Introducing eRecognition

eRecognition (in Dutch 'eHerkenning') enables businesses to arrange their affairs with government bodies electronically by maximising public-private cooperation. A unique characteristic of eRecognition is that accredited private sector providers, like iWelcome, issue proven e-identity, authentication and authorisation solutions to businesses and government authorities. 

 

Formerly, government organisations used a variety of parallel authentication and authorisation solutions, resulting in multiple digital keys and causing poor user experience. The consequential weak user adoption stunted the growth of eBusiness and eGovernment. eRecognition has turned this 'vicious circle' into a 'virtuous circle': each business can acquire a single e-identity (EID) token, or reuse existing authentication means (like bank passes and tokens) that can be used for all government services. Thus, the set of digital keys for each service is replaced with one digital 'master key'. This will accelerate adoption, since user habits are formed by reusing the same authentication mechanism for various online services. Within the eRecognition framework iWelcome offers the iWelcome eRecognition Identity Broker.

Context of eRecognition

eRecognition is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, which has commissioned experts and private suppliers, to develop a robust network solution for authentication and authorisation issues, by reusing tried and tested tokens and tools. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation initiated eRecognition in order to enhance administrative efficiency and stimulate reduction of administrative burdens for businesses.


eRecognition is one of the nineteen building blocks of the Dutch National Implementation Programme (NUP), a joint priorities programme of municipal and provincial authorities, regional water boards and central government. This programme sets out to provide excellent (e-)services to business and citizens, one of the primary goals of the Netherlands administration. To achieve this goal, e-government services need to be accessible and reliable.


Therefore, the ministry has invited commercial experts to become involved in the development of a robust e-solution for authentication and authorisation, and to reuse e-identification tokens and tools that have proven their worth in the commercial market. A considerable number of commercial parties have shown their interest by responding and participating, including major banks, telco's, software developers and e-identity experts.


Subsequently, an initial group of ten public sector organisations, under which Everett | iWelcome, under the direction of the ministry, has formed the eRecognition network. Other parties are now invited to participate in the network once they are accredited to offer eRecognition services.


Governance is currently supervised by the ministry and a provisional management organisation is installed.


With the Internet playing an ever increasing role in conducting business (whether or not in the public or commercial domain), the means to sufficiently identify oneself is a prerequisite for the further development of e-business and e-government. The e-identity scheme offered by eRecognition is a major step towards fulfilling this goal.


Currently, the use of eRecognition in the Netherlands focuses on business-to-government. Eversince eRecognition was launched in May 2010, an increasing number of Dutch government organisations have become convinced of its benefits. The number of businesses using eRecognition is increasing as well. By February 2011, transactions with eRecognition amounted to thousands per month.

The Working of eRecognition

In creating eRecognition, eAuthentication is redefined into a service model with its own business case, making it attractive for private EID providers to co-develop and exploit eIdentification. Accredited EID providers work together within the governance organisation. 


They may assume one or more of the four roles that are at heart of the eRecognition network:


  1. Issuer of eIdentification tokens.
  2. Authentication service provider.
  3. Mandate register.
  4. eRecognition Identity broker.

iWelcome offers an eRecognition Identity Broker to governments in the Netherlands.


Both the public sector and businesses can choose which provider they want to call in for their eRecognition needs. Thus, the EID providers cooperate and compete at the same time, stimulating continuous development and quality.


When a legal (or designated) representative of a business logs on to the website of a government organisation he (or she) uses the EID token (e.g. user name/password, texting, bank card, phone, one time password (OPT), or public key certificate) issued by the EID service provider of his (or her) choice. 


Behind the scenes, authentication and authorisation at the relevant assurance level are carried out according to the policies set by the eRecognition governance organisation: an accredited eRecognition broker with access to an authentication service and an authorisation register identifies the person who logs on, the company he represents and checks his authorisation. 


After successful log on, the representative can submit his application and the government organisation can be sure it is genuine. Depending on the type of government service, eRecognition supports four assurance levels, which are based on the STORK classification. Other international standards like SAML are used for the secure messaging.  


This has resulted in the response and interest from a vast amount of commercial parties, including the most important banks, telco's, software developers, and electronic identity experts. Under the guidance of the Ministry, an initial group of ten private sector organisations has now formed the eRecognition Core Team: iWelcome | Everett is one of these organizations.

More information on eRecognition

For more information on eRecognition, please visit the eHerkenning home page (in Dutch): www.eherkenning.nl.

The iWelcome eRecognition Broker

The iWelcome eRecognition Broker routes any request seamless and secure within the eRecognition Network. The broker is connected to three other services in the network: Authentication Services, Mandate Registers and Signing Services. 


Besides the standard functionality the iWelcome eRecognition Broker also offers the option to realize single sign-on to the required services and service to service connectivity.


By using the iWelcome eRecognition Broker, government bodies are connected to the eRecognition Network, thus enabling businesses to easily use services that are digitally available. Ease of use is achieved through the option of reusing existing tokens, anytime of day access, and one-token-all service connectivity.  The only requirement for a business is to sign up with a Mandate Register and Authentication Service Provider.


The iWelcome eRecognition Broker is certified by the Dutch Ministry of Economy, Agriculture and Innovation. 

As-a-Service


The iWelcome eRecognition broker is offered 'as-a-service'.  This service is located on separated computersystems in two datacenters in the Netherlands.  Disaster Recovery is quaranteed and critical data is realtime replicated in the physically separate locations. The broker comes with integration software for your 'e-loket', a test environment, uptime guarantees and 24 x 7 x 52 support.


Subscription and pricing


The iWelcome eRecognition Broker is offered on a subscription basis, with a minimal one time set-up charge. iWelcome offers various subscription options, tuned to the size of the government organization or the expected usage of the broker.  Contact iWelcome for an offer that fits your needs: eherkenning@iwelcome.nl

Current Users of the iWelcome iDentity Broker

Today the following Dutch Government Authorities have chosen the iWelcome eRecognition Identity Broker to connect to the eRecognition Network:


  1. Tax Department - ultimately the largest Government Authority using eRecognition.
  2. Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation - Agenschap.NL and 'Dienst Regelingen'.
  3. Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - 'Omgevingsloket Online'.
  4. Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - 'Landelijk Asbest Volgsysteem'
  5. Inter Province Organisation (IPO) - representing the 12 Dutch Provinces.
  6. Community of Tilburg - Business Desk
  7. Community of Rijssen-Holten - Business Desk
  8. Ministry of Education, Culture & Science - Agency for Cultural Heritage
  9. Province of Zeeland
  10. Community of Amersfoort
  11. Community of Geldrop
  12. Inspectieview
  13. Community of Lisse