Digital identity, data sovereignty and the path towards a just digital transition for citizens living in the information society

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EESK:s yttrande: Digital identity, data sovereignty and the path towards a just digital transition for citizens living in the information society

Practical information

  • Composition of the study group   
  • Administrator : Maja RADMAN, Assistant : Vicentzia NEAGU
  • Foreseen for the TEN section meeting 19 June 2022 
  • Foreseen for the EESC Plenary meeting 13-14 July 2022

Background

European citizens are interested in the implementation of digital technology solutions, with a view to simplifying the necessary administrative procedures in relation to the authorities or in everyday life in society. A digitally literate population can benefit, through digital identity, from simplified access to the services provided by public authorities or the business environment.

Since the entry into force of the part of Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 concerning electronic identification, in September 2018, only 14 Member States have notified the existence of at least one electronic identification system. As a result, only 59% of EU residents have access to secure and reliable electronic identification systems across borders. Only seven systems are fully mobile, meeting current user expectations.

The advantages of digitalisation are obvious, but the rapid implementation of digital systems, and making citizens' access to some services of general interest conditional on having a digital identity, could in practice lead to a significant number of European citizens being denied the right to access these services.

Issues to be addressed in the opinion:

  • The possibility to insert, into the legal and administrative system at EU and Member State level, guarantees to protect the interests of EU citizens in the context of policies to accelerate hyperconnectivity and hyperdigitalisation that are promoted both at European and global level.
  • Relevant benchmarks:
  • Data sovereignty and confidentiality;
  • Informed consent for the collection and processing of citizens' data and biodata, by public authorities and private entities;
  • Facial recognition, bioscanners, biodata provided by nanotechnologies and medical technologies connected to data networks;
  • Cyber-security of mobile communication networks;
  • Abusive situations that may violate fundamental human rights, due to technocratic errors or biased algorithms unfavourable to humans;
  • The low level of digital education in the EU and the consequences of this for informed consent;
  • Electronic signature, costs for the citizen and security issues;
  • Organic integration of data and their relevance for public administration systems;
  • Needs analysis to establish the structure of digital literacy programmes.