The title is a fata morgana, of course. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a very old topic in the context of e-services. Still it has not been solved satisfactorily in practical terms. For example, the are no proper plug-in modules available for building e-government services. Although reuse has been a strategic goal in Swiss e-government for a decade, progress has only been achieved in paper work through the establishment of eCH standards. But even these standards are hardly used despite of the fact that some embody a lot of knowledge.
On a global scale it is sad, that so far there is only one broker solution with big outreach, which connects eID-ecosystems from different eID-providers: this is the network of eIDAS nodes being developed based on the eIDAS regulation. Still, in its current state of conceptualization eIDAS does only solve cross-border government problems inside EU and possibly EWR. This excludes other countries, and worse, it does not include industry. There are lots of ideas around how to get forward, but solutions seem to be far away.
Indeed, building a global broker is a hard legal, organizational, economic, and technological challenge. Many believe that it is not worth dealing with this challenge, because the progress of IT will create new solutions as deus ex machina – possibly solutions which destroy privacy anyway and dismiss any rights on careful handling of one’s data. This hope is shocking, although many who hope for future unknown solutions, they lack imagination of what these solutions would be and they may start to protest once they understand what all this amounts to. Personally, I stick to the opinion that we do need a global federation of eID-ecosystems into a universal open eID-ecosystem. This federation should be based on clear principles, trustworthy implementations, and carefully designed auditing practicing that create a good foundation for trust and confidence among all actors in the ecosystem.
I hope that our authors of this issue will provide you and me with a deeper understanding of how sustainable solutions for the IAM topic on a global scale could look like. As you know it from Cechov’s plays: Maybe, some day in the future, the world will be a brighter one. Enjoy reading this issue!
Yours sincerely, Reinhard Riedl