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European Union launches R&D Network of Excellence on the Future of Identity in the Information Society

FIDIS - Future of Identity in the Information Society', a five year project conducted within the EU Sixth Framework Programme, aims to research the changes that the concept of identity is undergoing in the developing European Information Society (EIS) and to find solutions and approaches for smooth integration. A networking session, involving Dr James Backhouse from the Department of Information Systems at LSE, was held on Monday 15 November at the EU IST 2004 conference (Den Hague, 15-17 Nov).

As the European Information Society develops, the increasingly digital representation of personal characteristics is changing our ways of identifying individuals. Supplementary digital identities, so-called virtual identities, embodying concepts such as pseudonymity and anonymity, are being created for security, profit, convenience or even for fun. These new identities are feeding back into the world of social and business affairs, offering a mix of plural identities and challenging traditional notions of identity. Just as in the scientific world different disciplines have different understandings of the term 'identity', so European states manage identities in very different ways. For example, in Germany holding an ID card is mandatory for every adult, while in the UK state-issued ID cards do not exist and plans for their introduction arouse intense controversy.

To address these and related issues and to promote the integration of the European Research Area, FIDIS has been launched as a multidisciplinary consortium of 24 partners, including LSE,  from all over Europe with the Goethe University, Frankfurt, as project co-ordinator. 

FIDIS has structured its work into a number of separate topic areas, each coordinated by a leading partner institution and individual:

  • Identity of Identity: INSEAD (France): Thierry Nabeth
  • Profiling: Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium): Mireille Hildebrandt, Serge Gutwirth
  • Interoperability of IDs and ID management systems: London School of Economics and Political Science (UK): Dr James Backhouse
  • Forensic Implications: Netherlands Forensic Institute, Ministry of Justice (NL): Zeno Geradts
  • Identity fraud, Anonymity, and Privacy: Tilburg University (NL): Bert-Jaap Koops
  • The HighTechID: Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz (D): Marit Hansen
  • Mobility and Identity: Goethe University Frankfurt (D): Kai Rannenberg, Denis Royer

FIDIS research is already benefiting from the breadth and depth of knowledge of its 24 partners in the NoE, and from cooperation with PRIME, another FP6 project on identity which the European Commission is also promoting

FIDIS partners are also participating in industry and standardisation groups like the World Wide Web Consortium, OASIS, Liberty Alliance, ISO/IEC JTC 1, and IETF.

FIDIS at IST 2004 in The Hague

FIDIS held a networking session at IST 2004, the largest IT related conference in Europe, FIDIS will organize a networking session entitled The identities of identity" - an interdisciplinary and international challenge. This session will be a round table with short presentations to:

1. Introduce FIDIS, the Network of Excellence 'Future of Identity in the Information Society' (Kai Rannenberg, Goethe University Frankfurt, FIDIS coordinator)

2. Illustrate how direct technological links bring our understanding of an 'individual' human's identity into question and challenge present concepts of Identity (Kevin Warwick, Reading University)

3. Present an overview of definitions of identity from a multidisciplinary perspective, spanning the many dimensions of identity (technical, social, organizational, legal, etc.). A brief series of cases will help to understand the issues and the articulation between these different dimensions. (Thierry Nabeth, INSEAD, Coordinator FIDIS WP 2: 'Taxonomy of Identity, Anonymity and Pseudonymity'.)

4. Present an overview of identity management systems and their main characteristics and use (Henry Krasemann, ICPP Schleswig-Holstein, Coordinator FIDIS WP3: 'HighTechID').

5. Aim at discussing these views and descriptions and collect more from the audience

The objective of the session is to establish and intensify contacts with related projects and with other interested parties, especially from those EU member states not yet covered by the NoE. To this end, the session will offer insight into the different meanings of identity in use in different scientific disciplines and into the different ways identity is being handled in different Identity Management Systems and applications. The aim is to generate a discussion of the concepts and encourage input from the audience.

Ends

Contact: FIDIS, email: fidiscoord@fidis.net|  

Notes:

A complete list of all 24 FIDIS partners can be found under www.fidis.net|

17 November 2004

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