Today, the EU Commission proposed a single “European Digital Identity” with which EU citizens would be able to access public and private digital services and pay online. In addition to the identity data, the wallet app could also hold payment data, medical prescriptions and official documents such as driving licenses could also be stored. A unique life-long number would be assigned to every person. Access to the government app could be secured using biometric data such as fingerprints or iris scans. The new service is to be an alternative to login services provided by Facebook and Google.
MEP Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party) calls for far-reaching changes to the proposal to prevent centralised data collection in the hands of governments:
“Entrusting our digital lives to the government instead of Facebook and Google is jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. We must not allow the ‘European Digital Identity’ to become a lifelong unique identification number with which our digital lives can be monitored. Anonymity and pseudonyms are essential. Bringing all data and documents together in one repository creates the danger of hacks and identity theft – and biometric access restrictions are not safe.
For citizens to be able to trust an internet authentication system, the plans need to be reworked:
1) no unique personal identifier may be assigned
2) citizens’ data must be stored decentrally in their own device, not in government databases
3) all software shall be open source
4) Citizens need to be able to identify themselves with pseudonyms instead of their real name and identity; this is essential for vulnerable groups on the internet
5) Citizens should be able to choose an identity provider they trust and change providers (interoperability) instead of being dependent on a single government app.”