How IDV Schweiz Connects Cantons and Municipalities

At the InfoSocietyDays 2017, the SECO and AdNovum presented their joint project IDV Schweiz. As a network, IDV Schweiz federates authentication services, thus connecting public administrations.


From March 7 to 10, the InfoSocietyDays 2017 took place in Bern. Since this event has a long-standing tradition at AdNovum, the company attended this platform for innovation and change in the digital economy and society also in 2017.


At the two-day Swiss e-Government Forum, Christian Weber of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Hans Burger of AdNovum presented the prototype of the so-called Identitätsverbund Schweiz/IDV (Identity Network Switzerland). The project led by the SECO aims to build up a comprehensive federated authentication service for Switzerland. Following its call for projects in September 2015, the SECO had selected AdNovum as its development partner.


Connecting municipalities and cantons

The Identity Network Switzerland shall, for example, allow an employee of a municipality to access cantonal applications by using the identity provider (IdP) of the municipality. Today, for this to be possible a significant effort by the canton is required, as it must separately integrate all municipalities and their IdP.


At the eGovernment Forum, Christian Weber and Hans Burger presented the solution: identity federation. The process allows recognizing digital identities from different sources and using their authentication for a proprietary service.


As Christian Weber describes it: "IDV meets the need of granting access through external IdPs. The IDV broker positions itself between the services and the IdPs. The services perceive the broker as an IdP, which it is not. It rather acts as a PROXY, cross-coordinating between IdPs and services."


Example canton of Aargau

Christian Weber illustrated the canton of Aargau as a real-life example. By using the Identity Network Switzerland, a cantonal application is not only accessible for municipalities of the canton of Aargau (for example Suhr) but, theoretically, for any integrated IdP. In other words: also for municipalities of other cantons, such as Olten or Nyon. Likewise, a municipality may grant access to its citizen's services to IdPs of other municipalities. This would, for example, enable a resident of Niederbipp to order online a parking card at the municipality of Oensingen.


These scenarios may have caught in particular the attention of the numerous representatives of public administrations attending the forum. After all, the Identity Network Switzerland is waiting around the corner: the pilot phase is scheduled for late this/early next year.