ID4me is proud to announce that we won the Technology Innovator Award in the category “Best Privacy-Friendly Identity Management Services”
We gave Corporate Vision the initiator of the award an interview:
ID4me focuses on providing end-users with open and internationally available identity services that adhere to security and data protection standards, that foster user choice and that avoid identity lock-ins. We find out more about the organisation and its plans for the future.
ID4me is a not-for-profit organisation with a federated approach. It consists of an open group of Internet service providers, software developers, and other entities that care about the future of the Internet and want to defend its distributed and federated architecture when it comes to digital identities.
Founded in 2018 in Brussels, ID4me’s protocol was designed to allow the federated login and distribution of personal information across the Internet. It was born as a response to the growing centralization of everyday logins and identities into the hands of a few big Internet platforms and of their social media offerings, and it has the decentralization and distribution of identity services, including self-hosted identities, as its core objective.
Created with the aim of providing open, self-sovereign digital identity standards providing freedom of choice and ease of use to the users, ID4me’s mission is to provide and distribute an open protocol to every digital identity provider to enable the interoperability of independent, heterogeneous systems.
“All systems work together seamlessly in order to exchange data in an efficient, secure and usable manner and with no additional effort for the user,” explains Katja Speck, the organisation’s Managing Director.
The organisation’s internal culture reflects its mission as being an open, diverse, international federated organisation which doesn’t just care about the future of the Internet but also about its team members. To use the ID4me protocol, neither individuals nor organisations have to become a member, the protocol is open source available via its website.
Working in such a competitive market, it is imperative that ID4me differentiates itself from others operating within the same space. It does this through several factors:
TRANSPARENCY: ID4me AISBL is a non-profit organisation that maintains and develops a standard. Since it does not sell a product, there is no reason to make money with the data of the end users. The members of the organisation stand for an open Internet that builds and supports an association of identity providers and is committed to an open, transparent and binding framework of guidelines for the ID4me standard.
PRIVACY: by enabling users to decide who to grant access to their personal information, and revoke access if necessary.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE: with portability of a user’s identity between ID4me identity providers.
INTEROPERABILITY: ID4me does not compete with other digital identity providers or technologies. On the contrary, each of these providers and technologies should be “delegable” via ID4me with little effort, i.e. every provider can use ID4me to provide their users with a broader use of their identity.
“We are working within a fast paced technology industry but with our initiative, we are trying to solve a problem for the next decades,” emphasises Katja. “That’s why we are not focusing on pace but instead on sustainability. ID4me builds on existing established standards: OpenID, OAuth and the DNS – that has proven to be scalable globally.”
Regarding the future, ID4me has big plans and Katja explains more. “In recent years, another paradigm has been proposed to reach similar objectives as we have: Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI). The concept is broad and not univocally defined, but the basic idea is that end-users would create, store and manage their identities directly. We acknowledge and share the objectives of the SSI concept, and we want to make ID4me fit for use in SSI applications. At the same time, we think that, for the average Internet user, a “pure SSI” identity service may be hard to handle; acquiring an identity from an ID4me service provider would be more user-friendly and effective in terms of customer support, security practices, regulatory compliance, recovery of lost credentials and other non-technical issues.”
This is why in 2021 ID4me is starting to make its identities usable within an SSI framework to promote the mass adoption of SSI-compatible online identities, by giving Internet users the best of both the SSI and the OIDC worlds.