SIDN and Privacy by Design join forces for privacy-friendly electronic identities based on IRMA
On 25 September, Privacy by Design and SIDN signed a cooperation agreement. As announced in late 2018, the foundation behind the IRMA identity platform and the operator of the .nl domain will now be working together to energise IRMA's adoption. Since August, SIDN has been providing IRMA's infrastructural backbone, assuring the continuity and availability that the technology needs.
IRMA protects your privacy
IRMA, whose name stands for 'I Reveal My Attributes', offers a privacy-friendly way of logging in with organisations such as health insurers and local authorities. The system is privacy-friendly because the user reveals only as much personal information ('attributes') as strictly necessary, controlling the process with the IRMA phone app. The information shared might include the fact that the user is over eighteen, or holds a particular bank account, for example. The IRMA app can also be used to attach digital signatures to contracts and the like, with the user again identifying themselves using selected personal attributes. Therefore no information is shared unnecessarily and the user keeps full control of their personal data.
Bart Jacobs, Professor of Computer Security at Radboud University and chair of the Privacy by Design Foundation
Strategically important partnership
Bart Jacobs, Professor of Computer Security at Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen and Chair of the Privacy by Design Foundation: "The structural and operational partnership with SIDN is strategically important. Although IRMA attributes are stored on the user's phone, rather than on a server, the IRMA platform does have a modest central backbone that is used for registering new users and protecting cryptographic keys. Since August 2019, that backbone has been operated by SIDN, assuring high levels of reliability, availability and continuity. IRMA is now 'powered by' SIDN!"
Roelof Meijer, CEO SIDN
Happy to contribute
"At SIDN, we're committed to boosting the value of the internet for the Netherlands," says Roelof Meijer, CEO of SIDN. "First and foremost, that means building a secure and trustworthy .nl domain. But we additionally want to make the internet easier and safer to use. Internet users are constantly being asked to provide privacy-sensitive information, and they often give more detail than really necessary. That needs to change. And it can change, with solutions like IRMA. IRMA is a strong concept, with a sound technical basis. There's a lot of market interest in the idea, but initially people tended to be sceptical about continuity and stability. That's why SIDN and Privacy by Design have teamed up: our respective strengths are mutually complementary. I'm really pleased that, through this partnership, we're able to contribute to this innovative technology."
Roelof Meijer and Bart Jacobs present plate with new IRMA logo, 'powered by SIDN'.
Plans for the future
"Now that SIDN has taken on responsibility for the IRMA backbone, we at Privacy by Design can concentrate on further development of the IRMA app. We want to add features and make it even more user-friendly," says Bart Jacobs. Roelof Meijer adds, "The next step is to increase adoption and use of the IRMA technology. Both by extending IRMA to include more attributes, and by encouraging businesses to make their services accessible using IRMA. We're currently talking to various parties about embracing the technology."
Roelof Meijer and Bart Jacobs shake hands after the signing of the cooperation agreement between SIDN and Privacy by Design within the framework of IRMA.