HTW Dresden: ID-Ideal research project – Digital ID needs suitability for everyday use and a wide range of applications

March 19, 2024. As part of the ID-Ideal project, researchers at HTW Dresden are developing solutions for the specific problems of business, trade and industry that arise when using digital identities and proofs of identity in the real world. The results of the project were presented at the 2nd authenticon event. Every person has an average of 70 digital identities: from bank accounts and library cards to public transport cards. As digitalization progresses, the question of how the authenticity of such identities can be proven online and how trust can be established is becoming increasingly important. This applies not only to people, but also to objects and organizations. The ID-Ideal research project at HTW Dresden has been testing ID technologies in various use cases for three years. In addition to the social passport and the digital citizens’ petition in Dresden, these include tickets for public transport, digital product passports and CO2 certificates for electricity generated from renewable sources.

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ID-Ideal Wallet with digital proof of identity. Photo: HTWD





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Bringing digital IDs into people’s everyday lives

“The mere existence of technology does not solve a problem,” explains the head of the ID-Ideal research project, Dr. Jürgen Anke, Professor of Software Technology and Information Systems at HTW Dresden. “It depends on how I make this technology available and accessible so that it finds its way into people’s everyday lives. Factors such as accompanying communication and the development of skills as well as transparency and control over the data determine the success of digital identities. This goes far beyond technical issues.”

Municipalities face the particular challenge that the digital services they provide should be accessible and usable for all citizens. Several use cases are currently being tested at ID-Ideal, including digital registration at Leipzig Library and Leipzig Adult Education Center via the Leipzig App. Until now, these proofs of identity have been managed in different apps or as plastic cards. In ID-Ideal, however, digital wallets are used. These allow the storage and presentation of various forms of proof in a standardized way. Special requirements must be observed for the different use cases. For example, public transport tickets must be verifiable and the Dresden Pass should be able to be used as a social instrument free of stigmatization.

However, the digital identities and characteristics of individuals are not sufficient for use in the digital world. Identities for organizations and objects are also required in order to securely identify authorities and stores and make the properties of products verifiable. Last but not least, the relationships between people, organizations and objects must also be documented in the form of digital evidence. This is necessary, for example, when registering children at daycare centers or when managing directors of companies apply for funding.

Achieving better acceptance of digital IDs

An important result of the research project is that for these applications to work and be accepted in society, they need to become part of people’s everyday lives. “The digital wallet must be used just as naturally as a web browser or messenger apps. For this to work, it needs regularity and routine. So there have to be enough situations to use the technology,” explains Prof. Jürgen Anke. “Our research is not about storing an ID card on your cell phone, but about how you move around in the digital world.”

That’s why testing in practice is crucial, as it provides new insights into the interactions between people and technology when used in a real-life scenario. Social questions also arise: How much responsibility for their data can a person be expected to take? How much knowledge about the digital world (digital literacy) do citizens have? To what extent does legislation prevent the sensible use of digital identities?

The ID-Ideal project is in contact with representatives of federal ministries to discuss these issues. Furthermore, the TrustNet initiative developed as a result of the project aims to impart knowledge about the use of digital wallets on a broad scale.

The ID-Ideal research project has been extended until October 31, 2024 within the already approved budget of 14 million euros.

SIGNAL junior research group and authenticon conference

The SIGNAL junior research group was founded in parallel to the ongoing ID-Ideal project. It is funded by the European Social Fund and aims to qualify young scientists to advance the digital transformation in Saxony. The focus is on the human-centered design of digital services for public services in urban and rural areas.

In order to improve the professional exchange on the complex and socially relevant topic of digital identities, the authenticon conference series was launched as part of the ID-Ideal project. Over 70 representatives from science, business, administration and politics took part in this year’s event on March 6 and 7 at the HTW Dresden. Under the motto “Digital evidence: From Idea to Innovation”, current topics such as user experience, regulation and procedures for data minimization were discussed in numerous lectures and workshops.

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Further links

👉 ID-Ideal

Photo: HTWD

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