Identity framework moves into next phase

The Liberty Alliance Project has started developing technical specifications for how companies can protect sensitive personal data in their applications.

The Liberty Alliance Project has started developing technical specifications for how companies can protect sensitive personal data within their IT systems and securely share that data with other organisations.

Liberty, a consortium that develops identity management standards, completed a market requirements phase where it asked businesses, for example, how they use customer data when a person consents to give up the data, such as a credit-card number.

Those market requirements would be used to develop technical specifications for the Identity Governance Framework (IGF), a set of standard protocols that could be widely used in applications that handled identity information, vice-president of product development for identity management at Oracle, one of Liberty's members, Amit Jasuja, said. Those technical specifications should be finalised next year.

As those specifications were developed, vendors such as HP and Oracle would begin building applications based on the market requirements and preliminary IGF information, Jasuja said. After 6-9 months, a Liberty technical group would work with those vendors to refine that development and close the gaps, he said.

Eventually, IGF will also be compatible with other identity management specifications such as OpenID and WS* and systems such as Project Bandit, Project Higgins and Microsoft's CardSpace.

Liberty was also encouraging identity application development projects through openliberty.org, its open-source development site that usedan Apache licensing model, executive director of Liberty, Brett McDowell, said.

IGF would eventually be able to incorporate policies and regulations, such as the European Data Protection Initiative and Sarbanes-Oxley in the US, into applications that handled identity information, McDowell said.

"Users have been waiting to know there are some real teeth behind the polices that they agreed to with their data," McDowell said.

Identity management has become a hot issue among enterprises in light of data breaches and the increased sharing of sensitive information.

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