GSMA Views on the Review of the Electronic Identification Regulation and Potential New European Digital Identity

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European mobile telecoms operators urge bold changes to the eIDAS Regulation to fight fraud and drive cross-border trade in tandem with ambitious plans for a European eID for all residents, the GSMA said today in its comments to the European Commission.

The GSMA, which coordinates the European Identity Group comprised of European operators, advocates for the introduction of new rules for authentication on digital services. Specifically, the eIDAS Regulation could better protect people and businesses if:

  • Services are available to all citizens and extended to the private sector and to digital devices;
  • Services on smartphones and other devices are based on interoperable solutions with guarantee of digital sovereignty and a security-by-design approach;
  • Solutions that use secure hardware, such as secure elements in devices, SIM cards or eSIMs, are supported by policy makers and standardised;
  • Service providers are enabled to simply deploy interoperable, standardised solutions on smartphones and other devices.
    Cyber attacks against companies have significantly increased with the growing number of connected digital devices and more employees teleworking. Consumers are also increasingly victims of online fraud and up to 70% of all breaches still originate at endpoints, according to IDC.

“Online fraud has only accelerated during the pandemic, which is why the regulation needs to cover all online public and private services,” Kobus Smit, Head of Strategic Engagement who leads the European Identity Group for the GSMA. “Europe’s economic recovery and growth depend on trusted digital transactions, which are easy to access and use, especially for e-health, e-government services.”

The eID should be expanded far beyond the current approach of the eIDAS Regulation and cover both the public and private sector. Currently, Europe has to cope with a patchwork of public and private identity initiatives across the region, with generally weak public awareness or support. This has resulted in a situation where, for convenience, consumers are increasingly using social network IDs, potentially putting their data at risk. The revised eIDAS Regulation should remedy this by enabling a secure and trusted eID for seamless electronic interactions between businesses, citizens and public authorities.

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For more information please contact:

Kobus Smit

Head of Strategic Engagement, GSMA

Kobus Smit

As Head of Strategic Engagement, Kobus Smit is responsible for the engagement of mobile network operators (MNOs) and related parties with GSMA programmes and activities in Europe. This entails bringing together stakeholders around key strategic initiatives for the benefit of mobile operators, the industry as a whole and the millions of people using telecommunication products every day.

Prior to joining the GSMA, Kobus spent 8 years with Deutsche Telekom, where he was responsible for the development and evolution of Voice and Messaging products. During this time, he was Chair of the “IP Communication Leadership Team” – a cooperation between the world’s leading telecommunication companies to deliver enriched, quality communication services globally.

Earlier in his career, Kobus was CMO of Nimbuzz (mobile chat, messaging and VoIP provider), headed a mobile start-up, led Product Marketing for a major energy provider and held positions in Management- and Strategy Consulting.

Kobus holds an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management and degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pretoria. He has lived and worked in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.

ksmit@gsma.com