Global: EU Embraces New Digital Identity Wallet Framework as a “Paradigm Shift”

EU Embraces New Digital Identity Wallet Framework as a Paradigm Shift
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The European Council has officially embraced a groundbreaking framework for European Digital Identity Wallets (EUDIWs), heralding a significant advancement in the continent’s digital landscape. The adoption of this framework marks a pivotal moment in the EU’s journey towards digital transformation, according to Mathieu Michel, Belgian Secretary of State for digitization, administrative simplification, privacy protection, and building regulation.

Michel lauds the adoption of the framework as “a milestone in our society’s digital transformation,” emphasizing its role in empowering citizens to possess a unique and secure digital identity while retaining full control over their personal data. He asserts that this initiative positions the EU as a global leader in the digital realm and strengthens security measures for online engagements. Moreover, by prioritizing citizens’ needs, the European digital identity regulation aims to streamline access to online public services, alleviating the burden of administrative complexity.

The revised regulations signify a paradigm shift, aiming to make digital identity more accessible and secure for European businesses and individuals. EUDIWs will integrate citizens’ national digital identities with other verified personal attributes, such as driver’s licenses or bank accounts, facilitating identity verification and access to online services across the EU without resorting to private identification methods or unnecessary data sharing.

Under the new law, EU member states are mandated to provide digital identity wallets to citizens, residents, and businesses and to recognize EUDIWs from other member states by 2026, aligning with the deadline for full implementation. Additionally, EUDIWs must offer free-of-charge validation mechanisms to ensure the authenticity and validity of the wallet and the relying parties’ identity. Issuance, usage, and revocation of the wallet are to be cost-free for all individuals, with provisions in place to safeguard those who choose not to utilize it.

Crucially, the code for the wallet will be open source, with member states retaining some discretion to keep certain components confidential. Consistency between European Digital Identity Wallets and the scheme under which they are issued is mandated to ensure harmonization.

The final revised regulation is poised to be published in the EU’s Official Journal in the coming weeks, taking effect 20 days after publication. This momentous step underscores the EU’s commitment to fostering a secure, accessible, and citizen-centric digital environment.

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