European digital identity requires strong guarantees, says European Committee of the Regions

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR), an advisory and representative body for the regions and cities of the European Union, published its opinion on the creation of a digital identity portfolio on 12 October 2021.

A common framework

Presented by the European Commission last June, this proposal aims to establish a framework for an accessible digital identity for all EU citizens, residents and businesses. They will be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European digital identity wallet with the click of a button on their smartphone. These portfolios can be provided by public authorities or by private entities, provided they are recognized by the Member States.

The CoR welcomed this initiative but also warned of certain abuses. First, it calls for an extension of the transition period during which member states will have to set up a digital wallet. Initially, the European Commission had set a period of 12 months from the entry into force of the regulation. The Committee waits 24 months “maximum”.

Dangers to computer security

A hasty implementation runs the risk of poor technical infrastructure, reports the spokesperson for the European territories. “In such a sensitive area that affects personally identifiable data, quality takes precedence over speed,” he wrote in his opinion.

In fact, remember that the European wallet is based on the centralized storage of identity data. This makes this device “a prime target for cyberattacks.” As such, he advocates keeping security in mind throughout the entire process of developing and using wallets.

Intensive communication

For digital identity to be successful, users must embrace it, says the committee. Hence the need for “intensive communication (…) on the possibilities of use.” It is also worth highlighting the precautions taken in terms of data protection and security.

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