This is one of the questions we answer quite often – and the answer is “yes”. Of course we do observe initiatives within Switzerland (mainly eGovernment related) and abroad, and including international projects with common tasks and possible synergies. In addition to simply monitor what others do, we build relationships, exchange know-how, evaluate eID initiatives of other National research and education networks (NRENs), provide advice for groups who only yet start with federation projects, and SWITCH is active in international projects as GEANT.
Hereafter you find some examples of initiatives and projects, their goals and concepts, common activities (if any), and some ideas about common interests or possible synergies.
FIDES – Federation of Identity Services
FIDES is a project lead by educa.ch, mandated by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Its goal is the preparation of a concept for federated identity services for schools (ISCED levels 020–4: pre-primary education – post-secondary non-tertiary education). The project has started in June 2015. educa.ch will present interim results to EDK in spring 2016.
There’s a regular exchange about project progress between Swiss edu-ID and FIDES. The broad overlap of users/identities, the use of a unique identifier and the willingness to improve the transition processes from school to higher education institutions are common points. FIDES might propose a distributed architecture (similar to SWITCHaai). Exchange between the projects might e.g. lead to lower barriers for pupils when moving on from school to a higher education institution.
The eID project is run by the Federal Office of Police (fedpol). This project is part of the core area of the E-Government Strategy Schweiz 2016-2019 and has as goals a framework and standardization for federal approved digital identification systems.
The developed concept was in the meantime evaluated by the Federation Council. A federal identity service (SID) for Swiss citizens will issue a bundle of Personal Identity Information to certified Identity Providers (IdPs) in the private sector. Issued will be identity information (printed on traveling documents) and ev. additional information as attributes like AHVN13 (to entitled IdPs only).
A unique identifier (Eindeutiger Personen Identifikator) should be used within the eID‐ecosystem. The demonstrator is planned for end 2017, standard framework for interoperability for end of 2018.
Swiss edu-ID has participated in the consultation in May 2015. eID could eventually help to Improve the Swiss edu-ID data/attribute quality, assumed that the usage of eID data will be possible and the same standards are applied. eID will cover the resident population only and hurdles to become a certified IdP allowed to get data might be (too) high.
IAM Bund – Identitäts- und Zugriffsverwaltung Bund
This e-Government project is managed by Informatiksteuerungsorgan des Bundes (ISB). Its goals are to join, build and standardize IAM‐services in the Swiss federal administration. A market model version 2.0 should be adopted at the end of 2016. The focus is put on identities of federal employees and on federated access management within this complex administrative infrastructure.
A round table with Swiss edu-ID and ISB will take place in March 2016 for discussing experiences and common points. The use of the same standards might be beneficial, but there’s probably only a small overlap and limited opportunity for exchange of identity data (ev. ETHZ and EPFL).
IDV Schweiz – Identitätsverbund Schweiz
This project was initiated by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Goals are development and operation of a Swiss eGovernment Identity Platform. It’s also one of the core areas of E-Government Strategy Schweiz 2016-2019.
A first pilot is expected until end of 2016. Planned is a hub and spoke federation with multiple IdPs and Attribute Authorities. An identity broker should allow citizens to use third party credentials to interact with agency services. It needs a formal technical and policy trust framework for all organisations, based on Levels of Assurance, policies for identity vetting, class of authentication methods and quality of attributes allowing full trust in identity information (based on eCH standards). Those should be available until 2019.
There’s an overlap between Higher Education Institutions and administration (information). Use of Swiss edu-ID as a connected IdP or for inter-federation might be opportunities, but added values and relevant processes could not be identified so far.
eduKEEP is a task within the pan-European GEANT 4 project (GN4-1 JRA3, field trust, identity & security). Goal is to study and pilot the implementation implications, benefits and costs of moving from organisation-centric identity management to a user-centric identity federation model. The work on this task is on-going and the first deliverable is expected for spring 2016.
The Swiss edu-ID team participates actively in the project since the goals correspond widely with the Swiss edu-ID vision and include the use of a persistent identifier and splitting of authentication and authorization.
Also eID initiatives and implementations of other countries as in Sweden (eID/BankID) or the Netherlands (with its DigiD) are on the radar.
By observing and fostering information exchange we hope to make Swiss edu-ID a custom-fit and future-proof solution – in the national as well as in the international eID environments.