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 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
Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale
15.05.2019 | University of Oxford
A step towards probabilistic computing
15.05.2019 | University of Konstanz
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy