About Podcast Episode
Viky Manaila and I did a podcast earlier in 2023 on everything that is happening in Europe that pertains to digital identity (Episode #51). It was a very popular episode and so it felt like it was a topic that was worth exploring a bit more. So for a follow up, André Kudra and I decided to give it a shot.
The European Union is currently witnessing a significant momentum in digital identity, with three parallel efforts underway (not forgetting the open source wallet project that the EU is funding): the new eIDAS 2.0 regulation, the EU Digital Wallet architecture reference framework, and four large-scale pilots.
- The eIDAS 1.0 regulation was a stepping stone towards an interoperable government-issued electronic identity for EU citizens. However, its implementation varied across member states, leading to a lack of uniformity and success. Now, the EU is moving towards eIDAS 2.0, which aims to correct the shortcomings of its predecessor and further digitalize identity systems. Viky had done a fantastic job in Part 1 describing eIDAS and its evolution.
- The EU Digital Wallet Architecture Reference Framework (ARF) is an extension of eIDAS 2.0. It aims to make technology implementation more prescriptive, thereby facilitating adoption and interoperability. The wallet is expected to close the gap in digitalization, providing a reliable, strong, and widely accessible electronic identity. It will also extend the digital identity-based ecosystem to include other data items associated with an individual, such as diplomas, driver’s licenses, and more.
- The Four Large-scale Pilots (LSPs) running in parallel with these efforts are expected to provide valuable insights into the practical implementation of these systems. They will help in addressing the technical and use case-driven aspects of the EU Digital Wallet and eIDAS 2.0. The pilots include, POTENTIAL for Digital Europe – 148 participants from 19 EU states, invests 60+ mn € for 6 use cases – various use cases such as electronic registration, account opening, electronic driving licences, and electronic prescriptions; NOBID Consortium of Nordic and Baltic countries+ – Payment focus, payment means by financial institutions & retail payments; DC4EU – Digital Credentials for Europe – Educational credentials, professional qualifications and Social Security; and EWC – EU Digital Identity Wallet Consortium – Cross-border Digital Travel Credentials and Organizational Digital Identities.
Existing digital ID systems in countries like Italy, Estonia, and Belgium are expected to transition to support eIDAS 2.0. These systems, which already have a critical mass of users, will likely layer the EU Digital Wallet ecosystem on top of their existing infrastructure. This approach will ensure that the benefits of the current systems are not lost during the transition.
However, several aspects still need clarification, such as the implementation of verifiable data registries, the security requirements of an individual identity wallet, and the management of trust lists. The large-scale pilots and ongoing work on the architecture reference framework are expected to provide answers to these questions.
The momentum in the digital identity space in Europe is indeed exciting. With the new eIDAS 2.0 regulation, the EU Digital Wallet, and the large-scale pilots, the EU is paving the way for a new era of digital identity. This progress is expected to significantly enhance digitalization processes, making them more reliable, efficient, and user-friendly.
The full list of topics discussed between André and I in this podcast include:
- Success of eIDAS 1.0 and the Purpose of eIDAS 2.0 – whether eIDAS 1.0 was successful in enabling digital ID systems and what eIDAS 2.0 aims to correct.
- eIDAS 2.0 and Interoperability – does eIDAS 2.0 aims to improve interoperability and technology adoption, and is the EU digital ID wallet architecture reference framework (ARF) an extension of this effort?
- Future of Existing EU-based Digital ID Systems – what will happen to existing digital ID systems like those in Italy and Estonia, and whether they will transition to support eIDAS 2.0 or need to build a second system.
- Importance of Identity Proofing Uniformity – the importance of uniformity in identity proofing processes across nation states and whether this has been a contentious topic under previous eIDAS legislation.
- Prescriptive Governance and Technology Recommendations – if it’s better for the ecosystem to have more prescriptive governance and whether the technology recommendations are too prescriptive or not enough.
- Key Decisions in the ARF Document – the key decisions made in the RF document and what was left unclear.
- Negative Sentiment Around Blockchains or DLTs – why there might be a negative sentiment around blockchains or DLTs in the digital identity space.
- Separation of Aries from the Hyperledger Foundation – would it make sense for Aries to be separated from the Hyperledger Foundation given its potential as an open agent.
- EU’s Four Large-Scale Pilots – updates on the different large-scale pilots and their impact on technical and governance specifications.
- Learnings from Large-Scale Pilots – learnings from the large-scale pilots, particularly from non-government bodies, and whether there’s a shift in mentality among these entities around digital credentials.
Dr. André Kudra is the CIO of esatus AG, a consultancy and technology company specialized in InfoSec and with a strong footprint in Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI).
André is a tenacious advocate of decentralization, complexity reduction and Self-Sovereign Identity. He has been in information security since the start of the millennium. He is tech-savvy despite business degrees, and an author, collaborator, multiplier.
Dr. André Kudra is a board member of TeleTrusT (IT Security Association Germany) for which he chairs the “Blockchain” and “Secure Platform” working groups. Global outreach includes being a Trustee of the Sovrin Foundation, a Steering Committee member of the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation and co-founder of the MyData Literacy Thematic Group.
Where to find André?
➡️ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kudra/
➡️ Twitter: https://twitter.com/KudrixD