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Amendments call for a decentralised and privacy-friendly European Digital Identity

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Today, the shadow rapporteurs of the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) submitted their amendments to the planned “European Digital Identity”. While the negotiators of the Social Democrats and the Liberals, from Estonia, have no problem with all EU citizens receiving a lifelong identifying number in the future, the German MEP of the Pirate Party Dr. Patrick Breyer is requesting comprehensive amendments for his group Greens/European Free Alliance for the protection against data trafficking and identity theft.

In June 2021, the EU Commission published a proposal for a “European Digital Identity”, which would allow EU citizens to access public and private digital services and to pay online. The proposal provides that, in addition to the identity, payment data and documents such as driving licences or medical prescriptions can be stored in the “Wallet App”. The proposal envisions a unique personal identification number which is to be assigned and stored to each person. Access to the state app is to be secured with biometric data such as fingerprints or iris scans. The offer is supposed to be an alternative to the login services of Facebook and Google.

MEP Dr Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party) explains his amendments:

“If we are to entrust our digital lives to the federal government instead of Facebook and Google in future, we are jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. The ‘European Digital Identity’ must not become a digital diary based on a lifelong identification number recording and monitoring our digital lives. Anonymity and pseudonyms are indispensable. Collecting all data and documents in one repository creates the danger of hacks and identity theft – and biometric access security can be circumvented.

For citizens to be able to trust an internet identification system, the plans need to be redesigned the following way:

  1. no unique personal identification number may be assigned
  2. citizens’ data must be stored decentrally on their own devices, not in government databases
  3. the planned ID app (“wallet”) must be open source
  4. citizens must be able to identify themselves online using pseudonyms instead of their real names and identities; this is indispensable for vulnerable groups on the internet.
  5. to mitigate the danger of data trafficking and identity theft on the net through the new ID app, a right to use internet services as anonymously as possible must be introduced.”