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Guidelines for Expressing Assurance#

As a base for expressing assurance we will rely on the REFEDS Assurance Framework (RAF). Based on RAF, additional assurance profiles are also defined in the AARC-G021 guideline.

There are different assurance levels available within Helmholtz AAI. These levels are expressed in two different ways, all of which are transported in the eduperson_assurance claim. The two different ways are called Profiles and Components.

  • Profiles are composed by a set of components and are believed to make it easier for services to filter the users which they want to let in.

  • Components are available, only for the case that a more complex analysis of the users assurance is required.

Available Assurance Profiles:#

We promote the use of these assurance profiles:

  • AARC Assam: Users that logged in with a “social” identity, such as ORCID, Github, or Google.
  • IGTF Dogwood: Users that do have a home organisation that fulfils minimal security standards, such as permanently recording which user used which identifier.
  • RAF Cappuccino: Users had to be verified by checking the passport at the home institution.
  • RAF Espresso is very difficult to achieve, but may be developed for high-risk services in the future. For the user it means that his/her photo ID was successfully verified against a government database, and he/she uses multi-factor authentication for authentication.

Services should maintain a list of assurance-profiles that they want to support.

Available Assurance Components#

RAF (REFEDS Assurance Framework) defines individual components:

  • ID: Identifier uniqueness
  • IAP: Identity proofing
  • ATP: Attribute quality and freshness

Assurance Profiles


  • A user’s assurance from a DFN-AAI institution would look like this:

      "eduperson_assurance": [

    In detail:

    • ATP/ePA-1d User Attributes are updated not more than one day after they changed.
    • ATP/ePA-1m User Attributes are updated not more than one month after they changed.
    • IAP/local-enterprise: User would qualify to access the Home Organisation’s internal administrative systems
    • IAP/low: self-asserted identity together with verified e-mail address
    • IAP/medium: sent a copy of their government issued photo-ID to the CSP and the CSP has had a remote live video conversation
    • ID/eppn-unique-no-reassign: eduPersonPrincipalName value is not reassigned
    • ID/unique: User Identifier:
      • The user identifier represents a single natural person
      • The person to whom the identifier is issued can be contacted
      • The user identifier is never re-assigned
    • profile/cappuccino: The profile information that asserts all of the above (see image).
  • A user that came via a “social IdP” such as google, github or ORCID would look like this:

      "eduperson_assurance": [

    In detail:

    • Missing ATP/: We cannot make any statement about updates of attributes
    • ID/unique: Social IdPs are generally very good of keeping the identifier linked to the same user.
    • AARC-defined profile to describe social-IdP users.

Check your Assurance#

To see your own assurance, go to, log in and look at the “User Info From Userinfo Endpoint”

Additional Information#

Additional information on the REFEDS Assurance Framework is collected here.

Mapping attributes between SAML and OIDC is discussed in the => REFEDS OIDCre white paper, especially Table 1.

The Proxy and the Assurance#

There are still IdPs that do not support the REFEDS Assurance Framework. For the time being, we will use the Helmholtz AAI Proxy (i.e. unity) to assess the originating IdP and then assert a given assurance profile (using the eduperson_assurance claim).

  • Honoring the IdP: essentially, we “honor” the info coming from the IdP, i.e. if the IdP is releasing any of the assurance info, we present it as such to downstream services.

  • IdP “whitelisting”: for IdPs known to follow required procedures for expressing assurance components (e.g. have proper identity vetting), but do not express them via SAML assertions, we can (automatically) assert those claims downstream to SPs that consume this info. This may involve “translating” or “interpreting” certain attributes (e.g. value “staff” may translate to “medium”, while “student” do not, etc.)

  • PI (Principal Investigator) action: the PI is responsible of the VO he/she manages. The PI can accept members that do not meet the assurance requirement, but they cannot access services with assurance requirements that exceed those the users has.

    • We are therefore working on a method that allows authorised personnel to raise individual components of a users’ assurance.
    • Please understand that this is quite complex and hence still under investigation. In case you have a demand for this, please contact the HIFIS support.