What goes next?: Discussing the EU Digital ID Industrial Policy at the CYBERSEC FORUM/EXPO 2023
The digital realm has become a fundamental aspect of EU citizens, as well as of the Union’s economic, democratic and societal systems. According World Economic Forum’s data, Europe is one of the most digitally interconnected regions in the world, with a rate of home broadband use of 90.2% and of mobile broadband of 104% in 2021. As digital technologies continue to penetrate and impact the life of the Union, its political institutions have begun to develop new regulations that govern them.
An area of concern have the development of European digital IDs. According to Eurostat, within the EU, almost a 60% of citizens aged between 16 and 74 years used internet to interact with public authorities in their respective countries in 2021. However, digital interaction of other Member state’s administrations were far more limited. On the same year, only a 60% of the EU population in 14 Member states are able to use their national digital IDs across borders. To address this situation, the European Commission launched the Digital Identity Framework in 2021. This initiative aims at launching trusted digital identities for citizens, residents and businesses that are recognised throughout the European Union and that ease online and offline interactions across the EU.
Accordingly, the European Union is developing an interoperable European Identity Wallet that would allow individuals to identify themselves online and offline, to store and exchange information provided by goverments and trusted private sources, and to be used as an official of the right to reside, work or study in a given Member State. Moreover, the European Digital ID is intended to serve as a unified secure digital identity that could be used across all online services. It will allow individuals to easily and securely control how much information they wish to share with services that require information sharing.
While the EU Digital ID is a project that would undoubtedly enhance the EU’s digital transformation and integration processes, its practical implementation faces a number of problems and challenges, such as the lack of internationalisation in the digital ID strategy, the subsidiarity of the EU in the area of ID, and the current use of digital IDs provided by non-EU private providers or different systems run by national governments.
Against this background, it is pertinent to debate and reflect on how the EU’s industrial policy should be shaped in the years to come. All these questions will be discussed in depth by experts at the CYBERSEC FORUM/EXPO in the panel discussion ”RECLAIMING SOVEREIGNTY – EUROPEAN UNION DIGITAL ID INDUSTRIAL POLICY’’.