How far the European Digital Identity Wallet will replace the “paper and ink” ritual?

The quick expansion of digital tools and devices that allow citizens to upload and sign documents or authenticate themselves for a variety of online services using mobile phones during the pandemic is here to stay. Even better, to take off. Most of these innovations will have regulatory support by the eIDAS 2.0 Regulation and a legal value cross-border.

Let’s take a look back at the most common issues we have faced during the lockdown period:

#1 – How can I prove who I am on the internet – this is a historical problem spinning around for the past 30 years;

#2 – I need to sign a document with legal value and send it over – so I need a digital certificate for signature and a signing application. To get my digital certificate, I need to prove my identity to the provider. For that, I have to book an online appointment with an operator to answer several questions, show my paper identity documents, upload copies of them on a website, and other several additional steps until I’m finally able to digitally sign.

#3 –  I have booked a flight, checked in, printed the boarding passes (at least two for direct flight) or saved them on my mobile phone. At the airport, I must present the boarding pass and my ID documents several times until I’m on board.

#4 – After a medical appointment, I get at least the visit report from the physician and various prescriptions for other medical checks or drugs.

#5 – I have changed the country of residence and need to open a bank account. The bank is asking different pieces of information  – my ID, residence permit and proof of income

#6 – I have been accepted for a new job, and before the employment agreement signature, the employer needs to check my identity, my qualifications, and diploma

These are several scenarios from an endless list, that require filling out forms, signatures, copies of documents, uploads, downloads, payments, and face-to-face interactions with public authorities. Identity proofing and verification of personal information (age, residency, income, taxes, studies, driving license, health insurance) are the most painful, time and money consuming, and frustrating experiences of the modern time. But this is coming to an end, once the eIDAS 2.0 Regulation will enter into force in 2024 and the EUDI Wallet will be available for all EU citizens.

What is bringing new the eIDAS 2.0 and why is so important?

While the policy makers collaborate with top experts in identity, digital services and privacy to make our digital twin a reality, here is what you need to know: every European citizen could have a digital identity wallet where can be retrieved the electronic identity, birth certificate, health insurance, electronic prescriptions, driving license, graduation certificates, payment cards, traveling tickets, boarding passes. Can you imagine – all you need at a click distance?

But the most important thing is that for the first time we will know for sure with whom we share our data, because the Wallet will allow us to give or to revoke our consent for the pieces of information we disclose with service providers or third parties.

How the previous scenarios will be improved using the Wallet?

Prove your identity – the Wallet will present the name and surname, date of birth, nationality from your electronic identity issued by the Member State where you are resident.

Open a bank account or request a loan – the Wallet will combine the necessary pieces of information (identity, residence, income) from different attestations (electronic identity, residence permit, salary slip) and will present them to the bank.

Sign a document with legal value – select the signature provider, then the Wallet will present the name and surname, date of birth, nationality from your electronic identity, and you’ll be able to generate on the fly a qualified electronic signature.

Medical appointment and electronic prescriptions – the Wallet will present my identity data and health insurance, will store pack the electronic prescriptions which can be safely sent to the pharmacy.

The future holds unlimited possibilities, huge challenges and huge advantages at the same time.

Would you really still put your money on the old “ink and paper” or on the European Digital Identity Wallet?

by Viky Manaila