The Alexandra Institute // Cases // ABC4Trust - digital privacy-enhancing solutions

ABC4Trust - digital privacy-enhancing solutions


ABC4Trust - digital privacy-enhancing solutions

Secure authentication and privacy protection

Research initiative develops new methods to better protect people's privacy and identity on the Internet

ABC4Trust is an EU-funded research initiative that uses cryptographic technologies to provide better protection of privacy and identity on the Internet.

Everyday citizens access thousands of different Internet services, such as online banking, e-shopping, and social networks. For virtually every service, users have to create a personal user profile and get access to the service after a login via username and password. This means that the user is linked to the transaction, which is undesirable. Disclosing more information than necessary not only harms users’ privacy but also increases the risk of identity.

The ABC4Trust solution minimises the amount of information users are required to disclose and thus provides better security and quality for users.

Read more about the project's delivererables and results at

The ABC4Trust project has two research objectives:  

  • to define a common, unified architecture for ABC systems to allow comparing their respective features and combining them on common platforms, and  
  • to deliver open reference implementations of selected ABC systems and deploy them in actual production pilots. This will allow provably accredited members of restricted communities to provide anonymous feedback on their community or its members. 

The contribution of the Alexandra Institute includes an analysis of how the different cryptographic building blocks can be combined, a comparison of the specific offerings from IBM and Microsoft, and development of a common open architecture for ABC solutions.  

Read more about the project's delivererables and results at

The ABC system will make use of the two privacy-respecting technologies, IBM’s Identity Mixer and Microsoft’s U-Prove. Both use sophisticated, yet efficient, cryptographic algorithms to help ensure that an individual’s real identity, including personal attributes and behaviour profiles, are never exposed to a service provider without the individual’s consent. 

The technologies are suitable for a wide range of applications, including insurance, healthcare services, online shops or credit cards. The technologies and its inventors have received several awards; in particular, they jointly received the Best Innovation European Identity Award 2010.  

With ABC4Trust, Identity Mixer and U-Prove will be truly interoperable with the help of Nokia Siemens Networks’ IDM Solution being the party that integrates with both.

Pilot sites
Patras University in Greece and Norrtullskolan secondary school in Söderhamn, Sweden, are selected as pilot sites for testing privacy-enabling technology to be used for school portals and electronic evaluation of university courses.  

In both pilots ABC4Trust will allow each education facility to issue credentials to its users, including pupils, parents and students, enabling them to, prove that they have attended a certain class, are members of a specific group such as a sports team, or have a given sex or age.

At the Patras pilot, the university will be able to run its own computerised feedback system and students can take comfort in knowing that ABC4Trust is protecting their identity.

As electronic personal identification cards and electronic driving licenses are becoming more widespread for identification, authentication, and payment in a broad range of applications, the users’ privacy will become an even greater challenge.

Privacy technologies, such as the ones piloted in ABC4Trust, will be necessary for building sustainable privacy solutions into these systems.  

With ABC4Trust, communication service providers will be in a very good position to offer a better customer experience by providing advanced user-centred Identity Management (IdM) functionality.

Read more about the project's delivererables and results at

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