Digital Living & Identity

Direct links to on-going projects in this IS Policy Area
eID Survey | SEA-SoNS | Search | CHORUS+

The digitisation of the life and mainly of an individual´s identity

With citizens becoming active participants in the European Knowledge society and thus being able to consume and produce digital content, the market for content needs to become open to innovation and new actors. Digital identity is a vital ingredient of this digital content market and there is a clear need for technically efficient, fail-safe and interoperable solutions. In addition, new challenges for identity, such as the one foreseen by a wider adoption of Ambient Intelligence, may require a regulatory framework for identity as a means of ensuring participation to tomorrow´s Digital Life.

Several types of technologies such as Identity-related technologies, location-based technologies, profiling technologies but also search engine technologies influence the way we live, work and behave. Identity-related technologies enable new ways of defining and expressing identity. RFID technologies are technologies that may be used to identify objects and thus help create the "Internet of Things". Search engines can be considered as an input door for digital content and imply an new emerging market; like a window of opportunity provided by the mutation of textual contents to audiovisual contents and the emergence of new search technologies. So, we are faced with an ever-evolving variety of technologies that promise to solve problems in the field of digital living. Each product, each technique promises to make life easier for us.

However, emerging technologies bring also new threats and challenges.


Digital Living topic will address the following challenging issues in order to discuss the possibilities of different technologies:

  • Will the younger generation, the generation that grew up with digital devices and services, accept more risk and/or trust in their interaction with service providers, and what will the implications on the current identity framework of that be?
  • Will bridging technologies between the digital and the virtual world, a prime example of which is emerging RFID technologies, if appropriately implemented help materialise the vision of the European Information Society?
  • Will new search engines for locating and retrieving relevant audio-visual information be developed and marketed as a result of the increasing creation, use and availability of audio-visual content in the digital era?
  • Will new human-machine interfaces be developed and marketed to facilitate access to new forms of services and what might the implications of their wide-spread deployment be?

Main client: DG INFSO: regulatory framework of the IS and the ICT sector.
Head of Area: Ioannis Maghiros


This topic aims at identifying, as early as possible, technological trends, including their related business/social drivers and their foreseen challenges, which determine the evolution of the European Information Society.

So, the objectives are to study emerging technologies, their impacts on society and a suitable balance between security and privacy as a means of establishing and maintaining citizen and consumer confidence (trust and adoption) in electronic communications and in their services, applications, transactions and interactions. In this setting, identity management and protection of the citizens’ personal data is required and will create new challenges that will be studied and from which the relevant policy messages will be drawn.

Policy relevance

The i2010 policy framework has 3 main pillars which specify the overall short to mid term goals (2010 and beyond) of the European Commission in realising the Information Society. Each of the pillars calls for specific techno-economic research which the JRC, building on its competences acquired under FP6, will further address under FP7.

The area of emerging technological challenges and their impacts the EC needs research to support:

  • 'Convergence of networks and content and their impact on the European socio-economic
  • The protection but also pro-active adoption of privacy and identity in the IS.

The specific research needs of the most relevant DG´s (DG INFSO, DG ENTR, Member States) are :

  • Promotion of Digital Citizenship in the Information Society
  • Support the large-scale deployment of new identity-technologies (RFID)
  • Analysis of the implications of audio-visual search engine proliferation.


TEFIS team will support DG INFSO on realising a balance between on the one hand fostering economic growth and innovation and on the other promoting safeguards for matters of public interest and citizen concern, in particular for building public (citizen + consumer) confidence. TEFIS team will be involved in research of the evolving concept of identity today and in the future and how this will affect the way individuals, public and private organisations and regional, national and global entities define, implement and manage it. TEFIS team, in partnership with DG INFSO, will research policy options which can lead towards defining a "Digital Rights" Charter which will aim to ensure that consumers/citizens and service providers alike benefit from the European Information Society. TEFIS team has built up a capability in this area, and is maintaining its expertise and gaining visibility among the best experts in the field including through its participation in FP6/FP7 competitive action (FP6 funded NoE FIDIS and CA CHORUS).

Related Projects/Studies:

Ongoing Projects

  • CHORUS+: Coordinated approacH to the EurOpean effoRt on aUdiovsual Search engines
    CHORUS+ is a Coordination Action which objectives are to coordinate national and international projects and initiatives in the search-engine domain and to extend this Coordination to non-European countries. CHORUS+ is a continuation project of CHORUS. More...

Completed Projects

  • CHORUS: Coordinated approacH to the EurOpean effoRt on aUdiovsual Search engines
    CHORUS is a Coordination Action which aims at creating the conditions of mutual information and cross fertilisation between the projects that will run under Strategic objective 2.6.3 (Advanced search technologies for digital audio-visual content) and beyond the IST initiative. More ...

  • eID Barriers: Study on technical, organisational and legal barriers to the integration of the EU digital identity sector
    The objective of the study to be provided under this service contract is to report on technical, organisational and legal barriers to the EU-wide deployment of digital identification technologies, detailing the issues at stake for Europe. More ...

  • Biometrics:
    TEFIS team was involved in various activities related to biometrics based on the work done in 2004 and 2005 in order to assess the impact of biometrics on Society. Current related work is:
    • a study on Biometric Deployment
    • a specific study on Security and Privacy in Biometric systems
    More ...
  • FIDIS: Future IDentity of Information Society [Network of Excellence]
    The European Information Society (EIS) requires technologies which address trust and security yet also preserve the privacy of individuals. As the EIS develops, the increasingly digital representation of personal characteristics changes our ways of identifying individuals, and supplementary digital identities, so-called virtual identities, embodying concepts such as pseudonymity and anonymity, are being created for security, profit, convenience or even for fun. These new identities are feeding back into the world of social and business affairs, offering a mix of plural identities and challenging traditional notions of identity. FIDIS objectives are shaping the requirements for the future management of identity in the EIS and contributing to the technologies and infrastructures needed. More ...
  • Study on RFID Technologies: Emerging Issues, Challenges and Policy Options
    The objective of this project is to inform the policy process within the European Union on the socio-economic and technological developments taking place with respect to RFID, analysing prospects and barriers to RFID technologies, and the broader technological, economic, social and legal challenges, to come to a well-founded set of research and policy recommendations. More ...

  • SWAMI: Safeguards in the World of Ambient Intelligence
    This project aimed at identifying and analysing the social, economic, legal, technological and ethical issues related to identity, privacy and security in the forecasted but not yet deployed Ambient Intelligence (AmI) environment. More ...

  • DT: Digital Territories
    This project aimed at providing a more systematic view on the blurring boundaries of public and private digital space, and thus assist towards tackling concerns of privacy, security and identity of people´s online activities. More ...

Dissemination activities:

  • Overcoming Barriers in the EU Digital Identity Sector. EUR 23046 EN. December 2007. Report...
  • RFID Technologies: Emerging Issues, Challenges and Policy Options.
    EUR 22770 EN. May 2007. Report ...
  • D1gital Territ0ries - Towards the protection of public and private space in a digital and Ambient Intelligence environment.
    EUR 22765 EN. May 2007. Report ...
  • Biometrics at the frontiers: Assessing the Impact on Society.
    Study for the European Parliament Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE),
    EUR 21585 EN. February 2005. Report ...