The EU Digital Identity Wallet: Episode 1 - An Overview

EDPS trainees

What is it and how does it work? What are its key data protection benefits and risks?

Welcome to the first episode of a three-part podcast series focused on the EU Digital Identity Wallet (DIW), organised by the trainees of the European Data Protection Supervisor and European Data Protection Board.

In this first episode, we introduce the EU DIW and explore the way it works, in accordance with the applicable European legislation, especially GDPR and eIDAS Regulation, as well as the key risks and benefits in relation to data protection.

Consider the number of accounts you have for the services you use online and how many times you have had to prove your identity via your ID, passport, or diploma to a potential university or employer, and have had no other choice but to send a copy of these personal and valuable documents. 

This is why the European Commission (EC) introduced in June last year a legislative proposal for a European DIW, as part of the revision to the electronic identification, authentication and trust services (eIDAS) Regulation, known as eIDAS 2. The EC aims to create a Wallet, which will be available to all EU citizens, residents, and businesses in the EU and usable not only for identity documents, but for all attestations, including those with sensitive personal data, such as health data-related documents.

Through this DIW, citizens will be able to prove their identity and share information from their DIW with the click of a button on their phone or another edge device. Furthermore, large online platforms and service providers will be required to accept the use of the EU DIW upon request of the user, creating a counterweight to Apple and Google solutions. These Wallets work with digital IDs to hand control of data back to the individual by allowing them to hold their identity on their device and choose with whom they wish to share the data. However, the Wallets are linked to privacy and security-related issues that must be addressed.

To enlighten these aspects, we invited two experienced specialists from different backgrounds. Viky Manaila, one of the experts assessing the impact of the revision of the eIDAS Regulation in support of the European Commission, and Isabel Skierka, the program leader for Technology Policy, and a researcher with the Digital Society Institute in Berlin. 

Viky introduces the DIW and its main benefits, before Isabel addresses the DIW’s risks, similarities with the Apple wallet and the European Commission’s efforts to create competition in the context of the Digital Markets Act proposal.

This podcast is hosted by Rumer Ramsey, and was prepared with the assistance of her fellow trainees, Angeliki Tiligadi, Irena Achilleos, and Rogers Alunge Nnangsope.

This Podcast was recorded on 20 January 2022 and 1 February 2022.


Viky Manaila 

Viky Manaila is an international expert in the field of electronic signatures, digital identity and digital transformation processes, who has successfully promoted the electronic business globally. She has been also technical expert to the European Commission for instituting Regulation 910/2014 (eIDAS) on electronic identity assurance and the design and roll-out of European, cross-nation e-procurement platforms and operations and one of the experts assessing the impact of revision of the eIDAS Regulation, with the aim of establishing a legislative framework for a secure, widely usable and interoperable Digital Identity for the Digital Single Market. She is member of different high level working groups set up by the European Commission, ETSI  and the US Government aimed at aligning policy and operations around trust identity, digital signatures and cross-recognition. She has successfully contributed to standardization work for the Global Acceptance of European Trust Services, as an expert in ETSI ESI Specialist Task Force 560.

Isabel Skierka

Isabel Skierka is the program leader for technology policy and a researcher with the Digital Society Institute at the European School of Management and Technology, also known as ESMT, in Berlin. In her work, Isabel focuses on technology policy, IT security, and digital government technologies. She is currently part of a research project consortium, which advises the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection on the implementation of an R&D (Research and Development) pilot program for secure digital identities. She has several years of experience with policy research and consulting as well as she publishes and speaks regularly on these issues.