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

Barriers for interoperability  FIDIS
 Role of government, merchants and users to foster interoperability


Actions and relative importance at the technical, legal and cultural levels

At the technical level, Libon stresses that it will be very hard to replace all the existing technology installed base of card readers and other technologies or to enforce common standards. Countries follow different technology solutions and while linking all the different systems is possible, it requires a major effort. Libon also refers to the difficulty in managing constant change in technology and functionality, since the cards should last 5 years. As each new functionality is added to newer cards, older cards become outdated and replacement may be needed. For example security functionality may need to be scaled up or new functions may become available.


Timmers also sees some challenges at the technical level owing to the lack of standards. However, he sees cultural issues to be the most important area. He states that even if we establish a cross-border interoperable system, the existing cultural practices would probably not conform to the system and could react against it. According to Timmers, cultural practices should be addressed first. He also points to the need for creating a legal framework that enables interoperability and interchange of information. In his interview, he lists a number of areas of research at the social, technological and economic levels (see his response to Q.14 in the annexes). Timmers also provides a list of European research projects on legal barriers to interoperability in eID and egovernment in general (see Qs. 17 and 18)


Hollosi and Martin referred to the latest regulation in Austria, the egovernment Act that came into force on 1st March 2004 and considered the Data Protection Act of 2000. They say that the EU should define a set of terms for all countries to use in relation to ID cards and decide which terms and fields constitute an identity. Hollosi and Martin argue for a press campaign communicating the benefits to the users following the implementation of the cards. Hollosi and Martin provided exact details of technical and legal specification employed in their Austrian ID card scheme (See their interview response to Qs 11 and 12 for more details). At the cultural level, public campaigns are planned. They also said that Austria is trying to set an example of success to other countries and to be considered best practice in eID. They said that all three levels (technical, legal and cultural) are equally important.


Følstad highlighted the importance of user acceptance. The system needs to be easy to use and users have to trust and use it with confidence. He said that the most important and challenging issue was user’s understanding because users are accustomed to signing paper and will probably see the new technology in the same way. Also users need to be reassured of data protection, especially because vendors tend to request excessive information from their users. For Følstad the most important success factor is user’s trust in the system which is dependent on good communication from the government to the citizens.



Barriers for interoperability  fidis-wp4-del4_2.set_of_requirements_03.sxw  Role of government, merchants and users to foster interoperability
Denis Royer 27 / 43