Stork at a Glance
The aim of the STORK project is to establish a European eID Interoperability Platform that will allow citizens to establish new e-relations across borders, just by presenting their national eID.
Cross-border user authentication for such e-relations will be applied and tested by the project by means of five pilot projects that will use existing government services in EU Member States. In time however, additional service providers will also become connected to the platform thereby increasing the number of cross-border services available to European users.
Thus in the future, you should be able to start a company, get your tax refund, or obtain your university papers without physical presence; all you will need to access these services is to enter your personal data using your national eID, and the STORK platform will obtain the required guarantee (authentication) from your government.
|Fig 1. User enters an online session with a service provider and provides his personal data using his national eID. The STORK platform requests user's permission to relay the personal data to his national eGovernment portal for identity authentication, which once provided, is relayed back to the service provider. The STORK platform does not store any personal data, so not data can be lost.|
User-centric Approach = Privacy Guarantee
The role of the STORK platform is to identify a user who is in a session with a service provider, and to send his data to this service. Whilst the service provider may request various data items, the user always controls the data to be sent. The explicit consent of the owner of the data, the user, is always required before his data can be sent to the service provider.
This user centric approach was not taken to satisfy some philosophical preferences, but in line with the legislative requirements of all the various countries involved that oblige concrete measures to be taken to guarantee that a citizen's fundamental rights, such as his privacy, are respected.
The Pilots and their Integration
The STORK project will test its interoperability platform through the implementation of five pilot projects (detailed below) wherein the STORK platform will be integrated into existing applications and tested in real, live situations. In some cases, the platform will also increase the cross border functionality of these applications.
- Cross-border Authentication Platform for Electronic Services
A demonstrator showing that cross-border electronic services can operate in a number of Member States: The applications include national portals from Austria (help.gv.at), Estonia (eesti.ee), Germany (mein-service-BW), Portugal (portaldocidadao.pt), UK, one regional portal from Catalonia in Spain and one specific service for compliance activities for working in Belgium (limosa.be)
- Safer chat
Promoting the safe use of the Internet by children and young people;
- Student mobility
Facilitating people who want to study abroad in a different Member State;
Developing cross-border mechanisms for secure online delivery of documents;
- Change of Address
Assisting EU citizens move and settle in other EU countries;
Thus e.g. "Change of Address" will not only include eID integration; it will also allow the citizen to automatically send his new address details to the country in which he previously resided.
Integration in existing eID Infrastructures
Most EU countries have already deployed national electronic citizen cards; citizens are becoming accustomed to them and are beginning to enjoy the benefits they offer. Other countries have opted for simpler solutions based on userid and password, sometimes complemented with other identification mechanisms.
The objective of the project is not to replace any existing national infrastructure, but rather to take what is already available and to connect all the various authentication methods with transparency, in such a way that any of these methods will allow users to present their certified personal data to foreign administrations.
Quality of the Identifier
The project is aware that authentication schemes based on userid and password are weaker then eIDs stored in fully compliant hardware crypto-tokens. Furthermore the eID issuing procedure can be heavier or lighter, which also affects the quality of the identifier.
These two factors have been fully analysed by the STORK project, and divided into 7 elementary factors that form the basis of classification of the foreign identifiers. Service providers can require users to authenticate with any of these 4 levels of the authentication scheme.
STORK and the EU
STORK is an EU co-funded project under the ICT Policy Support Programme of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). The CIP aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises. Part of CIP, the ICT Policy Support Programme, focuses on stimulating innovation and competitiveness through the wider uptake and optimal use of ICT by citizens, businesses and governments.
Most European countries have official policies on electronic identity (eID); however few countries have interoperable eID solutions in their services.
The timing and objectives of STORK are ideal for producing high impact and contributing to the proposed objectives of the Lisbon Ministerial Declaration (2007), i.e. interoperability among Member States and reduction of administrative bureaucracy. The i2010 eGovernment Action Plan recognizes the importance of electronic identification management. Member States aim by 2010 to provide secure and convenient electronic systems for citizens and businesses to access public services in any country of the European Union - at all relevant administrative levels and in line with data protection and privacy regulations.
Hence, the objectives of STORK form part of the European Commission's i2010 eGovernment Action Plan for eID solutions as key enablers for secure access to modern public services. The results of the project will address calls from the 2005 Manchester Ministerial eGovernment Conference (Transforming Public Services). STORK will also highlight the concerns ("Reaping the benefits") presented in the report from the 2007 Lisbon i2010 subgroup on eGovernment. Furthermore, the project is in line with the requirements of several other harmonization initiatives in Health, eCommerce and inter-regional cooperation (INTERREG for cross-border migrant workers).
The STORK project includes 14 EU Member States and Associated Countries; with a total of 29 consortium partners. The project is currently undergoing an enlargement through which an additional number of Member States will join the consortium. The consortium is a mix of public and private sector organisations. For a full listing of the STORK partners, see here.