SWITCH Identity Blog

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


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Two or More Factors for edu-ID

A representative from a larger higher education organisation in Switzerland recently stated that they identify roughly 40 compromised user accounts on average per month. Extrapolating this number for  all Swiss AAI users, this number would grow to more than 1’000 compromised accounts per month. Many of them are probably not even detected. Many of them probably belong to young students who may not always take proper care of their credentials. But every now and then, also staff members and professors learn about the nightmares of impersonation of their digital identity. So, how can edu-ID support SWITCHaai services to enhance authentication security? Continue reading


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E-ID law: SWITCH contributing to parliamentary hearing

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. Continue reading


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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There Can Be Only One!

As a child of the 80’s, of course I have seen the movie “Highlander”. In our “clone wars” (referencing Star Wars) against edu-ID duplicate accounts, I therefore remember the famous high lander quote “there can be only one”. Slightly adapted, this quote fits: “There can be only one edu-ID account per person”. Thanks to the automatic merging process described in this article, we now have the weapon in our hands to reach this goal.

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Clone Wars

Duplicate user accounts on a single system are sooner or later causing a nightmare. One ambition of the SWITCH edu-ID has always been the prevention of duplicate user accounts. However, only a few weeks after the edu-ID launch in 2015 we already found indications for a couple of duplicate accounts. How did that come about and what can we do to prevent duplicate accounts?

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The SWITCH identity federation – a look beyond its borders

The SWITCH identity federation was conceived almost two decades ago. The SWITCHaai service, implementing its concepts, has been in operation for over a decade. Today, the SWITCH edu-ID service is in its initial stages to become its successor, and it is still following the same model: to stay the identity federation of the Swiss academic community. That is reason enough to address those two rather fundamental questions:

  1. Are national identity federations still the right approach to satisfy the needs of the academic community – a community with increasing international collaboration?
  2. Will emerging e-ID services, or services like SwissID, eventually replace the SWITCH identity federation?

Both question the remits of the current solution: national and academic. But they differ in perspective: while the first is questioning the national remit, the second is questioning the academic-only context. Continue reading