The Conference on Interoperable European Electronic Identities - organised by the Porvoo Group - will take place on the 18th and 19th of October in Grosseto.
One of the main topics of the conference will be the issues of eID interoperability in which the city of Grosseto has been particularly active.
Poorvo Group logo
I write this personal note after a journey of well more than three years in the land of electronic IDs (eIDs). It was a journey guided by ideal of simple and pragmatic solutions, helped and often even made possible by consistently engaging various communities who brought objectives in reach that would otherwise have been hopelessly beyond my resources, and evidently of open source both in use and in development.
The Porvoo 12 meeting represents a culmination point of this journey, some kind of arrival, and therefore this note.
More than three years ago I changed my hat by entering a local public administration—the Comune di Grosseto—and by diving into a completely unknown field of identity management with smartcards, access control, and all the rest. My task being to guide the administration to find a good and sustainable (thus open source) solution for identity management with the Italian eID card(s). And the environment was definitely challenging with a lot of information close to impossible to come by, initially no one to talk to, and being in a position of utter unimportance since eIDs are done by national governments, not local administrations.
While life surely is what happens while we make other plans, my guiding principles have never abandoned me and who has learned to work in the open source way is never alone. This has enabled me to establish myself in the Porvoo Group, an international inter-governmental forum on eIDs and their interoperability and next week this will be manifest in Grosseto, as first local administration, hosting the 12th meeting of the Porvoo Group.
Some highlights on the way to Porvoo 12 have been the contribution to getting eID interoperability on the work program of the EC’s IDABC, leading the development of the Porvoo Group’s Open Source eID Interoperability Demonstrator—still the only solution with a multi-eID client solution–and the promotion of TLS-Federation as the third, most simple and pragmatic interoperability solution for Europe alongside Liberty and WS-*.
Porvoo12 will add the opportunity to attract the focus of European Member States to a fourth interoperability solution which has received insufficient attention so far—that of an identity meta-system proposed by Microsoft but implemented also in open source projects such as Higgins. With Porvoo12 we are also attempting to establish a long term dialog between two so far separate worlds, that of Microsoft’s identity management strategy that still conditions a majority of user desktops and that of government eIDs.
At Porvoo12 we will also announce PESO, the (obviously open source) Permanent eID Status Observatory that not only promises to modernize the Porvoo Group country updates but also attempts to be the first real world application that works with all European eIDs and the U.S. PIV card. There couldn’t be a better opportunity to show case the fruits of the last three years.
Porvoo 12 is thus a time of arrival and of satisfaction, but it is also an opportunity to give thanks to the various communities who made all this possible, among them (but not limited to) the guys behind OpenSC, mod-python, the participants of the eForum/PPP eID WG, some smart techies from other towns such as Trento and Prato, friends at Ministries involved in eID projects and technical people behind the Ministries, the co-chairs of the Porvoo Group, and the Comune di Grosseto who has always supported seemingly impossible moves.
This includes the European activities for reaching eID interoperability by 2010 and the possible solutions discussed by governement and industry.
About the Porvoo Group.
The Porvoo Group is an international cooperative network whose primary goal is to promote a trans-national, interoperable electronic identity based on PKI technology (Public Key Infrastructure) and smart cards and chip ID cards, in order to help ensure secure public and private sector eTransactions in Europe.
The Group consists of governmental representatives from European countries; representatives from the private sector, the European Commission and the UN have also attended the conferences. The Porvoo Group’s two-day conferences are held every six months.
One of the main topics of the conference will be the issues of eID interoperability in which the city of Grosseto has been particularly active. This includes the European activities for reaching eID interoperability by 2010 and the possible solutions discussed by governement and industry.