Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Proving identity across borders

18.12.2007
Being able to live and work in any Member State is a big part of what the EU is about –but it is often easier to move your suitcase than your social security records. The GUIDE project has created an independent forum to help governments apply common standards for the secure exchange of personal data.

People who come to work in the EU from America or Asia may find they have to rebuild their credit records before they can buy a car or a house. EU citizens generally have an easier time when moving between Member States, but accessing social security, employment and health services across borders is still cumbersome and error-prone. Rising concern about crime linked to identity theft makes reliable data exchange even more important.

To improve this situation, the GUIDE project was set up to create uniform systems of identity management to support e-government services across Europe. Its aim is not to store information about people, or to authorise access to e-services. Instead, GUIDE paves the way for trusted “identity providers” in different Member States to supply reliable information on the identities of individuals and businesses to those who rely on it, such as government departments offering important services.

GUIDE began at the end of 2003 and was originally planned to run for 18 months, though it was later extended until July 2007. The project currently has 16 members drawn from large companies, SMEs and universities across the EU.

Different Member States have different rules about privacy and electronic record-keeping, but there is enough consistency to stop this from being a serious problem for data exchange, says GUIDE coordinator Marc Greaves. There are also well-proven computing techniques for exchanging information securely, such as the SSL technology used for transactions on the web.

So what is the difficulty? Greaves explains that there are two basic issues to solve. The first is to persuade governments to trust one another with their citizens’ data, and to make sure that these citizens have given permission for their data to be used across borders. The second is about technology: techniques that work for on-line shopping are not always appropriate for data exchange between huge government databases.

Independence and standards
On the topic of trust, Greaves believes that GUIDE’s independence has allowed it to generate interest, gain co-operation and propose standards in ways that would not have been possible between individual governments. “We’re State independent, technology independent and vendor independent,” he says, “and that has helped us get things done.”

On the technical side, the GUIDE partners have used and further developed existing security standards to meet the needs of e-government. Independent bodies, such as OASIS and the Liberty Alliance, have created their own ‘open’ standards. Basic concepts like public key cryptography have supported the creation of computer tools, such as the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). “GUIDE has taken the OASIS and Liberty standards and developed practical ways to use them for e-government data,” Greaves says.

Identity management was originally done individually, system by system, with all the attendant problems of duplication and data integrity. It then evolved into a federated model where different organisations and systems use and rely on each other’s identity data. GUIDE has taken this one step further, to create a pan-organisation, pan-EU “federation of federations”.

The GUIDE partners have tested their new techniques in two field trials, both chosen because they represent genuine problems and involve businesses as well as individuals. The first concerned form E101, used to record the social security details of people who are working temporarily in another country. This trial, which took place in the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia, was a great success, Greaves says. It was followed by a second trial, this time on cross-border e-procurement in Germany, Spain and Finland, the results of which will be announced in mid-2007.

“GUIDE is not an end in itself,” says Greaves. “Instead, it’s an enabler for the e-government applications that will deliver the real benefits. For instance, the EU is committed to making all public procurement available electronically, and we are helping to make that possible. GUIDE has delivered what it was supposed to do, and it will help us all to become true European citizens.”

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89061

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>