Estonia and Luxembourg Initiate the EU Digital Identity Wallet Trials

November 22, 2023

Estonia and Luxembourg have initiated efforts to establish secure digital identity wallets, aimed at facilitating the digitization of public services and adhering to newly introduced European Digital Identity Regulations.

Throughout a 26-month pilot scheme, EU countries will evaluate the effectiveness of launching their digital identity wallets enabling citizens to store digital credentials on their mobile phones, reportedly. The innovation will lead to streamlined access to digital banking services, eGovernment services, mobile driver’s licenses, and legally verified digital documents. The eIDAS proposal from the European Union might come across as a requirement for member states therefore, continued collaboration will be crucial to examine whether proven solutions can be deployed extensively to serve all EU citizens, while also ensuring technical interoperability and complying with European standards.

Collaboration between Estonia’s Digital ID and Cybernetica

Estonia will collaborate with Cybernetic to initiate trial of EU digital identity wallet. In partnership with the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA), Cybernetica will conduct an analysis of Estonia’s digital ID wallet, marking the first phase of a €6,000,000 (nearly US$6,523,590) four-year framework agreement, as per media reports. The analysis will also assess the wallet’s compatibility with the country’s digital ID framework. Cybernetica will assist RIA via practical research and consultation services within information security.

The development of the digital wallet is consistent with the strategy for a Europe-wide digital ID wallet system (EUDIW), that adheres to the European digital identity regulation (eIDAS),  with the ultimate objective of implementing digital wallets across the European Union. The latest eIDAS legislation presents new prospects for Estonia’s digital IDs to be employed at an international scale, expanding the reach beyond national borders.

As a part of the research program, Cybernetica is currently working on the SplitKey cryptographic service provider (CSP), for the upcoming eID wallet application. The financial support is provided by Enterprise Estonia and KredEx, amounting to nearly €300,000 (US$326,132). SplitKey CSP is developed to eliminate the possibility of duplicating documents stored in a digital wallet by associating them with cryptographic keys, ensuring security that doesn’t require hardware dependence.

EUDIW Pilot Use Cases in Luxembourg

The Ministry for Digitalisation and Government IT Centre in Luxembourg will reportedly examine digital ID wallet effectiveness in four use cases within the 26-month EUDIW pilot by POTENTIAL Consortium.

The EUDIW pilot project covers four distinct cases including secure digital access to government services, utilization of digital IDs for European bank account opening, continent-wide recognition of mobile driver’s licenses for interactions with police, and establishing qualified eSignatures for remote legal documents recognized by member states.

The EUDIW project is designed to ensure compliance with the upcoming eIDAS regulation, which mandates the provision of digital wallets to each member state. As per the updated regulation, by the year 2030, at least 80 percent of European citizens would be able to utilize digital IDs for accessing public services.

About eIDAS

On November 8,  the European Parliament and the Council of the EU agreed on eIDAS 2.0  regulations, stands for electronic identification, authentication and trusted devices, which aim to provide a secure and reliable digital identity for all the citizens of Europe. The eIDAS Regulation provides a legal framework that spans across borders and ensures the interoperability of electronic identification systems in all the EU member states.

Also read: Evolution of Identity Verification in the Digital Age

Different governments and private sectors are taking initiatives to introduce digital identity technology in their systems and frameworks to enhance security and streamline user experience. Ethiopia plans to provide digital identity cards to 9 million citizens and residents to improve access to essential services. This initiative is known as the National Identification Programme (NIDP), led by the Office of the Prime Minister will be achieved in next three years and seeks to ensure that most of the people from Ethiopia can benefit from digital ID cards.