Concerns raised over EU Digital ID Wallet’s impact on privacy and discrimination

A stakeholder coalition has criticized the current legal framework for the European Digital ID system in an open letter. They express concerns about the potential loss of anonymity and the ability for Big Tech to track individuals.

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A coalition of civil society organisations, academics, and research institutions warns that the European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet could pose significant risks to Europeans’ online and offline lives unless privacy and anti-discrimination measures are implemented. In an open letter, the group urges European officials to reconsider the current direction of eIDAS 2.0, the legal framework for adopting a European Digital Identity system. 

The concern is that the system may eliminate anonymity, leading to an ‘over-identification’ and a loss of privacy. There are also worries that the system could enable Big Tech companies to track individuals’ behaviour. The letter suggests that the current form of the system would undermine the EU citizens’ privacy and place them at a lower privacy level compared to people in other regions. 

The letter also raises concerns about intrusive functions, system vulnerabilities, cyber attacks, and the lack of recourse for those excluded from the system. It emphasises the need for the EUDI Wallet to be voluntary and non-discriminatory. The system’s success depends on citizens’ trust and the implementation of proper safeguards. 

European member states have committed to providing the EUDI Wallet to citizens by the end of 2023, but they face challenges in achieving full interoperability, establishing technical standards, and addressing cybersecurity risks.