Europe is becoming a hotbed for mobile ID innovation, and for good reason – European Union members will be required to provide citizens with a digital ID wallet in the coming years. But while this is a top-down directive from Brussels, there is real demand for digital ID solutions among at least some EU citizens, according to survey data from French IT and electrical systems giant Thales.
Polling 1,835 citizens across seven EU countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden) through an online survey, Thales found that respondents from France and Italy showed the strongest demand for the ‘EU-backed Digital ID Wallet’, or EDIW, with 85 percent and 75 percent saying they would use it, respectively.
Survey responses suggested that the digital wallet could resolve some persistent headaches. Currently, 34 percent of those surveyed said they found it difficult to prove their identity when renewing an identity document, while 29 percent had trouble applying for financial services and 30 percent encountered issues when attempting to make expensive purchases. But according to Thales, the number of respondents who collectively encountered these issues fell from 40 percent to just five percent when digital IDs were being used.
“By providing citizens with a secure and convenient means of proving their identity and entitlements via a smartphone, the EDIW will enable smooth and secure interactions between citizens, governments and private businesses,” commented Thales’ Identity and Biometric Solutions VP Youzec Kurp.
As for what digital ID should ideally look like, the survey results suggested that security should be a priority. A full 65 percent of respondents said that security should be the most important feature of a digital ID wallet, with convenience and privacy ranking close behind as top concerns.
That bodes well for Thales, which has been seeking to establish itself as a prominent vendor in the digital ID space, and has a reputation for offering strong digital security solutions.
The European Union is requiring member states to provide their citizens with digital ID wallets by 2024, with a pilot phase to be implemented next year. A number of EU states are already embarking down the mobile ID path, with France’s President having signed digital ID legislation upon his recent re-election, and, more recently, Cyprus altering legislation to pave the way for a digital ID program going forward.