Swiss edu-ID Terms of Use

(for Swiss edu-ID Version 1.0, 1 March 2015)


Welcome to Swiss edu-ID, the lifelong digital identity for Swiss university members, persons in the university community and lifelong learners.

This Service is operated by SWITCH.

By establishing a Swiss edu-ID user account, you agree to the following Terms of Use. Please, take a few moments and carefully read these Terms of Use so that you are appropriately informed about your rights and obligations. Upon completing your registration, you will receive a copy of these Terms of Use via email.

In Brief:

  • The Swiss edu-ID serves to clearly identify users and enable them to access resources within the AAI Federation. In principle, anyone can create such a lifelong digital identity.
  • There can be only one user account per person. Please help in avoiding duplicates.
  • Please provide correct data and keep them current. Only in this way can a quality service be provided.
  • Please protect your password, since you are responsible for activities in and with your user account.
  • Your user account belongs to you and remains active after your exit from an organisation (in contrast to AAI accounts).
  • The Service is operated by SWITCH and your data are stored on servers in Switzerland.
  • Only data which are required for provision of the Service are stored or exchanged with resource providers.
  • You decide which resource providers you wish to transmit personally identifiable data to in the form of attributes.
  • The resource providers themselves decide which services they wish to make available.
  • If you connect your user account to other identifiers such as SWITCHaai or ORCID, it can open up additional usage options to you.

1 Definitions

An individual piece of information of a digital identity. An attribute may be of a general or a personal nature. A set of attributes (e.g. name, telephone number and group affiliation) defines a specific individual.

The users of the service are divided into three categories:

  • Users who belong to organisations: All users belonging to an organisation within the SWITCH Community or the extended SWITCH Community, particularly employees, researchers, lecturers and students who use the Service.
  • Users who are related to organisations within the SWITCH Community or the extended SWITCH Community (e.g. members of international research groups, external employees, alumni, library patrons or guests).
  • Other users who are entitled to use resources which are accessible by means of a Swiss edu-ID.

Resources are web applications or other applications which are offered by organisations or third parties and which users may access.

Digital Identity
A series of attributes assigned to a user and which provide information about his or her identity.

Extended SWITCH Community
Organisations that have a close collaboration with the SWITCH Community, particularly higher education policy organisations, academies, funding institutions, libraries and hospitals as well as private research institutes and schools in the tertiary sector which are not part of the SWITCH Community.

An identifier (also called 'identification' or 'ID') is an artificially assigned feature for uniquely identifying a subject or an object.

Identity Provider (IdP)
An identity provider is a system component that centrally holds certain attributes and, if necessary, obtains additional attributes and transmits them to the resources. The Swiss edu-ID Identity Provider (IdP) is part of the SWITCHaai Föderation [Federation] and is operated by SWITCH.

ORCID (see also
An ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a non-proprietary, largely numerical code designed to uniquely identify scientific authors (including ORCID identifier and entry).

An organisation within the SWITCH Community or the extended SWITCH Community.

The Swiss edu-ID is a service for the central administration of a person's digital identity within the environment of lifelong learning.

SWITCH Community
The organisations from within the research and educational sector that are associated with SWITCH (in accordance with the Annex to Service Regulations for Services by SWITCH, Version 1.1 dated 19 November 2009, or any later-amended version).

The infrastructure of SWITCH for authentication and authorisation. AAI is a SWITCH service for single sign-on (SSO) Web access.

Federation (in association with AAI)
Various organisations that have agreed to collaborate on the basis of a set of rules.

2 Purpose

The Service is accessible via the Internet and enables you to establish and maintain a lifelong personal and unique digital identity, containing both personally-identifying and contact-relevant data about you. A Swiss edu-ID user account can be used, for example, to register for Web applications or other resources which support Swiss edu-IDs. The main difference to local user accounts or SWITCHaai consists of the fact that you can retain your Swiss edu-ID for life, that is to say, for example, independently from any membership in an organisation.

Your Swiss edu-ID user account can make it possible in future for you to register for and use such resources as are offered by various providers in and around the Swiss university community and especially within the SWITCHaai Federation.

3 Creation and Access

  1. All users who are interested in creating a lifelong digital identity in order to preserve access to resources may take advantage of the Service.
  2. In order to use a Swiss edu-ID, you will need a user account. For that purpose, you must at a minimum provide
    • your full name
    • a valid email address and
    • a password.
  3. Your email address and password will be used for authentication purposes. You can change either of these in your Swiss edu-ID user account at any time, as needed. Whenever someone registers using your email address and your password, the service assumes that the person registering is you.
  4. Additional personal attributes such as date of birth, residence address, mobile telephone number etc. help to recognise and prevent duplicates of your identity, and provide the best possible service (e.g. a library can only send a book to you at your home if you have provided your residence address).
  5. Resource providers have the option of accepting your attributes only if they have been previously validated, i.e. wherein the information - e.g. a mobile telephone number - has been verified using an appropriate procedure. Attributes can be validated by you yourself, by SWITCH or by organisations (once or multiple times). You will see the characteristics of the individual attributes in your user account.
  6. You can create a new user account from scratch or use an existing SWITCHaai identity for this purpose. The latter has the advantage that your user account is already linked to an AAI identity (unidirectional) and existing basic attributes of your Swiss edu-ID can be transferred to your user account. Upon creating your user account, you will see such attributes as non-editable fields.
  7. You can also link your user account with one (or more) SWITCHaai-Identities at a later time, as well as with additional identifiers such as, for example, ORCID. Such links may be necessary if you wish to use your Swiss edu-ID to access certain resources that use these identifiers.
  8. The organisations decide (within the Federation) which resources they wish to make accessible by individual users or user groups, and what conditions must be met in order to obtain access to resources.

