European Wallets: what are EUDIW and ARF?

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The European Union has published a reference architecture (RA) for digital identity wallets (EUDIW), which will enable EU citizens to securely store and manage their digital identity data for practical use cases.

Tomorrow, a European citizen will be able to prove his identity without having to present his physical ID card, in replacement of which he will be able to present the digital version stored in his wallet on his smartphone. The same goes for people wishing to prove their ability to drive in order to rent a car without having to present a physical driving license. 

What is EUDIW?

The EUDIW, accessible via a mobile application, will allow EU citizens to store their personal information (name, date of birth, postal address...) and use it to access restricted services according to certain criteria (age, location, ability to drive...). The EU digital identity wallet will therefore allow citizens to prove their digital identities directly with their identity wallet. Users will also be able to authorize access to their digital identity information to third parties, such as employers or other service providers. With the digital wallet, access to services is most secure and simple.

What is the ARF? 

The ARF provides a framework for the development of a digital identity wallet. It describes the technologies and components needed - standardized communication protocols, robust user interfaces and security mechanisms - to ensure the most secure wallet experience possible, while providing the most seamless user experience. The objective is to ensure that the wallet meets the needs of all users, while guaranteeing security and protection of personal data (RGPD compliance).

Questions still unanswered 

The issue of issuing proof of identity is important because only valid government agencies and trusted third parties should be able to issue identity attributes. These must be listed in a trusted registry. In addition to the question of which issuers are able to provide identity attributes, there is also the question of how the identity will be provided when the user first connects to the wallet: how will it be provided and under what conditions?

In summary, the EU Digital Identity Wallet is an important step forward in the management of EU citizens' digital identity data. The reference architecture provides a solid framework to ensure the security and usability of the wallet, while allowing users to control their personal data.