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European Commission Proposes a Digital Identity Wallet for all EU Citizens

(Medianama) – The European Commission on June 3 proposed a framework for a European Digital Identity wallet which will be available to all European Union (EU) citizens, residents, and businesses and allow them to prove their identity and avail services across the Member States.

Last month, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held a roundtable discussing why inter-governmental identity data sharing might be needed, what the current status is in this regard, and what will happen in the future. While other countries are currently more focused on how digital identity can be used within the country, the EU is the first international bloc to begin work on cross-border identification services.

Why have a European Digital Identity? 

To address issues of existing identification services: The EU currently uses the European electronic identification and trust services initiative (eIDAS Regulation) for cross-border electronic identification. However, until now there was no regulation that required Member States to develop a national digital ID and to make it interoperable with one another. This has led to high discrepancies between countries and deprivation of the benefits of a single market.

Current eIDs also pose other limitations such as lack of flexibility to support a variety of use cases and complexity for online private providers to connect to the system. Currently, only about 60% of the EU population are able to use their national eID cross-border and only 14% of key public service providers accept these eIDs.

To achieve 2030 Digital Compass goals: By using the digital identity, the Commission envisions achieving many of the targets set in the 2030 Digital Compass. These targets include making available all key public services online, providing citizens access to electronic medical records; and enabling 80% of citizens to use an eID solution that is trusted and user-controlled. This initiative further supports the Union’s transformation towards a Digital Single Market.

Nation-specific practices create the risk of increased fragmentation: Acknowledging that citizens and businesses should benefit from the availability of secure and trustworthy digital identity, the commission states that this can only be facilitated at the EU level. The commission argued that national level practices would lead to increased fragmentation and prevent interoperability and cross-border acceptance.

The pandemic effect: The Commission also stated that the pandemic has increased the digitalisation of services, which in turn, has increased the demand by users and business for means to identify and authenticate online. The European Digital Identity will be able to securely and efficiently provide these authentication services. Read Full Article >

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