Robin Cover's XML Daily Newslink yesterday, one of my "must reads" (you can sign up for a free subscription at email@example.com), included a note on the formation of the Concordia Working Group by the Liberty Alliance Project (LAP). The story caught my eye for three reasons: it addresses a real problem, it's using an increasingly common approach to do so, and it's advancing the state of the art at the same time in a new and interesting way. I'd like to look at each of those reasons in greater detail.
The vision of Liberty Alliance is to enable a networked world based on open standards where consumers, citizens, businesses and governments can more easily conduct online transactions while protecting the privacy and security of identity information. This world, where devices and identities of all kinds are linked by federation and protected by universal strong authentication, is being built today with Liberty’s open identity standards, business and deployment guidelines and best practices for managing privacy.
1. Identify a high-level problem that needs solving (e.g, making e-commerce sites easier to use and more secure when you do)2. Define specific situations that need to be addressed in order to achieve that goal. Call them "Use Cases" (example: log on to a new e-commerce site and call on existing data found elsewhere using the minimum number of clicks to be ready to do what you want to do, without worrying about possible security consequences)3. Find existing standards, protocols and services that make this possible, and describe them clearly in a specification, which you may call a "profile" or "guideline"4. Make the document freely available so that as many developers and users as possible take advantage of it, providing incentives for more and more to do so, thereby achieving the original goal
- Drive development of a ubiquitous, interoperable, privacy-respecting layer for identity in order to:
- Help drive deployment costs down
- Assure implementers and deployers of better success and greater productivity
- Lead to more commercial products and open source offerings, in turn leading to a healthy market
- Facilitate new service offerings
- Assure interoperability across this layer
- Deliver confidence to implementers and deployers in implementing today with successful interoperability tomorrow
- Encourage strong, cross-sector, cross-geography participation through an open development process
The Concordia Working Group recognizes that deployers are working in a constantly shifting heterogeneous environment. In order to advance the identity marketplace, there needs to be a conscientious effort to develop systems, devices, applications and identities that will successfully and seamlessly interoperate. As such, this Group is chartered to:· Become an active public discussion forum for the development, contribution and analysis of cross-protocol use cases for systems in a wide variety of vertical and horizontal deployment models.· Drive virtual and public events that allow for discussion and development of use cases and corresponding solutions· Develop, publish, and maintain a detailed roadmap to drive focused output
3. Criteria for Success· Sufficient participation from interested community experts, including Liberty members and non-members· Strong information sharing on use cases and constructive next steps for protocol development, etc, across the group· Regular meetings (phone and/or physical) to facilitate group communication, experience sharing and guidance