The European Union (EU) Thursday unveiled its plans for a digital ID wallet that would hold all official documents residents would need to allow them access to the information at home or anywhere across the 27-nation bloc.
At a news briefing on the proposal in Brussels, European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager said the European Digital Identity Wallet would be a smartphone app that would let users store electronic forms of identification and other official documents, such as driver’s licenses, prescriptions and school diplomas.
Vestager said the plan would enable the bloc’s 450 million residents to do anything they would at home — rent an apartment, open a bank account — in any EU member state. She was quick to add that the plan would not be mandatory and that citizens could put as much or as little data in the app as they felt comfortable with.
She said technical work was already underway to ensure the app had the latest encryption technology available and could not be hacked.
As many as 14 EU countries already have their own national digital ID systems, and EU officials say the app is being developed for compatibility with those systems. The commission plans to discuss the digital wallet with the EU’s 27 member countries and aims to get them to agree on technical details by fall so pilot projects can begin.
The proposal is part of a wider plan by the EU to go more digital and is a key part of its post-COVID-19 recovery package. The bloc has set a target of having all public services in the EU available online by 2030 and ensuring that every EU citizen has a digital medical record.