by Marica Micallef
A group of six European countries is pushing for a new digital cross-border payment system that would eventually combine the EU Digital Identification program and a digital euro.
The NOBID (Nordic-Baltic eID) project, led by the governments of Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, and Norway, is backed by multinational banks, large technology firms, and other European government agencies.
The project, according to NOBID’s website, is the brainchild of the unelected European Commission and sounds eerily similar to the kinds of social credit systems used by countries such as Communist China.
They claim that: “The payment use case is recognized as a key use case based on several rationales, one being the potential extension to the Digital Euro.”
At this point, the project will most likely connect national bank accounts to the centralized application and act as an intermediary between banks and merchants.
Because the Digital Euro has yet to be deployed and is gradually looking to enable its application in a peer-to-peer framework, such projects can significantly help to advance final implementation. By the end of 2023, a prototype phase for the ECB-issued Digital Euro currency could be in use.
Tor Alvik, project manager of the consortium, while confirming the link between both the EU DigitalID System and the Digital Euro, said: “We are hugely excited to turn the EU vision into a reality and make smoother, more readily available ID services possible for all.”
The European Digital Identity, which has been in development since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, combines various aspects of personal identifiers such as birth certificates, medical documents, bank accounts, tax returns, education status, and prescriptions. As previously reported by The National Pulse, the EUiD’s goal is to serve as the central authority for identification in both the physical and digital worlds.
Several consortiums and companies across Europe are already developing and expanding the EU Digital ID system’s capabilities as a second layer. iProov, for example, is a biometric authentication system company that has patented important biometric ID tools used by various governments and corporations. Deepfake threat detection, passwordless authentication, facial recognition, vaccine status verification, and other services are offered by the company. The NOBID consortium includes iProov.
Concerns about threats to privacy and individual liberty are growing as more services are integrated on top of the EUiD. People across Europe have experienced major violations of their personal freedoms as a result of the developments that occurred during COVID, which were dictated by technocratic leadership on both national and supranational levels.
Greece is one of those countries which is seeing the implementation of such a project. Two months ago, Greece has launched a digital wallet app for its citizens, bringing user experience and services in line with modern life by allowing people to carry their ID and driving license on their phones, among other things.
The new application “Gov.gr Wallet,” which provides a virtual wallet on mobile phones, was launched by the Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis, who spoke at an event attended by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The downloaded mobile app will eliminate the need to carry a physical police ID or driver’s license, allowing for faster transactions via a secure system requiring digital confirmation via a QR code, among other things.
Pierrakakis stated that the app was created using the internal structure of the general public administration “gov.gr” platform, and he explained how it is downloaded via wallet.gov.gr and the use of tax (TaxisNet) or web banking codes. He stated that text messages (SMSs) will be used to confirm every document issued.
Gov.gr Wallet is now available to citizens whose tax number (AFM) ends in 1 and will eventually be available to all.
The IDs will carry their identifying QR code, which can confirm when officials ask for each and then scan it.
In addition, “We are creating a system for banks and telecom providers starting October 1, as well as for agencies requiring the user to show an ID. A digital trace will be created instead of copies of one’s ID, turning into digital proof something that has been a burden to provide in physical form,” the minister said, referring to the police IDs required for most official transactions.