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Mercoledì, 17 Aprile 2024
Digitalisation

EU to launch its own digital wallet: a landmark step in digital transformation

The digital wallet will soon be available to all citizens and businesses of EU member states, simplifying online identification and access to services

Europe is on the brink of introducing Eudi, EU's new European Digital Identity wallets, which promises streamlined access to a wide range of online services while ensuring secure and rapid identification. The final approval of the new EU regulation, which guarantees universal access to secure and reliable electronic identification and authentication across the bloc, marks a significant milestone. Following the latest vote by the EU Council, European citizens will soon benefit from a new tool enabling them to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their digital wallets using their phones. The regulation, ratified today (March 26), signifies a leap forward from the 2014 eIDAS regulation, which focused on electronic identification and trust services for online transactions within the internal market. This regulation is critical for ensuring secure access to public services and facilitating digital transactions both within and beyond the EU.

What is the digital wallet?

"The adoption of the European digital identity regulation is a milestone in our society’s digital transformation. Enabling citizens to have a unique and secure European digital wallet while remaining in full control of their personal data is a key step forward for the EU, which will set a global benchmark in the digital field and enhance security when engaging with online services," stated Mathieu Michel, Belgium's State Secretary for Digitalisation and Privacy Protection, country currently holding the Eu presidency. Eudi will provide all citizens with a straightforward way to access online services using their national digital identification, such as a driver's license or professional qualifications. With a system designed to guard against fraud and identity theft, users will be able to conduct a wide range of critical operations, including tax payments, contract signings, bank account openings, hotel check-ins, and much more, across Europe. These wallets will be recognised throughout the EU, eliminating the need for private identification methods or excessive sharing of personal data.

Rollout by 2026 at the latest

Member states are required to provide their citizens with a digital identity application by 2026, based on shared technical standards and subject to mandatory certification. These digital wallets will include a register of all transactions, accessible both online and offline, and will offer tools to report data protection violations and interact with other digital wallets. Citizens will have the option to link their digital wallets to existing national digital identities, such as Italy's SPID (Public Digital Identity System), and use free electronic signatures for non-professional purposes. The digital wallet's business model, including issuance, usage, and revocation, will be free for all individuals. Additionally, measures will be implemented to prevent discrimination against those who choose not to use the wallet, which will always remain voluntary. The application code will be open source, but member states will have the flexibility to withhold certain application components for justified reasons. The revised regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the EU in the coming weeks and will enter into force 20 days after its publication. The regulation will be fully implemented by 2026.

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