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European Digital Identity (e-ID)

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

While digitalisation is an important topic for us Pirates, this version of the proposal risks violating fundamental rights such as the right to anonymity. That is why we are campaigning for comprehensive changes.

In the European Parliament’s lead Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), Pirate Mikulas Peksa is negotiating on behalf of our group. In the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE), which has exclusive competence for the issue of data protection, Pirate Patrick Breyer negotiates for our Group, as well as in the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). In the Internal Market Committee (IMCO), Pirate Marcel Kolaja negotiates for our group. The ITRE report will be voted on in committee and presented to the plenary of the EU Parliament before the end of the year. After that, the trilogue negotiations between Parliament, Council and Commission will begin.

“If we are to entrust our digital lives to the federal government instead of Facebook and Google in future, we will be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The ‘European Digital Identity’ must not become a digital diary based on a lifelong identification number with which our digital lives can be recorded and monitored. Anonymity and pseudonyms are indispensable. Bringing all data and documents together in one repository creates the risk of hacks and identity theft – and biometric access safeguards can be undermined.”

– Dr Patrick Breyer, MEP of the Pirate Party

My main objectives:

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

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

Timetable for the negotiations

  • 3 June 2021: Commission publishes proposal for a European Digital Identity (e-ID)
  • 17 June 2021: EU Commission presents the legislative proposal to the European Parliament’s lead Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)
  • 3 February 2022: ITRE hearing with experts
  • 14 June 2022: ITRE examination of the draft report
  • 28 June 2022: Deadline for tabling amendments
  • 26 September: Vote on AMs and final opinion in LIBE (subject to change)
  • Calendar week 39: Vote on AMs and final opinion in JURI (subject to change)
  • 26 October 2022: Vote on AMs and final report in ITRE Committee (subject to change)
  • November 2022: Vote on final parliamentary position in plenary (subject to change)

The negotiators

ITRE (lead)

LIBE (opinion)

JURI (opinion)

IMCO (opinion)