4 User Administration

  1. You must register with the Service yourself and are thereafter the sole owner of your user account.
  2. If you leave an organisation of the SWITCH Community (e.g. a university or research institution), your Swiss edu-ID user account remains active - in contrast to a SWITCHaai account, which will be deactivated.
  3. If you wish to terminate your Swiss edu-ID user account, please address the appropriate email to However, please consider that the termination of your lifelong digital identity is contrary to its purpose. Upon termination, your attributes are lost and your user account can no longer be recreated.

5 Location of the Data

The servers for all of the data stored by SWITCH are located within the SWITCH infrastructure in Switzerland.

6 Data Processing

  1. Personally-identifiable data about you (in the form of attributes) will be transmitted only with your consent to those resources which you wish to access using your Swiss edu-ID. At a minimum, your consent is necessary when you access a resource for the first time and then always if attributes must be transmitted where they are to be used by a resource to which you have not yet given your consent.
  2. Your personally-identifiable data such as your name or date of birth may be used for authentication and authorisation (access) for resources, as well for the recognition and avoidance of duplicates.
  3. By your consent, you authorise the collection, processing and disclosure of your attributes to the extent necessary and exclusively for the purposes listed in these Terms of Use. This includes, among other things, the transmission of personally-identifiable data to organisations, resource providers and resources in the form of browser cookies and electronic exchange formats, as well as the caching and storage of attributes by SWITCH.
  4. The processing of data of users who belong to an organisation takes places in accordance with Paragraph 10 of the Service Regulations for Services by SWITCH. With respect to all other users, the data processing takes place in accordance with Paragraph 10 of the General Terms and Conditions for Services of SWITCH.

7 Data Protection

  1. Your user data and individual attributes will be exchanged exclusively with resources and organisations within the SWITCHaai Federation, and this only after you have given your consent for each individual resource which you wish to access.
  2. SWITCH protects your personally-identifiable data against non-authorised access using suitable technical and organisational measures.
  3. Your data will be used exclusively for the purposes listed in these Terms of Use.

8 User's Responsibility

  1. Personally-identifiable data which you enter to create and update your user account must be correct (e.g. the correct name).
  2. Please keep your identity and contact data current. Optimal provision of the Service is possible only with correct information. The Service will, therefore, regularly send you reminders via email.
  3. You are responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect your password from being used by third parties to access your user account or resources.
  4. You are responsible for all activities which take place in connection with your user account or your password.
  5. You may not create more than one Swiss edu-ID user account. You are required to actively participate in the recognition and avoidance of duplicates, e.g. by answering enquiries or following instructions which you receive via email from the Service for this purpose. If you discover duplicates or have created them inadvertently, please contact as quickly as possible. SWITCH reserves the right to merge two or more user accounts which have been recognised as duplicates, and/or to delete duplicate accounts. Either procedure may lead to loss of data or limitations on access to certain resources.
  6. Misuse of the user account or the Service and violation of these Terms of Use will lead to closure or deletion of your user account.

9 Warranty

SWITCH assumes no warranty for any specific results in connection with the Service.

SWITCH warrants that the data in connection with the service shall be stored in the SWITCH computing centre in Switzerland. SWITCH does not warrant any specific security level or any specific degree of availability.

SWITCH cannot warrant how data will be stored by the organisations and resources which you access using your Swiss edu-ID. Therefore, SWITCH shall not be liable for any violations of data protection requirements by the organisations or by the providers of resources which you access using your Swiss edu-ID.

10 Liability of SWITCH

For users belonging to an organisation, SWITCH's limitations of liability and the liability exclusions of Paragraph 7.2 of the Service Regulations for Services by SWITCH shall apply. For all other users, SWITCH's limitations of liability and the exclusions of Paragraph 7.2 of the General Terms and Conditions for Services of SWITCH shall apply.

11 Applicable Law and Regulations

  1. By establishing a user account, you agree to the present Terms of Use.
  2. With respect to the use of the Service, those parts of the currently applicable versions of the following documents which are relevant to users shall apply:
    1. For users who belong to an organisation: Dienstleistungsreglement für Dienste von SWITCH [Service Regulations for Services by SWITCH].
    2. For all other users: General Terms and Conditions for Services of SWITCH.
    3. For all users: SWITCHaai Service Description
  3. These Terms of Use and your use of the Service shall be subject to Swiss law.

SWITCH reserves the right to amend or adjust these Terms of Use at any time and without prior notice. However, you will be given reasonable notice about every amendment and will be requested to consent to the new Terms of Use in order to be able to continue using the Service.