Science and technology

A team of 16 entities from 9 different countries will use Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to improve online identification processes. Security,  trust, and inclusion will be the central concepts of IMPULSE.

The IMPULSE (Identity Management in PUbLic SErvices) project was created 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. IMPULSE is an initiative with a budget of around 4 million euros from the Horizon 2020 programme and involving 16 entities from 9 different countries. The project is led by the Spanish research and technology organization Gradiant.

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. The multidisciplinary consortium will test an integrated software solution to meet the ethical, legal and social requirements for public services in different countries of the European Union, regardless of their culture and degree of digitisation.

The main role of LUT University is coordinating the Work Package 2 "Co-creative design and piloting". The project manager at LUT, Junior Researcher José Camposano, is happy about LUT receiving the Horizon funding and to get this interesting, but also challenging, work package.

"Our work package aims at guiding the design of the IMPULSE solution and ensuring the scalability of the piloting activities across six different locations around the EU. This is a challenging endeavor, not only because each pilot location faces a different social, cultural, and economic reality, but also because the COVID-19 pandemic severely restricts our opportunities to directly interact and engage with end-users", Camposano says.

AI and blockchain for electronic identification processes

IMPULSE's innovation focuses on combining two of the most promising technologies available today, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain networks, with the aim of improving the management of digital identity and electronic identification in the public sector. The Software Engineering team at LUT will research how these technologies can address the legal, privacy or social issues in the field of digital identity.

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.

"We will have to be very creative to design a participatory experimentation methodology that can be replicated in different contexts. We will also need to identify how to integrate existing technologies like blockchain or AI/ML into an electronic identity solution, which can be adapted to the needs of less tech-savvy segments of the population", José Camposano from LUT says.

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. In this way, the citizen will maintain total control of their data and will be able to verify the use that is being given to them.

José Camposano sums up that all the partners are very optimistic about the project's results.

Source: LUT University