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Will the EUDI Wallet go global? Experts discuss standardization

Will the EUDI Wallet go global? Experts discuss standardization
 

As Europe prepares to launch its European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet, its creators have been busy building up foundational frameworks and standards. The task is even more important as the wallet has ambitions beyond the continent: Standardization organizations are working on making the EUDI accepted even across the European Union’s border.

The EUDI will allow each European citizen to access public and private digital services with a tap on their mobile phones. In July, the project kicked off four pilots involving more than 250 private and public organizations across Europe. The European Commission has earmarked €46 million (roughly US$49 million) for the pilots.

“I think this is one of the biggest opportunities and maybe even the last one we have if we want to create the European sovereign framework and solutions from within Europe,” says Franziska Granc, Project Manager for Secure Digital Identities at Nimbus.

Granc spoke at the 9th Trust Services and EID Forum in Vienna last week, which focused on eIDAS2, the regulation governing the EUDI Wallet, and Trust Services under the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2).

Cross-border uses of the EUDI Wallet could be a huge benefit for businesses, according to Viktoria Ruubel, Managing Director of Digital Identity at Veriff. A single wallet that is recognized everywhere could give access to cross-border financial, e-commerce and other services to citizens.

Projects such as the OpenWallet Foundation (OWF) also give hope that the EUDI Wallet will integrate easily into global networks, the panelists said at the conference. At the same time, many of the standards that are being adopted into EUDI are based on international and open standards.

“It’s not something ad hoc created specifically for eEIDAS, there are these international standards and international protocols and formats, which should hopefully pave the way for this cross-border interoperability,” says Kotryna Urbanaite, Decentralised Identity Strategy Manager at Accenture.

But before global expansion, much more work needs to be done. To make the technology attractive even to the most skeptical parts of the public, its builders will need to prove it is secure and private. They will also need to overcome previous poor experiences with the interoperability of EUDI. Here is where proper certifications may come into play.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) have created a number of detailed standards to support the new digital wallet and eEIDAS, says Santino Foti, Vice Chair of the ETSI Technical Committee (TC) Electronic Signatures and Infrastructures (ESI).

“With the principle of eEIDAS regulation we have global access for citizens and enterprises, trustworthy identification schemes, we have electronic attestation attributes for cross border sharing of that information of identity and there is a stronger push towards mobile devices to use digital wallets,” says Foti.

The agency is hoping that in the future it will be able to work with other agencies on issues such as interoperability of credentials, identity proofing and biometrics, levels of authentication and certification and protection profiles.

Security of the EUDI Wallet is also a top priority. In July, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) released a report with new recommendations for standard makers focusing on digital IDs, including the EUDI Wallet.

“On top of all the efforts that have to be done and that are ongoing when it comes to regulation and harmonization, we need to make sure that the primary device that is used by millions of people in the field will by default offer the proper level of security,” says Fabien Courtiade, Director of Product Management at Qualcomm.

This will include ensuring that security is taken care of at the hardware level, including camera sanders and fingerprint sensors which will record biometric information during enrollment, he adds.

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