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Liberty Alliance Builds Global Trust Framework for Identity Federations Spanning Industries and Regions

Electronic Authentication Partnership (EAP) and Liberty Alliance Form New Expert Group to Drive Trusted Federations and Identity Assurance Internationally

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Liberty Alliance, the global identity consortium working to build a more trusted Internet for consumers, governments and businesses worldwide, today announced it has formed a new expert group to deliver the Liberty Trust Framework, an organizational framework designed to fill industry requirements for standardized identity assurance criteria for use in a broad range of federation scenarios. Liberty’s Identity Assurance Expert Group (IAEG) was established by the recent merge of the Electronic Authentication Partnership (EAP) into Liberty Alliance, and consists of representatives from the worldwide financial services, government, healthcare and service provider sectors working collaboratively to release the Liberty Trust Framework for public review and input later this year.

The Liberty Trust Framework will remove a major barrier to global inter-federation deployments: the complexity of assessing the level of identity assurance among all organizations participating in federated relationships. Currently, different federations have varying policies and processes governing identity operations, the interpretation of which adds to the cost and complexity of deploying assured identity services. The Liberty Trust Framework will provide a standard set of criteria so that identity transactions, with assurance requirements ranging from leaving a comment on a blog to high-value financial transactions, can take place based on a standard framework for managing identity assurance levels and associated business processes and technologies. With common criteria for determining accurate identities in place, the Liberty Trust Framework will make it easier to bring new members into existing federations as well as simplify how federations themselves can interoperate.

Liberty’s IAEG is co-chaired by Jane Hennessy, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and Michael Sessa, Executive Director, Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC), with founding members including representatives from Adobe, BT, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Fidelity Investments, HP, PESC, SanDisk, Sun Microsystems, Symlabs, the US GSA and Wells Fargo. The IAEG is leveraging Liberty’s diverse membership, the work of its global expert and special interest groups (SIGs) such as the eGovernment, eHealth, Identity Theft Prevention and Japan SIGs, and leadership in addressing the technology, business and privacy aspects of digital identity management to collaboratively drive the development of the Liberty Trust Framework.

“Today’s news is about members of the global identity community coming together to develop a universal framework for building and managing federations based on identity assurances and a foundation of trust,” said Roger Sullivan, president of the Liberty Alliance Management Board and vice president of Oracle Identity Management. “With the technologies for wide-scale federation in place, the Liberty Trust Framework provides the necessary business structure that will allow organizations of all sizes and in every market sector to better manage and protect identity information across all identity federations.”

Extending the work of the EAP and US E-Authentication Federation

Initial major contributions to the Liberty Trust Framework are coming from the Trust Framework of the EAP and the Credential Assessment Framework of the US E-Authentication Federation. Liberty Alliance acknowledges the importance of these contributions in allowing the IAEG to rapidly create the Liberty Trust Framework. The Framework will be defined in a way that scales, empowers business processes and benefits individual users of identity services among federations potentially supporting billions of simultaneous transactions across devices, industries and regions.

"We are very pleased that work of the EAP is moving forward within Liberty Alliance where individuals and organizations from around the world can participate in driving successful inter-federations forward,” said Sessa. “We encourage the global identity community to join Liberty’s new expert group to help organizations worldwide better address the business and technical issues involved in building trusted inter-federations.”

A call for participation in the development of the Liberty Trust Framework

“The formation of the Liberty Alliance Identity Assurance Expert Group helps to ensure the broadest possible industry support for advancing online identity assurance interoperability,” said Hennessy. “Liberty Alliance welcomes the participation of individuals and organizations to collaborate on developing the next generation of resources and tools designed to reduce the complexity and costs of identity assurance among identity federations.”

IAEG is Liberty’s fifth expert group, joining the Business Marketing Expert Group (BMEG), Technology Expert Group (TEG), Public Policy Expert Group (PPEG) and Strong Authentication Expert Group (SAEG). The development of the Liberty Trust Framework within Liberty Alliance will be based on the Liberty model of creating open, secure and interoperable identity standards, business and policy deployment guidelines and best practices for managing privacy in a collaborative environment where all organizations and individual members are invited to participate. This proven approach helps to ensure the output of Liberty Alliance meets real world business and user requirements for interoperable, secure and privacy-respecting digital identity management solutions. More information about Liberty’s IAEG is available here.

About Liberty Alliance

Liberty Alliance is the only global identity organization with a membership base that includes technology vendors, consumer service providers and educational and government organizations working together to build a more trusted Internet by addressing the technology, business and privacy aspects of digital identity management. The Liberty Alliance Management Board consists of representatives from AOL, Ericsson, Fidelity Investments, France Telecom, HP, Intel, Novell, NTT, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems. Liberty Alliance works with identity organizations worldwide to ensure all voices are included in the global identity discussion and regularly holds and participates in public events designed to advance the harmonization and interoperability of CardSpace, Liberty Federation (SAML 2.0), Liberty Web Services, OpenID and WS-* specifications.