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SBB tests a blockchain-based management system

Swiss Federal Rails (SBB) has recently completed the concept test (PoC) of a credential management system based on the blockchain. The PoC is designed for the workforce employed by the company that is used in its construction site.

Initially, the project took place between May and November and sought to simplify current paper-based processes, making them more agile.

Daniele Pallecchi, of the Swiss national railway company, told the media that the project will improve a number of sectors and increase the security of the sites, while ensuring the presence of highly qualified professionals.

He revealed that the solution was developed by Linum Labs and uses an open source call technology uPort, which was designed by ConsenSys.

How does it work?

The trial version of the software allowed workers to create their digital identities via their mobile devices on uPort and a certificate, in turn, issued by SBB to confirm that they had followed appropriate training. The digital IDs generated in this way were then used by employees for log in and log out of their construction sites.

It is not the first time that Switzerland deals with identity based on blockchain. About a year ago, the city of Zug implemented a verifiable city ID from the government, using uPort.

The main advantage of this system is that it is more reliable than paper-based processes, is decentralized and easier to access. This also directly affects safety regulations and record keeping requirements, which are particularly severe, since accidents on the deadly train usually involve.

In this case, record keeping is a requirement to track the work of over 30,000 employees and their training. But an individual identity of a large number of workers from different companies working on thousands of SBB-related shipyards throughout Switzerland is often managed by several companies. They deal with information such as medical records, training certificates, etc. This framework made it ideal for a decentralized initiative to test a pilot.

SBB workers, certification authorities and supervisors have their own digital ID linked to their ID uPort, which is directly linked to their ID on the blockchain. A worker's check-in and check-out are posted on the blockchain, providing information that can be verified.

For a period of five weeks, a small team designed the architecture of the application. However, a limitation of uPort is the fact that it is based on Ethereum and suffers from known problems such as scalability.

Compatibility with GDPR – where are we?

As soon as the personal information is under the microscope, compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union comes to mind. The competing sources indicate two different things.

On the one hand, one explains that the company encounters a problem with the GDPR and its & # 39;Right to be forgotten & # 39;, which means that all information about a person should be removed from the public domain if requested by the person in question. Since everything on blockchain is permanent and immutable, if necessary, the information on blockchain can not be deleted.

On the other hand, Linum Labs stated that the SBB pilot is destined to "be interoperable and compliant with GDPR and other data privacy laws. "All identities are said to be" compliant with the authority of GDPR "."

According to Thierry Bonfante, the product manager of uPort, the new architecture allows to store off-line information, which is why the system works best with small amounts of data. He explained that this is why it is used only for specific key management purposes such as revocation, delegation and rotation.

The final word

The blockchain allows you to change the status quo in a wide range of sectors, especially those that deal with a large number of subcontracted employees. However, everything that has to do with identities is inclined to trigger a debate, and if it is in Europe, GDPR is bound to apply. Switzerland has led the race for a while, and this case study reflects how the blockchain is changing the way companies do things. Let's take a look to see if they launch a post-pilot phase software.

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