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Bart Custers on successor to DigiD

The Netherlands has DigiD, Portugal ‘de Cartão de Cidadão’, and Ireland MyGovID. Europe now wants one uniform digital identity card - the same for all Member States. For the Dutch government, the European successor to DigiD is a prestige project. State Secretary Van Huffelen wants to roll out an app this year. But besides the many advantages, Bart Custers, Professor of Law & Data Science at eLaw, Center for Law and Digital Technology, also sees risks and loose ends. On 11 February 2023, he was interviewed on the topic in the 'Reformatorisch Dagblad'.

Many European countries have their own system for electronic identification. But the problem with these systems is that they do not work beyond the national borders, which does not help to serve the EU’s internal market. In the meantime, that market is changing. Internet is becoming increasingly important, with citizens and businesses doing more and more trade with other countries. And that’s causing friction, because banks and companies do not always know who they are doing business with and whether they can trust their trade partner.

There are clear advantages to a European digital identity, says Custers, but there are also risks and much is unclear in the current plans. For example, there are risks in relation to privacy and security. On top of this, tech companies seem to be getting a big finger in the pie since the technological development and management of the systems will be outsourced to the industry. It is worth asking whether the EU should make itself so dependent on non-EU tech companies.

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