A new EC proposal on e-identities and e-signatures

By EDRi · June 6, 2012

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Deutsch: [Neuer Vorschlag zur elektronischen Identifizierung und E-Signaturen | https://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_10.11_Neuer_Vorschlag_zur_elektronischen_Identifizierung_und_E-Signaturen?pk_campaign=edri&pk_kwd=20120606]

On 4 June 2012, the European Commission published a new draft regulation
on e-signatures and e-identities that is meant to extend the existing
e-Signatures Directive to include new services such as e-stamping or
e-seals that would guarantee the origin and the integrity of an
electronic document.

“The proposed Regulation will ensure people and businesses can use their
own national electronic identification schemes (e-IDs) to access public
services in other EU countries where e-IDs are available.” says the EC
press realease.

By the draft regulation, citizens’ e-identities will be automatically
recognised in other EU member countries without need of extra paper
work. “The proposed Regulation will ensure mutual acceptance of
electronic identification schemes (eIDs), e-Signatures and related
online trust services,” explained Ryan Heath, spokesperson for Digital
Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The EC assures that the regulation will not oblige EU member states to
introduce eID cards, that “the proposals are designed to avoid the
centralisation of information” and that there will be no European eID
database or any other kind of European database.

According to the Commission, the security of the electronic use of
personal data in other countries will be protected with state-of-the-art
technology and procedures and no unnecessary data will not be revealed.

“If a teenager wanted secure access to a chat room for 14-18 year old,
or gamblers needed to prove they were of legal age, the website should
only check information about their age from the e-ID card. Other details
such as nationality and address would not need to be revealed,” details
the Commission’s paper.

However, the proposal favours the introduction of e-IDs. The member
states taking up e-IDs will benefit from incentives and although the
document underlines that harmonisation of e-identities is not required,
best practices will be exchanged and followed among member states with
e-Ids, which will lead to an actual harmonisation.

The proposal will probably still raise controversy in countries with
high concerns about privacy such as the United Kingdom where citizens
have long opposed the introduction of identity cards. “We fought to be
free and we will again fight to be free,” said a EurActiv reader.

Security is another matter of concern as the current data protection
systems are not entirely equipped to deal with increasingly
sophisticated techniques to steal data and identities in the electronic
world and eIDs would also be targeted by Internet fraudsters and
criminals organisations.

The French Pirate Party called for avoiding the centralisation of data
storage and for allowing citizens to disclose the minimum of personal

Commission launches e-identity initiative (4.06.2012)

Digital Agenda: new Regulation to enable cross-border electronic
signatures and to get more value out of electronic identification in
Digital Single Market (4.06.2012)

EC Draft Regulation on electronic identification and trusted services
for electronic transactions in the internal market (4.06.2012)

EDRi-gram 10.10: Electronic identities all over the EU? (23.05.2012)