The European Parliament has voted to advance the EU Digital Wallet initiative, which is aimed at creating a digital wallet for EU citizens. The EU Digital Identity framework was introduced in 2021 to ensure the protection of EU citizens’ digital identity. The initiative will enable citizens to authenticate and identify themselves online using a European digital identity wallet without having to resort to commercial providers.
On March 15, the European Parliament voted in favor of negotiating a mandate for talks with EU member states on the revision of the new European Digital Identity framework. The vote resulted in 418 in favor, 103 against, and 24 abstentions. This move paves the way for the creation of a digital wallet that will be applicable throughout the European Union.
Introduced in June 2021, the eID legislative proposal’s primary goal is to establish a “European Digital Identity” and a dedicated digital wallet for both EU citizens and businesses.
The EU council is now ready to start the discussions on the final form of the legislation immediately, based on the amendments adopted from the Industry, Research, and Energy Committee (ITRE) in February. The amendments introduced the zero-knowledge proofs standard, which will allow EU citizens to have complete control over their identity data. This feature will enable them to store their identity data, such as names and addresses, as well as digitised documents like bank account information, birth certificates, diplomas, and other documents for cross-border use – all in their EU digital identity wallet (eID).
While the introduction of a European Union-wide digital wallet has the potential to increase convenience and security for citizens, it also carries potential risks. One of the main concerns is that if the wallet is hacked, it could lead to a massive data breach with personal and sensitive information of millions of EU citizens being exposed. Additionally, there is a risk of increased surveillance and loss of privacy if government agencies or private entities gain access to the data stored in the digital wallet. These risks must be addressed and mitigated to ensure the success of this initiative.
The EU Digital Wallet initiative represents a significant development for the digital identity and privacy landscape in Europe. By enabling EU citizens to control their digital identity and authenticate themselves online, the initiative has the potential to increase trust, security, and privacy. As the EU council prepares to begin discussions on the final form of the legislation, it is essential to ensure that measures are put in place to address and mitigate potential risks.