The increased rate of digitisation from the COVID-19 pandemic created a demand for means to authenticate and identify online, including the need to exchange information relating to one’s identity digitally, such as certificates, attributes, and qualifications one holds (ID number, residence info, age, driving licence etc.). The need to authenticate and identify online has sparked a new paradigm of creating advanced solutions that are convenient and can integrate different sources of verifiable data and certificates of a user. Users now expect self-sovereign app-based wallets which allow for secure and easy access to various public and private services under their full control.

The European Digital Identity proposal to amend the electronic IDentification, Authentication, and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation (EU) 910/2014; echoes the need for a more harmonised approach to digital identification compared to current divergent national methods; by providing citizens, businesses, and public services the means to identify online conveniently, while facilitating data subjects control over their own information. Creating an ecosystem at the EU level of verifiable proofs of credentials, claims, and attestations of attributes would benefit all by having a uniform approach to trust, security, and interoperability.

The Blockchain for Transport (BC4T) project aims to investigate applications of blockchain (BC) technology to road transport, focusing on topics of interest to the European Commission’s policy agenda. The undertaken pilot studies have shown that it is possible to connect entities such as vehicles, Member State Vehicle Registration Authorities, and the European Commission via BC technology while preserving data privacy, in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directives. The simulations performed on sharing the fuel consumption and distance travelled data from the On-Board Fuel Consumption Monitoring Devices (OBFCM), using BC and advanced identity solutions reducing the administrative cost burden, facilitating compulsory emissions monitoring, and putting users in control of their own data and identity.

Adopting a European Digital ID could open diverse applications within the connected mobility ecosystem, linking users and regulators while protecting personal data and privacy. The benefits of creating such a transparent ecosystem of interlinked public and private data will enable interoperability across different transport systems, and diverse new solutions and applications.

MOBI and the EU Commission recently collaborated on a pilot to test the performance and scalability of the ITN — a protocol-agnostic, scalable digital infrastructure providing trusted, privacy-preserving, decentralized identity services — and the Citopia decentralized marketplace for transactions between the EU Commission, 27 Member States’ Registration Authorities, and Connected Vehicles using Self-Sovereign Digital Twins (SSDTs) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs). The simulation, which explored trusted identity solutions for 280+ million vehicles in the EU, focused on the use case of vehicle emission self-reporting with SSI infrastructure.

About the Speaker

Dermot O’Brien is a Project Officer within the Joint Research Centre (JRC) at the European Commission, working on innovative applications of Blockchain for the transportation sector. He previously worked at Ernst & Young on both Data Analytics Projects for EY Risk UKI; and in addition, reviewed smart contracts written in Solidity of the 0x protocol and the Kyber Network looking for security flaws and providing assurance for EY Global.

Previous work experience included working in the European Commission Brussels in the Directorate-General (DG) Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA) giving advice in relation to policy on emerging Financial Technologies (FinTech). This included use of blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Dermot’s academic background is originally in High Energy Particle Physics and has both Theoretical and Experimental Journal Publications.