Nine Vendors Earn Liberty Alliance Seal

By Sean Michael Kerner

In October, The Liberty Alliance announced its new standards-based certification program to spur the adoption of Web services .

Less than two months later, nine companies have earned the group’s interoperable logo — proof that their products and services adhere to common architecture for user ID management.

The consortium announced the news at the Inside ID Conference in Washington on Tuesday. The companies include: Ericsson, Nokia, NTT, NTT Communications, NTT Software, Phaos Technology, Ping Identity, Sun Microsystems and Trustgenix.

“We’ve created the conformance program to help increase buyer confidence, offer vendors a competitive differentiator for their products and help validate core functionality so that the purchaser can focus on other details specific to their market,” Jeff Smith, chair of the Liberty Alliance conformance expert group, said in a statement.

The companies certified an array of offerings. Ericsson’s soon-to-be released User Session & Identity Server 1.0 product, which is the core of the Ericsson identity management solutions for telecom operators, passed the test. As did the Nokia WAP Gateway.

Sun earned the seal of approval for its Java System Identity Server, which features identity management capabilities, such as role-based access control and delegated user administration.

Spearheaded by Sun, the alliance was formed in 2001 as an alternative to Microsoft’s Passport authentication initiative. Its goal is to develop standards for user identification for single sign-on and authentication on multiple sites and devices.

The alliance continues its work in the SAML authentication language, which helps trading partners exchange authentication and non-repudiation information within a Web environment — the development of which has long been a stumbling block in the Web services and single sign-on movement.

But SAML, an XML-based framework, is also one of several security-based languages that are under consideration by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), which helps ratify interoperability standards.

OASIS is working on version 2.0 of the SAML security language after it ratified version 1.0 of SAML in November 2002. At the same time, Microsoft and IBM are working on a separate identity standard and OASIS has said it would consider all submissions to the next version of SAML before version 2.0 is ratified.

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