SWITCH Identity Blog

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


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NOT for university members only

FHNW e-media offering for teachers uses Shared Attribute API

In principle open

Openness is one of the promises made by SWITCH edu-ID. In recent years, universities have increasingly opened up to additional user groups such as continuing education students or MOOC participants. Cooperation with external parties is becoming increasingly important overall, be it with other universities, research institutions or partners from the private sector. Academic institutions are expanding their offerings, and not every person who makes use of university services has to become an official member of the university.

But that’s why you let everyone in?

However, most service providers do not simply want to blindly trust a self-declared identity that users bring with them (i.e. a “naked” edu-ID).
There are many reasons why one wants to protect applications and content from unauthorized access, e.g. to prevent data theft or manipulation or to comply with data protection or license regulations. And if abuse has taken place despite all precautions, one wants to be able to find out who one can hold liable for damages. Of course, this can be difficult with unchecked identities, even if the majority of users behave correctly and have provided the correct personal data for their digital identity. So is this a reason not to trust edu-ID identities?
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Trust & Identity WG Meeting / SWITCH edu-ID Update Event 2019

SWITCH invites you on Wed, 15 May 2019 to the 2nd Trust & Identity WG Meeting combined with the SWITCH edu-ID Update Event in Berne.

Registration is open until Tue, 7. May 2019 and required for logistical reasons.
Refer to the registration page for the draft agenda and schedule.

A longer section of the event is dedicated to SWITCH edu-ID. The heads of IT of University of Lucerne and Distance University will talk about their adoption experience.

Administrators of either an Identity Provider or Service Provider registered in SWITCHaai as well as the SWITCHpki registration authority operators and all persons involved in (future) planning and adoption of SWITCH edu-ID are invited to participate.


What’s the SWITCH Trust & Identity WG?
The SWITCH Trust & Identity WG comprises representatives of all SWITCHaai Participants and SWITCHpki Participants in the SWITCH Community and the Extended SWITCH Community.
This group is informally involved with the further development of SWITCHaai/edu-ID and SWITCHpki and has the opportunity to provide feedback if there are questions or changes upcoming.


Distance University too uses now edu-ID

On 6 March 2019, Distance University became the second university to switch to SWITCH edu-ID for authentication and access to its services. Here is an extract from their experience:

IT as a driving force

The project was primarily carried out by the IT department – supported by Marketing. All information had to be written in German and French. Student managers, who act as the first contact persons for teachers and students, were trained in advance by IT.

It took about 1.5 years from the initial discussions with SWITCH to the completion of the project. Distance University IT spent in total one man-month developing and testing the technical implementation. In addition, project management and communication were particularly time-consuming.

Information campaign as key

The Distance University launched an information campaign in the summer of 2018, thus persuading 75% of the university members to create an edu-ID account. The scenario “Linking before day X” was used for current users. The creation/linking of the account was simple and user acceptance correspondingly high.
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Submit your Sub-Project for Planning and/or Adoption!

In August we’ve submitted our last project application for Swiss edu-ID – the Deployment Steps 3 & 4 – to swissuniversities. Intended is a two-year project during 2019 and 2020 that contains just as before two parts:

  • further development of features (functional extensions) and
  • planning and adoption activities of universities (deployment).

In order to allow non-bureaucratic and more agile handling especially for the planning phases, universities can now requests for third-party funding twice a year and therefore can become much easier a project partner and start funded activities.

If third-party funding would be beneficial to your university, please consider to submit a sub-project on the following dates:

  • 30.11.18 (project start January 2019)
  • 31.5.2019 (project start July 2019)
  • 30.11.2019 (project start January 2020)
  • 31.3.2020 (if there is still funding available; project start May 2020)

You find the one-page application form on our project website.

The application must be addressed to SWITCH, but the same rules apply as for projects submitted to swissuniversities (at least 50% own funds, reporting etc.).*

Universities with no need for third-party funding can start a sub-project – in consultation with us – at any time.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and join the group of already 24 universities!

* NOTE: This procedure is subject to approval by swissuniversities (expected for December 2018)


Go for next Deployment Step

The project Deployment Step 2.2, submitted in February, is now approved by swissuniversities.

Participating Universities

From August on several universities will start the adoption planning, supported by federal funds in the framework of the Deployment Step 2 phase:

  • Berner Fachhochschule
  • Fachhochschule St. Gallen
  • Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale
  • Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Chur
  • Hochschule für Wirtschaft Zürich
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Bern
  • Université de Neuchâtel
  • Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.

The following universities plan the implementation of SWITCH edu-ID in 2018/19:

  • FernUni
  • Hochschule Luzern
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Schwyz
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Zug
  • Université de Lausanne
  • Universität Luzern
  • Universität St. Gallen
  • Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften.

The list of participating organisations is regularly updated and available at https://projects.switch.ch/eduid/adoption/
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Swiss edu-ID Deployment: Next Steps

Project for Deployment Step 2 in 2018/19 submitted

Within this next project phase – once approved by swissuniversities – the first three universities will implement SWITCH edu-ID:

  • Université de Lausanne
  • Universität St. Gallen
  • Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften.

They’ve developed their individual integration plan during 2017 (Deployment Step 1). As the other four participating universities they have considerably contributed to elaborate and sharpen adoption scenarios for linking of new and current members and for managing affiliations.

Eleven universities will start implementation planning: Berner Fachhochschule, FernUni, Fachhochschule St. Gallen, Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale, Hochschule Luzern, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Chur (HTW Chur), Hochschule für Wirtschaft Zürich, Pädagogische Hochschule Bern, Pädagogische Hochschule Schwyz (PHSZ), Université de Neuchâtel and Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.

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