donderdag 18 juni 2009

Claims and white lists

Since there's no trust hierarchy for identity providers yet, some other mechanism should be developed to be able to trust third party identity providers. At least if we want to be able to use identity information within the digital identity, the digital passport, to act on. As long as a digital identity is used instead of userid and password, there is no problem. Any digital identity used on a site is as good as a self managed identity and password. But if a digital identity is used in a transactional way or if someone wants to access confdential information, some trust in the reliability of the digital identity of a user is needed to be able to control access.

As long as there's no structural solution for trust hierarchy in identity space, white listing is the answer. In a white list a service provider could state which identity provider's identities can be trusted. But that's just the first step.

The second step is that a service provider could allow the use of claims defined by the white listed identity provider. The service provider might accept specific claims issues by a specific identity provider.

In an earlier post I wrote that we would need only a few standard claims to be able to identify the value of a digital identity. What's needed is the level of verification of the identity by the identity provider and the authentication method. If these two claims would be standardised across identity providers and service providers, we would only have to whitelist an identity provider to be able to differentiate user authorizations based on the value of the digital identity.

Yesterday there was an interesting meeting of some potential Dutch OpenID relying parties and OpenID identity providers.
I will participate in a working group to explore the possibilities of standardising claims and trust level of identity providers. That second part is the tough one, it will require some form of accreditation. But if this works for OpenID, it will also work for Information Cards, of course.
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