European Union(EU)discusses using zero-knowledge proofs for digital IDs

A proposal to use zero-knowledge proofs has been approved by the EU Committee and may be incorporated into the updated legislation.

The European Union has an ambivalent relationship with privacy – on one hand, it was the first country to apply strict data protection regulations. The central bank digital currency project, however, does not adhere to the same standards of anonymity as private cryptocurrencies. 

Last week, EU lawmakers took an important step toward protecting citizens’ digital identities. On February 9, the Industry, Research, and Energy Committee amended the European digital identity framework to include the standard of zero-knowledge proofs.  The latest update was approved by the committee by a vote of 55 to 8, the draught will now move on to the trilogue phase of negotiations. 

While the most recent draught is still not publicly available, the press release states that EU citizens will be given full control over their data, with the ability to choose what information to share and with whom  “The new eID would enable citizens to identify and authenticate themselves online without relying on commercial providers, as is currently the case – a practice that has raised trust, security, and privacy concerns.”

Circle’s senior director for EU government affairs, Jonas Fredriksen, stated on Twitter: 

“As companies develop innovative products and services that rely on zero-knowledge proofs and eID solutions, the proposal would facilitate the emergence of new business models and opportunities in the digital economy.”

Researchers have recently focused on zero-knowledge proofs as a possible way to ensure regulatory compliance and privacy in digital currencies. 

The joint paper by the San Francisco-based Mina Foundation, operator of the Mina Protocol, the German Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe bank, and the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability, and Trust demonstrated how the zero proofs could be linked to Europe’s eIDAS electronic identity system. 

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