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The European Digital Identity is born

The Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age loves the idea:

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said: “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. 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. So that we will decide how much information we wish to share about ourselves, with whom and for what purpose. This is a unique opportunity to take us all further into experiencing what it means to live in Europe, and to be European.”

However Laurie Clarke of TechMonitor is not so keen:

“The EU digital ID scheme could be a boon for SMEs but a security nightmare”,

Today, the EU announced plans for a bloc-wide digital identity scheme that will allow citizens to use public and private services online. The digital wallet would store payment details, passwords and digital ID cards, and be interoperable across the 27 EU member countries. But the scheme is yet to settle on technical standards, and could be besieged by privacy and security concerns before it gets off the ground.

The EU will reportedly force a structural separation preventing companies that use the system from repurposing customer data for other commercial activities, such as marketing. It also stressed that users of the digital identity solution will be in control of their data. But the melding of public and private services could pose privacy concerns in future. Privacy advocates have repeatedly warned about the potential for digital ID cards to erode civil liberties – particularly when data collected by the scheme ends up being used for immigration control or policing purposes.

On the security side, “This puts an awful lot of sensitive data in one place,” says Marcus. Cybersecurity threats have been growing over the years both from commercial and government-sponsored hackers, which could threaten the digital ID scheme. “This is a high-value target, both for criminal gangs and for governments. If this data gets out in the wild, it would be bad.”

Some of the responses to Ursula Von der Leyen’s tweet are less enthusiastic still. Someone called “Tom” says,

This would sound like an impending Orwellian nightmare if not for the inevitable certainty that the Commission will find a way to f*** it up.

12 comments to The European Digital Identity is born

  • Fraser Orr

    Thank God for the EU. How did we ever rent a flat or open a bank account before they came along?

  • bobby b

    Sounds like the people over here (in the US) telling me to stop using cash, that virtual money will lead us to a safer and more secure future.

    (Once we have all of your records, we can better protect you!”)

  • APL

    Fraser Orr: “How did we ever rent a flat or open a bank account before they came along?”

    The British have completely transformed their arrangements over my lifetime, too. Once upon a time, you could just walk into a bank, express a desire to open a bank account, and presto! Half an hour later you’d have your brand spanking new account open.

    A year ago this month, I tried to open a new HSBC account, bear in mind, I’ve been a customer of that bank since it’s Midland Bank days. Could I just sign into my account and open the new account? No chance, despite being an online account, it required I send them this that, the other document. Then that wasn’t good enough, I had to call them, that didn’t work, I had to call them again, eventually after about 45 minutes on that call, nothing could be done, and I had to walk into town and speak to someone in the local branch.

    It is obviously one of the benefits of a diverse == low trust society, that our political class exchanged for the high trust but ( obviously racist and xenophobic, natch. ) society that existed prior to the destructive immigration policies of the Blair years. The worst is, given the level of fraud in the banking industry, it’s all mostly futile and counterproductive administrative overhead.

    It’s the same if you try getting a job through an agency. And the last change of employment I had, the so called security company that my potential employer had engaged were still asking for trivial documentation six months after I’d started in the role. Their, what turned into, in my opinion, harassment only stopped when I told them, “No, I can’t provide that additional document”.

    By contrast, my first job, involved a trip to London, an interview, then receiving a letter inviting me to start in x number of days.

    Ah, the good old days.

  • itellyounothing

    Digital over penetration of sensitive areas by the EU. I hope Ursula takes note.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes bobby b – this is an international movement.

    The European Union, the United States and so on – World Economic Forum and the rest of the Technocracy supporting international establishment. “Cashless society” is part of the plans, as is a version of the People’s Republic of China “Social Credit” system.

    Their vision of the future is their jackboot coming down on a human face – for ever.

  • John B

    France has launched a digital ‘pass sanitaire’ – proof of vaccination or negative PCR. This will be part of a Europe-wide scheme.

    We can see where all this is heading can’t we?

    PayPal is obliged to inform French authorities of users resident in France.

    Grand Frère IS watching you.

  • llamas

    Take heart. As Frank Abagnale is fond of saying, we’ll have a cashless society, about the same time as we have a paperless toilet.

    When I started working in the banking-equipment industry, designing ATMs, back in the 1970s, FGS, this same talk was all the rage. Oh, you need to get out of that line of work! There’s no future in it! In 5 years, nobody will use cash anymore!

    And when they threw me out of that line of work, in 2014, they were still saying the exact-same thing. The cashless society truly is the wave of the future. Always has been. Always will be.

    I find, at least in the last couple of years, that I am using cash, more and more, and for larger and larger things. It’s to my advantage. I just had some chimney work done, a 4-figure job of work. As soon as I said the word ‘cash’, there was an immediate, no-questions-asked 10% discount.

    See also ‘The Unbanking of America’, by Lisa Servon, which I have had cause to recommend here before. Between 25 and 40% of America is effectively ‘unbanked’, and that proportion has not changed much in over 40 years. cash will see my time out, and long after that as well, I’ll be bound.



  • GregWA

    Not only is cash not going away, but you’re going to need a lot more of it with the runaway inflation that’s coming. How else will governments get rid of their crushing debt?

    Fortunately, there are already wallet and purse upgrades that are up to the task.

  • bobby b

    Reading up on this European digital identity makes me think that someone in the EU has been reading Neal Stephenson.

    Step up out of the Miasma and become a Trusted Identity. Hire your own reputable feed editor and only receive the info that supports your pre-existing views.

    I think I like the Wild West approach just as well.

  • Paul Marks

    Hopeful comments – hope they are correct.

    However, governments do not need cash – it is easier to inflate with Credit Money (on computer screens) than it is to print money. Governments, and lickspittle cheerleaders for the international government and corporate bureaucracy – such as the Economist magazine, are happy with digital money – as long as they control it (an important proviso).

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    As I remember reading a few decades back, in ‘The Chaser’ (a satirical Australian paper), ‘Paperless office also running low on pencils!’. Supposedly we no longer need, or use, paper for anything, so getting rid of notes must be a good thing.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Along with the plans for a European army, the Germans want to get rid of unanimous voting, so one nation (usually Britain) can’t just veto more expansion of European power. The aim of British diplomacy was to keep Europe divided, so no navy could invade Britain. How will you do that in the future, assuming that Europe is not totally hopeless at building and co-ordinating armed forces?