One of the more complex challenges: What can digital, machine-readable proofs of identity for private individuals and companies look like? How can certificates be managed simply and forgery-proof by the user himself and proven to third parties? The IDunion consortium is to provide solutions to these questions of the future. Now mgm technology partners has also become an associated partner of this important project. This allows our experts to contribute their expertise and solution approaches from digitalisation projects in public administration and business sectors.

The aim of IDunion is “to build an open ecosystem for decentralised identity management that can be used worldwide and is oriented towards European values and regulations”, as it says in its self-description. In principle, IDunion uses the concept of Self-sovereign Identities (SSI).

At the start of the project in 2020, just under 20 partners were involved in the project; in the meantime, there are almost 40 – and more are to come. All of them are committed to the content-related and technical goals of security and data protection by design, clearly defined liability through a management cooperative, and open innovation, i.e. open application development.

mgm is now also an associated partner. The mgm colleagues with expertise in digital identities can now exchange ideas with other experts in the network, have access to the technical documentation and can develop ideas for applications. Through a current project in tax administration, including prototype development, there is extensive know-how to contribute to IDunion.

Data sovereignty and wallets for IDunion users – and infinite SSI applications

The core of the IDunion concept: all participants – whether citizens or companies, for example – will be able to manage their own proofs of identity and certificates themselves and will always be free to decide when and with whom the proofs are shared (data sovereignty).

So-called “wallets” serve as a collection, administration and ID centre. For citizens, these are usually apps on a smartphone, while institutions use secure cloud solutions. In the future, for example, it should be possible to conclude legally secure contracts online without additional smart card hardware, and it would also be possible to simplify the process of establishing identity during virtual visits to authorities at the federal, state and local levels.

The unique and secure technology can also be used for entering addresses in internet shops, for hotel check-ins, tickets of all kinds and credit cards. There are also countless application scenarios for companies and industry: from unique product and machine identities for the supply chain to proof of balance sheet figures to risk data for insurance companies.

Federal funding for three-year implementation phase

IDunion has been funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) since 2020 as part of the innovation competition “Showcase Secure Digital Identities”. Recently, there was also the funding commitment for the three-year implementation phase, which began on 1 April 2021.

Only at the end of August 2020 did the network, which started as “SSI for Germany”, put a decentralised identity network into test operation, on the basis of which diverse applications for citizens, companies and institutions are to be developed. As part of the transparency principle, the technical implementation is based on open standards and open source technology.

Cooperative as a management organisation

The foundation of a European Cooperative Society (Societas Cooperative Europaea S.C.E.) for IDunion is to be completed this year. Subsequently, the technical network will be transferred to a productive environment.

We are very pleased about the partnership and the opportunity to contribute expertise to such a fundamental future technology for future digital life and work. There will certainly be more practical reports here.

Photo by George Prentzas on Unsplash