"Electronic Identity for Europe": Moving from Problems to Solutions

Norberto Norberto Nuno Gomes de Andrade


Electronic Identity (eID) is the backbone of modern communications and transactions in the digital world, as well as a key driver for the growth of the EU economy and the completion of the Digital Single Market. The latter, in effect, can only be accomplished when citizens from one Member State (MS) can easily and unobtrusively access services and use applications, including signing electronically, from any other Member State. Despite the implementation of different identity management systems (IMS), the numerous political declarations and initiatives in this area, the development of various research projects and eID technologies, the discussion on the necessary legal means through which to create an interoperable pan-European eID has not yet taken place. In addition, the processing and management of electronic identities is regulated – at the EU level - through principles, rules and concepts "borrowed" from different EU legal instruments (Data protection, eSignatures and Services Directives being the most relevant ones). As such, one of the main challenges posed to European electronic Identity is of a legal nature. In this context, the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS),within the framework of the 2011 LSPI Conference organized a workshop – entitled "Electronic Identity for Europe" – devoted to the legal framework that is necessary to set in place in order to accompany and enforce the already existing technological answers.  

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