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eIDAS2: A Gamechanger for Global Digital Identity – Implications and Opportunities

Blog Post

eIDAS2: A Gamechanger for Global Digital Identity – Implications and Opportunities

As eIDAS2 prepares to go live, its implications extend far beyond the borders of the European Union, setting a new global standard for digital identity management.

Joerg Resch
May 02, 2024

As eIDAS2 prepares to go live, its implications extend far beyond the borders of the European Union, setting a new global standard for digital identity management. Organizations worldwide need to understand and prepare for these changes, ensuring they can operate effectively in a new era of digital identity. The 2024 European Identity and Cloud Conference (EIC) provides a unique opportunity to gain insights, share knowledge, and prepare for the future of digital identity, where security, privacy, and user control are at the forefront of digital transactions.

In a digital era characterized by an increasing reliance on online services and transactions, the security and reliability of digital identities has never been more critical. The European Union has taken a groundbreaking step with the publication of EU Regulation 2024/1183, officially known as eIDAS2. This new regulation, set to come into force on May 20, 2024, not only strengthens the framework for digital identities within the EU but also sets a global precedent for how digital identity services can be managed and utilized. Its implementation, which coincides with EIC 2024, could reshape organizational strategies worldwide.

What is eIDAS2?

eIDAS2 builds on the original electronic Identification, Authentication and trust Services (eIDAS) regulation aimed at enhancing trust in electronic transactions across the EU. The revision introduces several pivotal elements, most notably the European Digital Identity Wallets (EDIW). These wallets serve as secure digital tools that allow EU citizens and businesses to store, manage, and utilize personal identification data and electronic attestations of attributes seamlessly across borders. This framework ensures that every natural and legal person in the EU can access public and private services online without sacrificing control over their personal data.

The Significance of eIDAS2 for Organizations Globally

eIDAS2 is not just a regulatory framework for Europe; it is a beacon for global digital identity management. Organizations around the world should pay attention to these developments for several reasons:

  1. Standard Setting in Digital Identity: eIDAS2 sets a high standard for privacy, security, and interoperability that could become a global benchmark. Non-EU organizations dealing with European partners will need to understand these standards to ensure compliance and smooth interactions.
  2. Enhanced Security and Trust: With the introduction of conformity assessment bodies and certification mechanisms, eIDAS2 ensures that digital identity tools and services are reliable and secure. This level of trustworthiness is something organizations worldwide might emulate to enhance their digital identity solutions.
  3. Innovation in Identity Management: The EDIW promotes innovation in how identities and attributes are managed and utilized. Organizations can use this model to develop similar solutions, improving customer experiences and operational efficiencies.

Implications for Accessing Services

A key component of eIDAS2 is its inclusivity. The regulation mandates that the use of the EDIW is voluntary and that services cannot discriminate against those who choose not to use digital wallets. This principle may influence global service delivery models, emphasizing the need for flexibility in how services and identities are managed digitally.

Relevance to the Global Digital Economy

The digital economy is inherently borderless, where services and goods traverse national boundaries in milliseconds. The eIDAS2 framework facilitates this movement in the EU, potentially creating a ripple effect worldwide as other regions seek to ensure their digital identity systems are interoperable with Europe's. This alignment could lead to smoother transactions, enhanced security, and a more connected global digital economy.

European Digital Identity Wallets: A Closer Look

EDIWs are at the heart of eIDAS2. They allow users to control their identity data fully, choosing when and how much information to share when accessing services. This user-centric approach not only enhances privacy but also empowers individuals, fostering a more trustful digital environment. For organizations, understanding how these wallets work and integrating compatible systems will be crucial.

OpenID4VC: Enhancing the European Digital Identity Wallet

One of the core elements of the EDIW is OpenID for Verifiable Credentials (OpenID4VC), a protocol that stands to revolutionize the way verifiable credentials are exchanged and managed within the eIDAS2 framework. OpenID4VC facilitates the secure and seamless exchange of credentials between issuers, holders, and verifiers, making it a pivotal component in the implementation of the EDIW.

This protocol not only simplifies the process of verifying credentials in real time but also ensures that all transactions adhere to the highest standards of security and privacy mandated by eIDAS2. By integrating OpenID4VC, the EDIW allows users to assert personal data or attributes stored in their wallets without revealing any more information than necessary. This capability is crucial for maintaining user privacy and control over personal information. For organizations globally, understanding and implementing OpenID4VC will be essential to interact efficiently with European entities under the new regulations. The protocol's adoption could also set a precedent for similar initiatives worldwide, promoting a more interconnected and interoperable digital identity landscape. The integration of OpenID4VC into the EDIW exemplifies the EU’s commitment to pioneering advanced, user-centric digital identity solutions that could influence future developments in global digital identity frameworks.

eIDAS 2 is the Key Topic at EIC

The fact that EIC, Europe's leading conference on Digital ID coincides with the enforcement of eIDAS2 is serendipitous for all stakeholders. This convergence will provide a platform for immediate feedback, discussions, and strategy development among policymakers, industry leaders, and technology developers. For attendees, it offers a firsthand look at the regulation's rollout and immediate implications, making it an essential event for anyone involved in digital identity, cybersecurity, or European market operations. Join Europe’s identity community at #EIC2024 to learn more about eIDAS 2 in Germany: Progress, Impact, Challenges; eIDAS Architecture Reference Framework Status and Progress; eIDAS 2, the Protocol Challenge and the Art of Timing; and EUDI Wallet Use Cases and hear top-level discussions on The Future History of Identity Integrity, the Latest on eIDAS Legislation and What it Means for People, Business and Government, Real-World Examples of How Smart Wallets will Transform how we Navigate our Digital World, and The Wallets We Want. To discover all the other sessions dedicated to eIDAS2 as well as what else EIC has in store, have a look at the Agenda Overview.

Joerg Resch
KuppingerCole Analysts AG
Joerg Resch, born in 1959, looks back on over 15 years of experience in Identity Management projects and their implementation in both SMEs and large corporations. For a number of years he owned different leadership positions in software product development and published many technical articles on a wide range of IM-related subjects.
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