LIGHTest – Building Global Trust

On the 1st of September, “LIGHTest”, an EU funded project was launched with the goal of establishing a global, cross-domain trust infrastructure. Scheduled to run for three years, LIGHTest aims to provide a simple and transparent way of verifying electronic transactions.

The aim of the project is to develop a global trust infrastructure to facilitate the increasing number of transactions are conducted virtually over the Internet. The idea is to develop a solution that allows people to distinguish legitimate identities from frauds and therefore reduce losses and bring greater efficiency to electronic transactions across a wide application field, ranging from simple verification of electronic signatures, over eProcurement, eJustice, eHealth, and law enforcement, up to the verification of trust in sensors and devices in the Internet of Things.

On a global scale, the old means of securing transactions (knowing the other participant) no longer functions. One solution is that have assistance from authorities to certify trustworthy electronic identities. This has already been done. For example, the EC and Member States have legally binding electronic signatures. But how can we query such authorities in a secure manner? With the current lack of a worldwide standard for publishing and querying trust information, this would be a prohibitively complex leading to verifiers having to deal with a high number of formats and protocols.

This is all a question of trust. The LIGHTest project attempts to solve this problem by building a global trust infrastructure where different authorities can publish their trust information. Setting up a global infrastructure is an ambitious objective given existing infrastructure, organisation, governance and security standards of the Internet Domain Name System, it is with confidence that this is possible.

The EC and Member States can use this to publish lists of qualified trust services, as business registrars and authorities can in health, law enforcement and justice. In the private sector, this can be used to establish trust in inter-banking, international trade, shipping, business reputation and credit rating. Companies, administrations, and citizens can then use LIGHTest open source software to easily query this trust information to verify trust in simple signed documents or multi-faceted complex transactions.

More information about the project is available, here.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Fraunhofer IAO.

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