What does it take for a university to adopt the SWITCH edu-ID? This is the question SWITCH and seven partners (EPFL, FHNW, UNIFR, UNIGE, UNIL, UNISG and ZHAW) are addressing in the project “Swiss edu-ID Deployment Step 1” as part of swissuniversities’ program «Scientific information». The project advanced nicely and would justify an article on its own. But let’s draw your attention to an interesting side product of this project: we learned how electronic identities are managed in our community – and how the approaches are evolving over time and why.
At its meeting on 22 February 2017, the Swiss Federal Council opened a consultation on legislation on electronic identification (E-ID law, see announcements: DE, FR, IT). The consultation ended 29 May 2017.
SWITCH participated in this consultation and confirms the importance of a well-functioning and generally accepted E-ID. The identity service SWITCH edu-ID/SWITCHaai could potentially benefit from such an E-ID legislation: either to start offering an E-ID function itself, or by consuming E-ID services. Such use cases – from SWITCH and from other parties – may become important drivers for the spread of E-ID beyond pure e-government applications and for the emergence of an general-purpose E-ID ecosystem.
After evaluating the proposed delivery model in the draft E-ID-law, SWITCH proposes its revision. To ensure swift implementation and to reduce risks and complexity, SWITCH urges that the proposed market model be abandoned in favour of an implementation by the Swiss Confederation itself or by mandating it to a third party.
If the market model is to be pursued nevertheless, SWITCH proposes the use of a multi-stakeholder expert group to resolve the many open questions arising from the draft. If this group can not achieve its objectives, the market model is to be abandoned once and for all in favour of the proposed government-driven implementation model for an E-ID.
You are invited to read the full answer of SWITCH to the consultation (in German): 20170529 Vernehmlassungsantwort SWITCH E-ID-Gesetzesentwurf.
About 27,000 people have got mailing from the SWITCH edu-ID team April 19:
Instead of their former Cloud ID account, SWITCH edu-ID would be used as from 1st May 2017 in order to access the services SWITCHdrive and SWITCHengines.
But how should the vast majority of those users, who did not already have a SWITCH edu-ID account, come to such an identity?
Changeover without effort for 98% of users
The usual way to generate a SWITCH edu-ID account is self-registration – this in line with the principle of user centrism. However, in this case the new accounts were generated automatically in order to spare users effort.
Users who have linked their SWITCH edu-ID account with their existing AAI account(s) have substantially facilitated proper account assignment and account aggregation during conversion. Continue reading
SWITCHaai has a long and successful history in enabling access to hundreds of mainly academic web resources by reusing the authentication mechanisms at the heart of participating organisations.
When joining the SWITCHaai team a couple of years ago, I noticed two things about trust: a) it was just there, and b) no one talked about it. “Trust is established when no one talks about it anymore” someone said. It made me wonder how such a unique construction could be there and just work. There must have been many detailed questions that had to be resolved to get to that point! My curiosity was piqued, so, I started delving into this fascinating topic. How come all of these many service providers, identity providers, end users, organisations and federation partners, commercial or not, just do what the others would expect from them and don’t break trust?
Let’s start with an overview of the roles within an identity federation and their particular expectations towards each other and the federation as a whole. Continue reading
With the Swiss edu-ID SWITCH will introduce many new features and enhancements to the already well established SWITCHaai service. However, one aspect is not just an improvement, but rather a paradigm shift: the change from organisation-centric to user-centric identity management.
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.
Imagine you get a Swiss electronic identity. What should it look like?
Fedpol asked the Swiss edu-ID team to comment on their concept of a federal eID.
A starting point
In Sweden more than 50% of citizens already have an eID – an identity originally issued by the private sector (as banks) and developed further towards a standardised identity assertion and a more federated approach. Meanwhile, in Switzerland the foundation for a federal electronic identity will now be laid by presenting an eID concept to the Federal Council and then by starting the process to implement it in law.
As e-identities are widely used in Switzerland and also issued by several organisations (SuisseID, MobileID, Swiss edu-ID etc.), in May 2015 the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) started a consultation about the proposed eID concept. SWITCH provided our statement among a group of 68 companies and institutions with expertise in Identity Management. Now the interpretation of the answers and conclusions are available.