eIDAS: a Tool for Liberation which Opens up the future of Global Trade and Mobility

November 14, 2018

Blog

Andrea Servida Head of eGovernment and Trust, European Commission

When I think of mobile communications – in particular, of the smartphone – I see a token of freedom.  Having established the Single Market in goods, we are now entering  an era of extraordinary promise in cross-border trade and services  through the creation of a Digital Single Market in Europe. As the ways in which people conduct commerce and access services become increasingly digital, the potential for enhanced autonomy to the individual is difficult to overstate. It must however remain so.  A device such as a smartphone must act in accordance with our wishes, and speak for us, not about us. It must be a tool not a beacon.

It is on the basis of this principle that the European Commission developed eIDAS (Electronic IDentification, Authentication and Trust Services) Regulation. People previously accessed internet often without thinking a lot about   which data they were sharing. This innocence has been at times terribly abused to the detriment of the obligation to make user experience safe and secure. Users’ personal data has been collected, disseminated and exploited for economic, political, security or even military purposes. And this without giving the users the opportunity to manage or even monitor these processes in any way, let alone withhold their consent for them.

This jeopardises, at least to some extent, the user’s basic rights – in particular, those of self-determination and of privacy.  It is essential to take seriously into account the invasive potential here, and enshrine a more symmetrical relationship between business and end-user in this respect:  a relationship  which allows users to make the most of what online services have to offer, while reclaiming full control over the  information held  about them . This more symmetrical dynamic is only possible if we regain full control over the manner in which we disclose our data. If we allow our identities to become commodities managed by others, we become products and not consumers.  In this regard the ability to control our own digital identities is nothing less than a safeguard of freedom.

For this reason we aim to ensure that the data users reveal on themselves is both voluntary and relevant.  If I want to place a bet online, for example, nobody involved in that transaction needs to know my gender, marital status or town of residence. They only need to know my legitimacy to use that  service, that I fit the minimum age  and reside in an approved jurisdiction, and so on. Users are increasingly resistant to the prospect of firing a ‘scattergun’ of data every time they go online, and rightly so. The ‘minimum dataset disclosure’ principle is therefore a core requirement of eIDAS, as is the ‘once-only’ principle, which stipulates that once the user’s private information has been obtained by the public sector,  it is not necessary to be be proffered on subsequent occasions.

As the digital world becomes increasingly mobile, any viable identity solution must take this properly into account. Mobile Connect, the mobile industry’s identity solution, does so by design  and on a global scale.  In addition,  it prioritises privacy underpinned by the same authentication credentials which eIDAS seeks to reinforce for example two or multiple factor authentication. Thus, it is a  highly appropriate tool for enhancing trust across Europe. And enhancing trust means at the same time strengthening cross-border trade among Member States.  An eIDAS pilot undertaken earlier this year allowed us to demonstrate that the ecosystem created by eIDAS can be easily integrated with existing identity solutions like Mobile Connect. With 84% penetration across Europe already, the mobile industry is a natural partner for the delivery of trust across borders within the EU.

Looking beyond Europe’s frontiers, it is interesting, and I would say gratifying, to note jurisdictions outside the EU adopting analogous requirements to eIDAS. The US state of Virginia for example has already adopted  eIDAS standards for accreditation of digital identity providers. As talks progress, other states are expected to join in the future; South Africa is also implementing the same requirements for trust tokens such as electronic signatures and Japan seems to take a similar direction to Europe.

These developments raise some fundamental questions on the future of global trade. Trade is based on trust: the fact that some jurisdictions follow the example of eIDAS while others stop short of, is this going to impact on are we going to seeglobal patterns of digital commerce and services? We are confident in the progress made to date in pursuit of the Digital Single Market in Europe and anticipate recognition of its benefits globally as regulators outside the EU seek alignment with our model. And if that comes to pass, we can anticipate striking changes in the digital trade routes of the world taken into account that jurisdictions prioritising trust find increasingly efficient to trade with one another. We believe that trust among users is essential to conduct digital commerce. That is why, we expect full vindication of the user-first approach we are championing.

Back

Presentations from M360 Series – Russia & CIS The 2018 GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Russia & CIS was a regionally-focused event drawing on global case studies for senior-level leaders from government & regulatory bodi...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Presentations: Delivering Commercial Success Through Identity Services The GSMA Identity recently partnered with Turkcell to co-host an event in Istanbul which explored Turkey’s journey towards becoming the first Mobile Connect commercially su...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Mobile Connect Workshop Presentations at MWCA Identity Seminar The seminar Mobile Connect Seminar: Reducing Fraud through Secure Authentication and ID Verification Services, brought together h wider mobile ecosystem aiming to prevent fraud b...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Mobile Connect Workshop Presentation at Mobile 360 Digital Societies i The Mobile Connect workshop: Delivering commercial success through identity services attendees had the opportunity to learn the value and commercial scalability of mobile-based ...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Distributed Ledger Technology, Blockchains and Identity: A Regulatory This paper provides an overview of the relevant regulations for the use of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and blockchains for digital identity. Digital identity is the bas...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Digital Identity: Global Trends and Highlights from the United States Mobile internet traffic now accounts for more than half of all global online traffic, reaching 51.2% of the world’s total this year. There are now 8.8 billion mobile connection...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Mobile Connect Offers Solution to the Risks of Online Gaming Video gaming is perhaps not the first area which springs to mind when it comes to cybersecurity and digital identity, but an increasingly fraught picture has started to emerge ov...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

News Flash: New Mobile ID for Swiss Rail Workers Track repair workers verify their identity and skills using handsets and blockchain In Switzerland, rail track repair workers are now verifying their identity and skills using ce...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

News Flash: New Partnership Supports Digital ID in Africa The Economic Commission for Africa and the Omidyar Network seek to build official expertise The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Omidyar Network, an in...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

News Flash: UK Explores Digital ID for Teenagers System would verify age to prevent access to online pornography The UK government is considering introducing a “digital passport” system to help stop teenagers from being exp...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

News Flash: Internet Accounts Sell For a Few Dollars Cybersecurity firm outlines widespread availability of compromised usernames and passwords Stolen account details for online entertainment services, such as Netflix and Spotify, ...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

eIDAS: a Tool for Liberation which Opens up the future of Global Trade Andrea Servida Head of eGovernment and Trust, European Commission When I think of mobile communications – in particular, of the smartphone – I see a token of freedom.  Havin...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

Identity at MWC19 Barcelona February 25, 2019 Discover the latest innovations, market developments and business strategies in digital identity at MWC19 Barcelona. More details to follow. Register for MWC19 Barcelona...

Read more | See all Identity Events

MWC19 Seminar – Mobile Connect: The rise of Digital Identity February 25, 2019 This seminar will focus on the consolidation and growth of Mobile Connect as a successful identity service offered by the mobile operators around the globe. The seminar will c...

Read more | See all Identity Events

MWC19 Seminar – The Future of Digital Identity: From Revolutiona February 26, 2019 It’s been a tempestuous year in digital identity with major breaches hitting the press on an almost weekly basis. This seminar will look at some of the latest research in use...

Read more | See all Identity Events

Contact GSMA Legal Email Preference Centre Copyright © 2018 GSMA. GSM and the GSM Logo are registered and owned by the GSMA.