electronic identity in Europe

The Porvoo Group is an international cooperative network whose primary goal is to promote a trans-national, secure, interoperable electronic identity, in order to help ensure secure public and private sector e-transactions in Europe. The Group also promotes the introduction of interoperable certificates and technical specifications, the mutual, cross-border acceptance of identification and authentication mechanisms, as well as cross-border, online access to administrative services. 

As its name suggests, the Porvoo Group was established in the Finnish city of Porvoo in April 2002. Following the joint initiative by one of the eEurope Smart Card Charter chairmen and the Director General of the Finnish Population Register Centre, the founding meeting took place at Hotel Haikko Manor during the international conference held in conjunction with the Public Identity Project of the Smart Card Charter operating under the eEurope 2002 programme.

The Group has seen constant expansion. The majority of its members represent their respective national authorities but representatives of the business community as well as the European Commission and the UN have also contributed to its work. At present, countries from Europe, the United States and Japan have representatives in the Group.

The Porvoo Group is a pro-active, economically and politically independent, European-level electronic identity “interest group”, widely recognised as a significant and relevant contributor to informed public dialogue in this area.

The Porvoo Group aims to meet twice a year

The Porvoo Group's two-day conferences are held every six months, if possible. The conferences always include a comprehensive presentation by the hosting country on the situation of the Information Society and the electronic identity in the said hosting country. In addition, the participating countries present their country updates. The primary objective of the conferences is to bring under discussion “Best practices”, present on-going identity projects, follow the progress of standardisation and biometrics in the field of electronic identity, discuss the EU regulation on identification and digital signatures and try to keep on communication between various interest groups.

The permanent secretariat coordinates the function of the Group

The Finnish Population Register Centre constitutes the permanent secretariat of the Porvoo Group. The Chair of the Group is Head of Registration, Ms Tuire Saaripuu.

The secretariat jointly organises conferences together with the hosting country organisation. The secretariat also manages communications between conferences and handles media relations pertaining to the conferences together with the hosting country organisation.

The permanent secretariat of the Porvoo Group:

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