SWITCH Identity Blog

The Identity Blog puts the spotlight on identity management, digital identities, identifiers, attributes, authentication and access management.

E-ID law: SWITCH contributing to parliamentary hearing

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At its meeting on 1 June 2018, the Federal Council adopted a dispatch to Parliament containing a draft for an E-ID law (see corresponding press release in DE, FR and IT; for follow-ups see “18.049 Business of the Federal Council”).

The National Council’s legal commission now runs the business. On 15.11.2018, it held a hearing with representatives of industry, public corporations, potential providers of E-ID solutions and interested parties from civil society. As a potential provider, SWITCH was able to take part in this hearing.

This draft E-ID law largely follows the preliminary draft consulted last year (press release with link to consultation report at page bottom). It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that the position of SWITCH expressed towards the preliminary draft also applies to the new draft law – including the criticism voiced therein.We gladly share the documents we contributed to the hearing: Slides in French and the manuscript of the speech in German (additionally: German translation of the slides shown). The main position statements of SWITCH, as presented to the commission, are the following ones:

  • SWITCH, as an integral part of the Swiss university landscape, has 20 years of experience in designing and running its identity framework, which it considers to share important elements of the envisaged E-ID services.
  • A functioning and generally accepted E-ID is an important concern for the higher education landscape and for Switzerland as a whole. With this in mind, SWITCH clearly supports the introduction of a federal law on electronic identification services.
  • The existing draft law entails considerable risks, creates a high degree of complexity and will not allow rapid implementation: the draft law requires “roaming” between the various providers of a nature that has not been tried and tested elsewhere on the market. The problem can of course be dealt with if only one E-ID provider appears on the market. But that can hardly be the intention when a market model is proposed.
  • In order to ensure rapid implementation and to reduce risks and complexity, SWITCH proposes to abandon the market model in favour of implementation by the Confederation or awarding it to a third party. Should the market model be pursued further, SWITCH proposes that the effects be examined with the involvement of the relevant stakeholders.
  • Avoid “Swiss Finish” – i.e. no additional hurdles limiting the use of the E-ID for services or the use of services.

As can be seen from this press release, the legislative work will continue on the basis of this draft. SWITCH will continue to observe the development and try to influence the process along the position statements above.

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