European digital identity: what is the digital wallet?

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The digital wallet is already a tool that is used more and more and that allows to dematerialize certain elements that we will find in our wallet such as a payment card, but also means to prove our identity. In order to offer a secure and standardized solution, the European Union has proposed the implementation of a European digital wallet. This European digital identity would allow everyone to have identity documents and digital documents accessible everywhere in Europe.

What is the European digital identity?

The European digital identity as proposed by the European Union is a way for citizens, residents, but also European companies to identify themselves digitally, but also to manage identification data and identity documents from a digital space. This European Union identity will allow citizens to benefit from a proof of their digital identity accessible everywhere in Europe to complete their national identity documents.

This digital identity portfolio would be provided by public authorities or private entities recognized by the services of European Union member states. It is conceivable that banks or insurance companies could offer a European digital identity service to facilitate the identification of their customers.

As far as the use cases of the digital identity wallet are concerned, they will be multiple. For example, it will be possible to prove one's age in order to access certain services, to store documents such as a medical prescription or a diploma, etc. The goal is for this tool to be used in all EU member states.

What data protection for the European digital identity?

If the digital wallet can be considered by the European Union, it is because it is now possible to set up a data protection system that allows a high level of security. Indeed, the European digital identity aims to give back to the citizens the hand on the management of their data, and this, through a secure system. One of the methods of creation, attribution and management of personal data - put forward by Archipels - is the Self-Sovereign Identity. This implies that data sharing will only be possible if the owner of the digital wallet agrees. Since the European digital identity implies storing biometric, identity or health data, high security criteria must be put in place to guarantee the integrity of the stored information.

Therefore, it is easy to imagine compliance with the eIDAS regulation, which all EU countries must comply with, as well as other measures to provide a safe and fully secure solution.

When will this solution be available?

On December 6, 2022, the Council of the European Union formalized its position on the establishment of this digital portfolio. On December 14, 2022, the European Commission announced the result of the tender for this project. 148 participants from 19 Member States have come together to pilot the new digital wallet prototype for 6 uses (e-government services, account opening, SIM card registration, mobile driver's license, qualified remote electronic signature and electronic prescription). It appears that the project is scheduled to launch in early May 2023. It is therefore a very concrete project that should see the light of day very soon and thus allow many European citizens to access, if they wish, a European digital identity solution.

Let's bet that with the upcoming arrival of e-ID technologies, the relationships between individuals, institutions and companies will undergo a complete revolution!