Security, privacy and easy-to-use will be the central concept of IMPULSE. Coordinated by Gradiant, this European project kicks off this month. A team of 16 entities from 9 different countries will use Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to improve online identification processes.
Gradiant leads a project to develop a technology capable of verifying the identity of citizens in the online processes of public services in a secure, easy-to-use and private way. To do so, the alliance will work on the concept of Electronic Identity (eID) – the way users can identify themselves (and be identified) through the network – and its implications in multiple contexts – through the use of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technologies. This is IMPULSE (Identity Management in PUbLic SErvices), an initiative with a budget of around 4 million euros and involving 16 entities from 9 different countries.
Digital processes are increasingly used by citizens. The current health crisis around the world has limited personal interactions, digitising all kinds of procedures. This brings a number of problems, not only for those unfamiliar with the complex identification systems on the internet, but also for those who are not comfortable providing their personal data over the internet. Beyond its functionalities, IMPULSE seeks to be a tool to make easier the digitisation of the European public sector as a result of a comprehensive assessment on how the use of disruptive technologies may impact society from technical, socio-economic, legal, ethical, policy and standardisation standpoints.
The 16 partners that make up this multidisciplinary consortium will create a tool to meet all the ethical, legal and social requirements so it can be useful for public services in all the countries of the European Union, regardless of their culture and degree of digitisation. IMPULSE will become the clear representation of an efficient, useful and responsible modernisation. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain will offer a technology advantage over the most common systems today. This was confirmed earlier this week at the project kick off meeting. At the event, all partners were very optimistic about the results that the initiative will offer and the pace of work that is expected to be maintained throughout the 3-year project thanks to the experience and expertise of those involved.
The consortium, made up of partners from Spain, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Iceland, France and Denmark, is funded by the European Union with €4 million under the Horizon 2020 programme.
“The digitisation of public administration services is one of the seven flagship initiatives identified in the NextGen Europe programme, which gives an idea of the strategic dimension of IMPULSE. In this context, the project was born with a clear objective of facilitating the access of citizens to these services but without giving up the maximum guarantees of security, something essential if we want to move towards a fully digitised and inclusive society”, explains Luis Pérez Freire, the Spanish RTO leading the IMPULSE project.
AI and blockchain for electronic identification processes
In a world where it is increasingly common to carry out all kinds of processes online, avoiding fraud and deception is only possible with first-class technology. Funded under the call Transformative impact of disruptive technologies in public services (DT- TRANSFORMATIONS-02-2018-2019-2020), IMPULSE will develop a system to respond to the needs of citizens and public servants and administrations in digital processes.
IMPULSE’s innovation focuses on combining two of the most promising technologies available today, such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain networks, with the aim of improving the management of digital identity and electronic identification in the public sector. Today we have technology with potential to overcome these challenges so its application in the field of digital identity will substantially improve the existing electronic identification systems at the time legal, privacy or social issues requiring further analysis may raise.
Most citizens have an electronic identity card to carry out the authentication processes with the online services offered by the administration; however, its use is cumbersome due in large part to the lack of user-friendly interfaces for the common citizen. To overcome this adversity, IMPULSE will incorporate advanced face biometrics and document validation techniques based on AI to facilitate identification processes and provide the user with a digital onboarding experience that is fully transparent.
In addition, blockchain technology and the use of smart contracts will allow adding trustworthiness in the process, providing mechanisms for users to demonstrate their identity without the need to disclose their personal data to third parties, a priori, not reliable. In this way the citizen will maintain total control of their data and will be able to verify at all times the use that is being given to them.
16 high-profile partners
To this end, IMPULSE has EUR 4 million in funding from the European Union through the Horizon2020 programme. In addition, in this project Gradiant works with up to 15 top-level partners: Lappeenrannan-Lahden Teknillinen Yliopisto (Finland); Agency for European Integration and Economic Development (Austria); Association du Pole de Competitivite Transactions Electroniques Securisees – DIH (France); Aarhus Municipality (Denmark); Departamento de seguridad del Gobierno Vasco (Spain); Gijón City Council (Spain); Municipality of Peshtera (Bulgaria); City of Reykjavik, Department of Services and Operations (Iceland); Unione italiana delle Camere di commercio, industria, artigianato e agricoltura (Italy); CyberEthics Lab Srls (Italy); ALiCE Biometrics (Spain); Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Germany); Tree Technology SA (Spain); Infocert S.p.A. (Italy); y DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung e. V. (Germany).