EU unveils digital ID wallet that can link to citizens’ bank details, driving license and other services
The European Commission has launched the EU’s new digital identity wallets, allowing users in the bloc’s 27 member states to prove their identity and access services via their mobile phones.
The EU’s 450 million citizens will be able to use the service to file tax returns, open bank accounts, enroll at universities and link their national digital identity to their driving license, officials said at a press conference on Thursday.
The wallets are not compulsory, and people will be able to choose which aspects of their identity, data and certificates they share with third parties, the Commission said.
The EU’s executive has asked member states to set up the technical system and guidelines underpinning the scheme by September 2022, and for them to start preparatory work immediately.
Despite Brussels’ assurances of the scheme’s safety, Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes has voiced opposition to the plans.
Speaking to the Express newspaper, he warned that the bloc-wide digital identity wallet was a sign the EU was turning into a “huge concentration camp ran by eurocrats” using a “Big Brother centralized style system.”
He also raised security fears, including that the system could be penetrated and that the EU “wants to ‘take care’ of our passwords, IDs, credit cards and other financial and personal data.”
Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s lead on digital technology, said the scheme is “secure and transparent.”
“EU citizens not only expect a high level of security but also convenience,” the Commission’s industry chief, Thierry Breton, said.
The EU has said the digital identity wallets could bring in as much as €9.6 billion ($11.7 billion) in extra revenue to the bloc and generate up to 27,000 new jobs over five years.