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Move over, Armani: Italy’s It Wallet is the digital ID accessory of the season

Move over, Armani: Italy’s It Wallet is the digital ID accessory of the season

Bravo to Italy for the forthcoming launch of its digital wallet scheme, clearing the path for a national digital identity program. Reports say the so-called It Wallet will roll out in January 2025, aligned with the framework of the European digital identity wallet (EUDI) and activated through Italy’s electronic identity card (CIE) or SPID digital identity system. It follows the publication of the European Union’s eIDAS 2.0, the regulation setting standards for national electronic identification systems.

In an interview with Senator Alessio Butti posted on the website for the Department of Digital Transformation, he calls It Wallet the first digital wallet to be legally valid for collecting citizens’ essential ID documents, such as identity cards and driving licenses, compatible with any smartphone. (Belgium, which launched its national digital identity wallet last week, may have something to say about that.)

Butti, undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council with responsibility for technological innovation, confirms that a test phase for the digital wallet will begin in September 2024, with the app being “progressively made available to a wider audience of users” through the fall and an official launch in winter 2025 – a full year ahead of the EUDI Wallet’s target launch date of 2026. He calls this “a strategic choice aimed at positioning Italy as a leader in the adoption of digital technologies and in compliance with the new European regulations on digital identity.”

(It does, however, mean that mobile drivers licenses will not be valid internationally until the EUDI update, according to Smartphone Magazine.)

“The introduction of the It Wallet will lead to significant simplification for users, who will be able to manage digital identities and credentials in a single tool, reducing the need for intermediaries and increasing security and transparency,” he says. “For public and private service providers, the It Wallet will facilitate access and verification of credentials, optimizing delivery processes and improving operational efficiency.”

Butti says citizens will have greater control over their digital identity and the data transmitted, being able to show credentials and biometrics securely both in person and online. In his plan, trust leads to greater adoption, so safety is a top priority.

Butti says his department is “building, together with local authorities, citizens and businesses, the digital infrastructure and culture of the future,” a path it intends to continue “with the utmost stubbornness.” The Council of Ministers has approved a bill on national AI strategy  , he points out, in addition to the digital wallet.

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