On December 6, 2022, the Digital Ministers of the European Union agreed on the legal framework that will govern the deployment of European digital identity wallets. This deployment is planned for 2024 in the form of interoperable applications with the same value as the physical documents they replace.
To ensure that the wallets are compatible with each other, the ministers finally retained the much-criticized principle of a unique identifier. But they have left the possibility for users to delete it upon request and, above all, have added an alternative record matching system, which will offer the same services while respecting privacy more.
The ministers also opted for the highest possible level of security, with the responsibility for already deployed and less secure applications to propose upgrades. Member States will also have to designate public and private bodies responsible for certifying the wallets, using a robust protocol developed by ENISA.
In the same logic, the digital wallet will favor storage and encryption in a dedicated chip on the device, like the Secure Element. If there is no such chip, storage and encryption in an external device (a dedicated key for example) will be authorized.
In addition, to comply with the Digital Market Act, the digital giants already offering identification systems will have to ensure interoperability between these services and digital wallets. In particular, they will have to allow the operators of these services to access the hardware and software characteristics of their identification technologies.
“We are looking at a massive breakthrough in the way people use their identity and credentials in their daily interactions with both public and private entities, and in the way they use digital services,” commented Ivan Bartos, Czech Deputy Prime Minister for Digital.