Brussels has plans to introduce a European digital identity (eID). According to experts, there are quite a few obstacles to the idea. And they say to NU.nl. Latent over-identification.
The European Commission announced the plans in June 2021. Brussels wants an implementation – the EU itself is talking about a file Pocket wallet Provide everything you want to know about yourself, such as driver’s license, diplomas and medical certificates.
With a digital ID, you should be able to engage with the government, as well as with businesses. This includes, for example, proof that you are of age if you want to buy alcohol, if you are going to open a bank account or if you want to log in to social media.
The intent is for member states to build their own applications. The applications must then meet certain requirements and can be linked together. It is still not clear exactly what it will look like.
Bart Jacobs, professor of computer security at Radboud University in Nijmegen, is positive about the European Commission’s plans. He believes that such an application is “a good idea in principle” and believes that citizens can benefit from it. But he also immediately emphasizes: “There are a number of obstacles.”
Security guarantee in case of hacking
According to him, these are mainly in the implementation of the plan. For example, Jacobs believes that the app open source It must. This means that its source code is public. Everyone can then check that no data has been sent away.
Jacobs also supports decentralized data storage. This means that citizens’ data is not stored in one place, but on your own device. You can then log in somewhere yourself without being monitored by a third party, as Facebook now does when you log in via Facebook.
According to the professor, there is also an important role for the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP). “People should be able to file a complaint somewhere, for example if a party requests too much personal data. According to AVG, this is prohibited anyway, but with such an application the risk of this increases.”
Do not rely on Apple and Google
Jaap-Henk Hopmann, associate professor of privacy at Radboud University Nijmegen, understands why Brussels is working on eID. According to him, the European Commission is in a difficult position.
“If they don’t come up with European verification, Apple and Google will realize something like this. That means you’re completely dependent on the tech giants to get your digital passports. That’s a situation you don’t want to end up in.”
Hopman, like Jacobs, believed that over-identification is latent. “With electronic identification, you make it easier for service providers to get information about you. But it’s not meant to ask you your age if you want to send a package.”
According to him, there should also be an alternative for people who do not have or do not want a smartphone. He emphasizes that it should not be neglected. By the way, according to the European Commission, the use of the application is not mandatory.
Increasingly defining services
Vincent Burr, director of Privacy First, is not enthusiastic about the European Commission’s plan. “We basically see flaws in this. With eID, you risk having to identify yourself to get more and more services. We think that’s unnecessary anyway.”
According to him, the privacy-friendly app will still be manageable. “But the question remains whether this is simply a wrong course that we as a society should not take at all,” Bohr says.
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