British public services to test EU electronic ID project

Pilots have been confirmed for a scheme which will provide efficient and secure online access to public services spanning different EU countries.

Last year IT PRO reported on the UK's role in the scheme, which will enable businesses, citizens and government employees to use electronic ID (eID) cards across 14 European member states conveniently and securely.

STORK (Secure idenTity Across boRders linKed) is looking to benefit EU countries by saving time and money, promoting safer transactions, reducing risk and fraud, and simplifying the process.

Five pilot projects taking place in different member states are scheduled to occur between June 2010 and May 2011 - these cover cross-border authentication, safer chat, eID student mobility, eID for the delivery of electronic documents, and EU citizen change of address.

Alvarez Rodriguez, co-chairman of STORK, said that the chosen eID credentials in different member states needed to be tested, which could include user and passwords, eID cards, or digital certificates.

Other factors at play include the eID authentication and credential requirements needed to access each member state's online government service, as well as the service providers involved.

He said: "During this pilot we will be testing several existing national eID applications, including the UK government gateway and Belgium's LIMOSA portal, to demonstrate how this will be achieved."

The STORK project will not get directly involved with each member state's national electronic identity technology, but instead develop common rules and specifications to assist the recognition of these identities across the different countries involved.