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EU moves into negotiations on legal framework for digital identity, wallet plan

EU moves into negotiations on legal framework for digital identity, wallet plan

The political process is moving ahead on the European Digital Identity, reports Euractiv, with the EU Parliament adopting a mandate to negotiate the legal framework designed to be the foundation for an EU-wide digital wallet program.

The vote was only a formality, following the adoption of the plan in mid-February. But it sets up negotiations across institutions, to address political agreements across nations and hot-button issues such as privacy and accessibility.

“Today’s plenary vote brings us one step closer to a trusted digital identity framework that gives the users of the digital wallet full control over their own data,” said Romana Jerkovic, rapporteur for the EU Parliament, according to Euractiv. “The measure of trust in the new system by our citizens will be the ultimate measure of its success, and we will continue to work hard to earn that trust.”

Europe’s digital wallet system is being designed to measure up to behemoths such as Google and Apple: ID document storage that can include birth certificates, driver’s licenses and other forms of personal identification, usable across EU nations.

Considerations include privacy and accessibility for the elderly

To ensure privacy protection, Parliament has insisted on strict safeguards, which include limiting the system’s ability to track user data across different interactions. Users will have the right, under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to use pseudonyms when the law does not require ID verification. A unique numerical identifier attached to an individual will only be required in select circumstances; the majority will rely on record-matching, a process to confirm personal identity by comparing different pieces of information.

Other factors shaping the negotiations are whether the EU’s digital wallet should be made obligatory for accessing public services, and how that would impact elderly citizens; and how to govern the scope of data available to relying parties — for instance, how to ensure age verification collected for alcohol sales does not also enable access to other sensitive data, such as home address.

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