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

Towards a set of requirements  FIDIS



James Backhouse, LSE 


To the lay person, the issue of interoperability of identity management systems, indeed of most information systems, would likely be expressed in terms of finding the appropriate technical standards to deal with issue of technical platform, operating system, database standards and formats, communication protocols and the like.  Having resolved these issues, one might well feel that the problem is mostly resolved.  What emerges from these interviews is another picture.  The experts rarely stress the key role of the technology in achieving interoperability and instead seem to take the technical questions as mostly resolved, or resolvable.  What remains a barrier for the experts interviewed in this exercise is the problem of dealing with the issues of the social, the political, the cultural and the semantic nature.  


At a trivial level, sharing a common set of concepts that refer to common ways of dealing with identification and authentication, with security and with privacy would seem to be a sine qua non.  At the level of adoption of the systems, given that they are inherently interoperable, issues of trust, of usability, of confidence lurk beneath the surface.  Governments are seen as the main protagonists in this scenario and can use their central positions to alter perceptions and beliefs about such systems in egovernment, ehealth and ecommerce.  It would seem impossible for the private sector on its own to be able to render systems interoperable at these non-technical levels.  


Also emerging is a picture of different degrees of progress being made in different countries.  The Austrian example in ehealth is inspiring, in that many necessary pre-requisites for interoperability seem to be built into their pioneering systems, although it will require more than mere capability to turn potentiality into reality.


This deliverable has served an important purpose of confirming the intellectual basis on which we sought to develop the study into interoperability,  proving that a simple yet coherent conceptual framework as found in the technical, formal and informal deconstruction, could support quite penetrating analysis and yet remain comprehensible to the less experienced in the identity field.  Furthermore the results of our interviews lay a firm basis for our upcoming deliverables: the larger survey and the best practice guidelines. Both these form part of the second workplan for FIDIS Work Package 4 on Interoperability of Identity and Identity Management Systems.




Towards a set of requirements  fidis-wp4-del4_2.set_of_requirements_03.sxw  References
Denis Royer 40 / 43