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EU Parliament pursues EUDI wallet for access to public services

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The European Parliament is moving forward with discussions on amending the European Digital Identity (eID) framework and establishing the European Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI Wallet) to offer E.U. citizens a secure and convenient way to access public services.

On March 15, the European Parliament approved further discussion on amending the eID framework and establishing the EUDI Wallet. The purpose of the EUDI Wallet is to provide E.U. residents with a digital method for accessing public services while maintaining control over their personal information.

The European Parliament aims to make the wallet available to 80% of the population by 2030. This could be achieved by requiring support from e-government services, businesses conducting KYC checks, and major online platforms such as Google and Facebook.

Following discussions with the European Council, the subsequent step would be implementation. Adopting the wallet is dependent on its usability, with the primary challenge being to simplify citizens’ interactions with public services and administrations.

Clemens Schleupner, a policy officer specializing in digital identity, suggests that consolidating electronic IDs, health cards, driver’s licenses, and other documents into a single wallet has the potential for widespread appeal.

Nonetheless, privacy remains a key concern. Since the final regulations are yet to be determined, it is essential to devise a legal framework that permits organizations to request user data only when necessary. Wallet providers must ensure compliance with legal requirements when processing data.

Thomas Lohninger, executive director of data protection non-profit organization epicenter.works, underscores the significance of privacy and trust for the wallet’s success. He also cautioned against “over-identification,” which may result in a loss of anonymity during daily interactions.

To address these concerns, the European Parliament has incorporated a non-discrimination clause that safeguards individuals who decide not to utilize the E.U. wallet. This protective measure must now endure negotiations involving the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission.

Zero-knowledge proofs (zk-proofs) may serve as a fundamental feature of the E.U. wallet, allowing users to selectively reveal specific information.

However, before adoption, E.U. regulators must confirm that zk-proofs adhere to privacy regulations and satisfy all general data protection regulation requirements.

The challenge for the E.U. is to develop a functional, secure, and dependable digital identity tool for its citizens, which could have far-reaching implications for other digital and blockchain-based identification systems.

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