IIW2005: Brett McDowell on Liberty Alliance


Brett McDowall is speaking on Liberty Alliance to "engage the bottom-up community." The vision of Liberty Alliance (LA) is a networked world in which individuals and businesses can share identity information in a protected way. LA is working on technology standards and guidelines, business and privacy guidelines, and an ecosystem of interoperable products and services.

The board and sponsors of LA are most of the big companies you'd recognize. But 50% of the membership is either non-profit or a company with less than 100 employees.

Liberty ID-WSF 2.0 is based on SAML 2.0, WS-Security, and WS-Addressing. An earlier version relied on ID-FF which has been merged into SAML 2.0 in the spirit of convergence. ID-FF, however, is still in use all by itself and it deployed in various places.

Some design points: identity based Web services are associated with the principal's identity and can be invoked by a principal's identity. Attributes are shared only with the permission of the principal. Credentials can be discovered.

There's more than 1 billion Liberty-enabled identities and devices in use by the end of 2006 based on LA member deployments.

LA is willing to interoperate with WS-* services, but there are some issue, including where they are in the acceptance cycle and closed standards bodies.

LA is working on a robust client that would offer similar benefits to the InfoCard client. Numerous use cases were listed.

Questions: how can LA be used with REST? Can LA support light (vs. SOAP/heavy) architectures? Participate in LA workshops, become LA members so that "bottom-up identity" use cases and requirements are included in architectural decisions. "The world belongs to those who show up."