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EU Digital Identity Wallets Forum: the importance of building trust

- After the start of the LSPs earlier this year, the experts exchanged on social, regulatory, and usability aspects.

- The forum brings to the table issues such as the need to inform citizens, alignment on the implementation of the standards, and take into account the different uses of wallets to ensure their success in Europe.

Last Thursday 18th October, The Global Trust Foundation hosted the second edition of the EU Digital Identity Wallets Forum, bringing together more than 100 Digital Identity experts from all over Europe, government representatives, as well as members of the four EU Wallet Large Scale Pilots: DC4EU, Nobid, EWC and Potential.

The aim of this unconference was to enable exchange and work to put a point of view on what is undoubtedly one of the most important initiatives that is being developed both at European and global levels.

EU Wallets offer lots of opportunities for governments, companies, and citizens across Europe. So far, solid work has been done but there are still many steps to take to see this work materialized. EU Wallets offer vast possibilities as they have many applications in private and public environments. Step by step so we can build for the future,” said Jon Shamah, Co-Founder of Global Trust Foundation. “Gathering all these experts to talk about the LSPs and seeing how they exchange concerns, common questions and best practices around Digital Identity in Europe is a true honor” he added.

The EU Wallets project is unequivocally regarded as a pivotal initiative with global implications. The EU Digital Identity Wallets Forum was purposed to center discussions around the use of digital wallets, with the primary objective of clarifying the advantages that Wallets will offer to Europe, its citizens, governments, and businesses, as well as their potential global impact.

Regulatory, technical, and social challenges

There were many open discussions around how the market will change with the new services coming with the Regulation eIDAS 2.0., what opportunities can be found and, most importantly, what are the challenges we’re facing and how can we resolve them.

Apart from all the technological and legal challenges, the business case might just be the most important element here” says Esther Makaay, eID expert at Signicat and responsible for the work package on interoperability in EWC. “With an ecosystem that needs private sector services, we cannot neglect this element”.

When it comes to social challenges, professionals of the digital identity landscape in Europe state that educating citizens on what these new EU Wallets are and how they can benefit from them needs to be done to ensure the success of Wallets.

The Importance of Trust

The experts agree on one thing: all the work being done at the technical, technological, and regulatory levels is worthless if the social component is not taken into account and the expectations and concerns of the citizens, governments and companies that will use the Wallets are not met.

Trust in Wallets is pivotal to their adoption, regardless of their functionality. Trust in institutions is rooted in two key factors: the perceived closeness of citizens to the institution and the institution's protective role. According to the most recent Standard Eurobarometer, published in the summer of 2022, 47% of Europeans hold a positive view of the European Union and trust it, while 36% remain neutral, and 16% harbor a negative perception.

However, it's important to recognize that Wallets will have applications beyond the government sphere, necessitating a broader perspective on trust. For instance, the expectations of citizens should be clearly defined to ensure a pleasant interaction while safeguarding their data, striking a balance between providing necessary information and avoiding unnecessary data sharing. This is particularly crucial when comparing scenarios like stadium entry and airport access.

This conference highlighted the importance of creating these common spaces for discussion and exchange as well as talking in a tangible way about achievements and progress.

The EU Wallet is an initiative promoted by the European Commission. Large Scale Pilots, are expected to be completed in 2025.