In the ever-evolving digital identity landscape, collaboration and alignment between major economic blocs are crucial for fostering international trust and interoperability. A significant step in this direction has been taken by the Digital Identity Subgroup of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) Working Group 1: Technology Standards (WG1). This blog post delves into the preliminary results of the transatlantic mapping exercise 2023, shedding light on the commonalities and distinctions between the European Union’s (EU) and the United States’ (US) approaches to digital identity.
The mapping exercise, initiated during a government-to-public workshop event in Brussels, aimed to identify synergies between the EU and US frameworks for digital identity. Led by the European Commission (EC) and a US federal interagency group, the exercise encompassed a taxonomical approach to concepts, a mapping of assurance levels, and a compilation of international standards referenced in authoritative documents.
Common Ground and Distinctions:
The report emphasizes the absence of significant concepts without a corresponding counterpart in the companion framework, underlining the fundamental alignment between the EU and US approaches. Noteworthy is the minor divergence in the usage of terms, which poses no substantial barrier to comprehension.
One of the critical distinctions surfaces in the treatment of trust services, a facet explicitly addressed in the EU’s Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 but not expressly detailed in the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SP 800-63.
Both frameworks employ a three-tiered approach to assurance levels, signifying increasing confidence in identification means. However, nuances emerge as the NIST guidelines dissect the three levels into identity, authentication, and federation assurance. At the same time, the EU regulation opts for a comprehensive approach under the umbrella of “levels of assurance.”
The success of the initial mapping process sets the stage for the subsequent phases. WG1 Digital Identity Subgroup representatives plan to solicit feedback on open questions and select potential use cases, further enhancing EU-US collaboration in the cross-border use of digital identities.
The second phase of mapping, envisaged upon the finalization of NIST SP 800-63, Revision 4, and the adoption of the Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, will be a collaborative effort involving subject matter experts, organizations, and stakeholders.
On February 22, 2024, the EU-US TTC WG-1 (Working Group 1) will host a webinar focused on unraveling the outcomes of the Digital Identity Mapping Exercise.
On February 29, 2024, stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the DRAFT EU-US TTC WG-1 Digital Identity Mapping Exercise Report. The deadline for submitting feedback is February 29, 2024. This collaborative engagement underscores the commitment to fostering international cooperation and development in the evolving landscape of digital identity.
The EU-US Digital Identity Mapping Exercise signifies a significant stride towards harmonizing international approaches to digital identity. As the collaboration deepens, the potential for cross-border use of digital identities becomes more promising, fostering a future where global digital interactions are secure, seamless, and interoperable.
More information can be found on the NIST Website.