The Digital Identity of Europeans being Scrutinized by the Parliament to Speed Up the Planning Process

Legal - March 7, 2023

The European Union has Finally Established the Guidelines for the Constitution of the New European Digital Identity Wallet

The project, launched in 2021, would represent a real revolution in the field of functional digitization of citizens’ identities and the European Commission is ready to publish a new package of tools relating to architecture and standards, which could serve as a guideline for all the EU countries. The implementing rules will be build on an essential security basis for users so as to guarantee the processing of identification data, as controlled as possible and free from anomalies.

This package will still undergo several changes based on the updates decided during the commission’s preparation phase and will focus on a high level of trust guaranteed for all digital transactions in Europe, which will be made even simpler and more immediate by the new structure. The New European Digital Identity Portfolio will serve to group in a single controlled network all the various national digital identity systems currently in force such as, for example, the SPID in Italy, making them all work on a single continental platform accessible from every state of Europe.

The system will also be used for the digital preservation of documents and professional certificates which will always be consultable and accessible also through mobile apps. The possibility of accessing one’s identification data at any time and in any place, will allow banking operations such as opening an account, public utilities, such as the tax return and other tax requests as well as the possibility of university and school enrollments on everything the European territory.

Currently, the adoption of the new digital identity system is not mandatory for member states and probably will not be so in the future either, but large-scale “trial” projects have been funded to test the new structure for the most common requests, especially related to health and education. The states that will adopt the new digital archiving in the coming months will be facilitated for many operations, some of which are expressly requested by the European community, effectively isolating all the nations that have not joined from the digital community, thus making membership practically mandatory to the project, even if not expressly requested.

The peculiarity of the new digital system, subject of discussions, is the high risk of forced access to the sensitive data of European citizens, in the event of disputes with public bodies. The large amount of data recorded in the structure will allow for practically total control of the citizens by the state which will have to guarantee, in any way, the impossibility of deliberately accessing the archived files, in defense of a privacy that is in any case at risk. In recent years, characterized by the inconvenience caused by the Covid19 pandemic, it has been possible to test a very complex and vast digitization system, practically all over the world, necessary to guarantee the distance required by the international health community.

The question of the extreme digitization of citizens’ identification data has always been treated with caution due to the many ethical and moral issues it implies. In recent years there have been various proposals from companies and institutions, with the aim of making bureaucracy more immediate and accessible through the archiving of all useful civil data, but the question of privacy has always kept enthusiasm at bay. In the past there have also been those who even proposed the implantation of electronic control devices, under the skin, which would have allowed, for example, constant and reliable medical monitoring but which would also have made private isolation of the individual impossible .

It will be essential to understand what the real implications of the New European Digital Identity Portfolio might be in order to complete the design process and use it for practically all operations in which identification documents remain fundamental. Only then, we will have a complete picture of the strengths and weaknesses of a similar system.

Alessandro Fiorentino