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D4.2: Set of requirements for interoperability of Identity Management Systems

ecommerce  FIDIS
 Importance of interoperability


Main identity issues

The experts emphasised that several issues were at stake on identity management. 


First of all, as suggested by Mr Sel (Annex, 13.1 Report 1, p 51) for any identity management system (IMS), it is necessary to understand that individuals operate in distinct ‘spaces’ in which they act with different characteristics. In general, four ‘spaces’ can be defined:  

  • government 

  • private 

  • commercial 

  • PPP (private-public partnerships) 


He continues, these ‘spaces’ are in principle separate and do not interact, unless explicitly designed to do so. One of the issues is to understand to what extent individuals, who are assumed to control the identity management application, would desire to act as one and the same interoperable individual across these ‘spaces’.  In other words, one of the basic questions is whether individuals require interoperable IMSs?


Interoperability of IMSs could lead to a loss of privacy. Consequently, either the IMSs may be confined to a specific ‘space’ or it will be the individual who will decide in which ‘space’ she/he will act and/or which individual information could be shared across the ‘spaces’. 


Secondly, one of the cornerstones of an IMS is an adequate management of the privacy and data protection issues. Interoperability is often seen as opposed to privacy. As an example, it is unlikely that individuals want to give up their privacy which they enjoy in the distinctive ‘spaces’ and which they may enjoy nowadays without interoperable systems. The use of privacy profiles, which are transparent, understandable and manageable by the end-users could be a tool to offer such privacy. Privacy must be protected. A solution proposed by Mr Sel is the use of privacy profiles. Privacy profiles seem therefore very important for any identity management system.  


Moreover, identity management in e-commerce has only a chance to succeed if it is clear from the beginning that the user remains in control of the identity management system.  Interoperability of systems as such will not be accepted by the users unless it is, by default, controlled by the user.


Another important issue is on security. Identification must be secure and this security must be guaranteed. For Mr Leitold, it is the art of “egovernment application design” to find a solution with ensures high interoperability when necessary but that at the same time guarantees a highly secure and privacy-rich environment. 


Mr Weck pointed out that for him the main issue has to be found in accountability. 




ecommerce  fidis-wp4-del4_2.set_of_requirements_03.sxw  Importance of interoperability
Denis Royer 10 / 43