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3/4/2003
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Liberty Alliance Releases Second Phase Of Its ID Spec

Phase 2 spec lets user choose which Web sites can access their information and whether to allow their identity to be revealed.

The Liberty Alliance on Tuesday released a draft of its Phase 2 specification for federated identity management. Also, at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, the alliance demonstrated interoperability of its Phase 1 specification, which handles account linking and single sign-on among 20 software, hardware, and mobile-device vendors.

Some of the companies whose products or services use Liberty Phase 1 include AOL, Communicator, Hewlett-Packard, Jabber, Nokia, Novell, PostX, SchlumbergerSema, Sigaba, Sun Microsystems, Vodafone, and Waveset Technologies.

Liberty's Phase 2 draft specification extends on Liberty's first phase, introduced in July 2002, and lets users choose which Web sites can access their information and whether their identity will be revealed. The concept is permissions-based sharing. Users can choose which affiliated Web sites can access their information--and even which personal information can be shared without giving the site the user's true identity.

Such privacy, trust, and security, says Michael Barrett, VP of Internet strategy for American Express and president of the Liberty Alliance, is critical for any identity management initiative to be successful.

The final Phase 2 specification isn't expected until the end of the third quarter, after the public comment and review period is complete.

Although not yet complete, several vendors, including Communicator, Ericsson, Netegrity, and Sun Microsystems will deliver products that support the specification.

Last week, Liberty Alliance submitted version 1.1 to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis) for possible inclusion in future versions of its Open Standard Security Assertion Markup Language. SAML is an XML security framework designed to simplify the authorization and authentication process within Web services.

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