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e-ID: Pirate successes for privacy

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

Today, the lead Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted a draft mandate on the European digital identity (e-ID). The legislative proposal will allow EU citizens to prove their identity via mobile app and facilitate everyday situations such as dealing with public authorities or identification at airports.

Pirate Party MEPs made sure that the source code used for providing European Digital Identity Wallets will be open source, that non-users of the voluntary eID scheme must not suffer disadvantages and will be able to use alternative means of identification or authentication. They have not been able to prevent the mandatory acceptance of government browser certificates but there will be exceptions. Pirate MEPs have also been able to prevent more serious invasions of our privacy such as compulsory unique identification number throughout the EU. They keep pushing for more safeguards.

Pirate Party MEP Mikuláš Peksa, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur in the ITRE Committee, comments:

“The European digital identity is cornerstone for modernization and digitization of the European economy and public services. Unfortunately, the European Commission had put a lot of problematic things in the proposal that inflated it with utter nonsense. Together with others, we Pirates have succeeded in removing most of these problems, such as a compulsory unique identification number. This is a big win for European citizens. We are sending a smart and safer instrument to the next negotiation. Thanks to the European digital identity citizens will not have to show a plastic card with all their personal details anymore. The European Digital Wallet will allow them to prove for example their legal age without disclosing other personal data, when buying alcohol or renting a car.”

Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer, who is negotiating the law in the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) negotiates, comments:

“We need to counter the risk that as the new eID is increasingly required, the anonymity online that protects us from profiling and identity theft is gradually eroded. Pirates therefore push via the Civil Liberties Committee for the addition of a provision ensuring that services are normally provided without electronic identification or authentication wherever reasonably possible. Another LIBE addition will be needed to ensure that the sensitive data of citizens in their ‘digital wallet’ will be stored exclusively in a decentralized manner on their own device, unless they choose centralized storage. Decentralized data storage protects our data from hacks and identity theft.”

After the addition of provisions in the exclusive competence of other Committees (LIBE, JURI) to the ITRE report, the Parliament’s mandate could be finalised as early as March. Trilogue negotiations with the Council will follow. Pirate Party MEP Mikuláš Peksa will be among the negotiating team.