Earlier this year, the European Commission put forward a proposal to create a framework for European Digital Identity to be used by all citizens across the European Union.
Could it be on the blockchain? One expert proposes this as a solution, as reported on Wednesday by Euractiv.
The original framework proposal, published officially on the European Commission website on June 3, 2021, explains how it aims to enable European Union citizens to prove who they are and to be able to send, receive or share digital documents from their European Digital Identity Wallets with ease and through their mobile phones.
In addition, citizens will also be able to gain access to various online services using their national ID in digital form and to make these services available to them across the European Union.
“Use of the European Digital Identity wallet will always be at the choice of the user,” the commission said in a statement.
“The European digital identity will enable us to do in any Member State as we do at home without any extra cost and fewer hurdles,” EU Commissioner for digital affairs Margrethe Vestager said at the time. Be that renting a flat or opening a bank account outside of our home country and do this in a way that is secure and transparent,” Vestager added.
Now, Herve Bonazzi, a specialist in information technology and the issue of digital trust as well as the CEO of Archipels, a consortium of four major French companies, is touting blockchain as the key technology for the successful implementation of the commission’s initiative.
“There is an opportunity to deploy a system in Europe based on this concept of self-sovereign identity and to take advantage of this formidable regulation to put digital trust back at the centre of exchanges,” Bonazzi told pan-European media network Euractiv.
“Blockchain is just a means that forces the ‘privacy by design’ approach and creates a network of trust between actors, so if we adopt systems of this type, we will greatly reduce the risks of data breaches as data is no longer hosted by a single entity,” Bonazzi added.
In simple terms, Blockchain allows for the recording of information in such a method that it makes it impossible to alter it, gain illicit access to it or otherwise manipulate the information stored within. It is commonly referred to as a digital ledger of transactions which is copied and shared across a network comprised of all computer systems participating in the blockchain.
However, the same report by Euractiv also notes that the European Commission has not mandated that all member states use blockchain technology to implement the European digital identity framework. The quotes by a commission representative explain that the commission is ‘technologically neutral’ on this matter but that this will be further examined and discussed with member states at a later point in time.