EU’s Digital Identity Wallet: A leap forward in secure personal data control

EU's Digital Identity Wallet: A leap forward in secure personal data control

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have arrived at a provisional political agreement on the key elements of the proposal for a European Digital Identity framework. This signals a major leap in digital identification, creating the foundational structure for a personal digital wallet in the form of a secure and handy mobile application.

The EU Digital Identity Wallet, Europe’s first trusted and secure digital identity app, is poised to transform the landscape of digital identification by empowering Europeans to have full control over their personal data while enjoying the convenience of mobile applications. This solution will offer EU citizens, residents, and businesses seamless and reliable access to both public and private online services across the continent.

In preparation for the full launch of the Digital Identity Wallet, the Commission is investing €46m from the Digital Europe Programme in four large-scale pilot programmes. These pilots aim to test the practicality of the Digital Identity Wallet in daily use cases like mobile driving licences, eHealth services, payments, as well as education and professional qualifications. The trials commenced on 1 April 2023 and are set to provide crucial insights to enhance the wallet’s technical specifications.

The Commission is working in tandem with Member States to ensure readiness for the launch of the EU Digital Identity Wallet, as stipulated in the Regulation. A key component of this collaboration is the creation of a Toolbox of technical aspects required to construct the prototype European Digital Identity Wallet app. The first version of the Toolbox, released on GitHub in February 2023, will continue to be updated and will become a mandatory requirement once the legislative process surrounding the European Digital Identity framework reaches its conclusion.

Looking ahead, additional technical work is necessary to finalise the legal text in alignment with the provisional political agreement. This will then be put forth for formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council. Once ratified, the European Digital Identity framework will take effect on the 20th day following its publication in the Official Journal.

The EU Digital Identity Wallet initiative is a key pillar of the 2030 Digital Decade policy programme, which outlines Europe’s digital transformation aspirations for the next decade. By 2030, the goal is for all key public services to be accessible online, allowing citizens to access their online health records and ensure everyone has access to secure, privacy-enhancing eID.

The Digital Identity Wallet is built upon the foundation of the European electronic identification and trust services initiative (eIDAS Regulation), which has provided the basis for cross-border electronic identification, authentication, and website certification within the EU since 2014. The newly reached political agreement enhances the existing framework and extends its benefits to the private sector for secure and convenient digital identity for mobile use.

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