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Digital Identity Wallet - A Scandanavian View

I would like to introduce an old friend of mine for many years, Jon Ølnes:

Jon has incredible experience in all aspects of identity and he is based in Norway. His past organisational roles look like a “Who’s Who?” of the Norwegian and European eID industry and he currently is Tribe Lead sign and trust services at Signicat AS. Its has always been a pleasure to work with him.

He has authored a paper in line with my thoughts on the EU Digital Wallet and the implications/impacts of the current course.

I agree that we really need to “take a breath” (of cool Norwegian air!) and consult a little more openly. In the back of my mind is that the current strategy is driven by techies and therefore not surprisingly very technology focussed.

A copy of the document in full (thank you Signicat and Jon Ølnes) can be found at:

To summarise his blog, there are many reasons why the European Digital Identity Wallet initiative could fail. The blog post has highlighted the risks grouped into four categories:

  • Lack of buy-in from key parties and EU citizens

  • A Wallet ecosystem that is not commercially sustainable

  • Technical immaturity and an over complex solution

  • Legal incompatibility with existing regulations

So why does Signicat believe that the Wallet may still be a success? While that may be a topic for another blog post, the short version is that the Wallet initiative has caused a revival of the identity services industry.

It highlights the aspects of sole user control and targeted identity, meaning the user is in control of releasing only the specific information that the receiver needs. Many, if not most, identity experts believe that this is in principle the way to build identity services, but the idea appeared to be parked in the research labs. Now it might happen in real life. Or actually it will happen, because even if the Wallet should fail other similar services will appear.

Signicat is involved in the developments and pilots that try to bring this new Wallet ecosystem to life. Being aware of all the risks involved, we know this may not result in the all-encompassing great shiny single solution some people envisage. But it will be a major step ahead in facilitating the needs for real trust in the digital world.

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