Liberty Alliance formed the Identity Assurance Expert Group (IAEG) to foster adoption of identity trust services. Utilizing initial contributions from the e-Authentication Partnership (EAP) and the US E-Authentication Federation, the IAEG’s objective is to create a framework of baseline policies, business rules, and commercial terms against which identity trust services can be assessed and evaluated. The goal is to facilitate trusted identity federation to promote uniformity and interoperability amongst identity service providers. The primary deliverable of IAEG is the Liberty Identity Assurance Framework (LIAF).

The LIAF leverages the EAP Trust Framework [EAPTrustFramework] and the US E-Authentication Federation Credential Assessment Framework ([CAF]) as a baseline in forming the criteria for a harmonized, best-of-breed industry identity assurance standard. The LIAF is a framework supporting mutual acceptance, validation, and life cycle maintenance across identity federations. The main components of the LIAF are detailed discussions of Assurance Level criteria, Service and Credential Assessment Criteria, an Accreditation and Certification Model, and the associated business rules.

Assurance Levels (ALs) are the levels of trust associated with a credential as measured by the associated technology, processes, and policy and practice statements. The LIAF defers to the guidance provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-63 version 1.0.1 [NIST800-63] which outlines four (4) levels of assurance, ranging in confidence level from low to very high. Use of ALs is determined by the level of confidence or trust necessary to mitigate risk in the transaction.

The Service and Credential Assessment Criteria section in the LIAF will establish baseline criteria for general organizational conformity, identity proofing services, credential strength, and credential management services against which all CSPs will be evaluated. The LIAF will also establish Credential Assessment Profiles (CAPs) for each level of assurance that will be published and updated as needed to account for technological advances and preferred practice and policy updates.

The LIAF will employ a phased approach to establishing criteria for certification and accreditation, first focusing on the certification of credential service providers (CSPs) and the accreditation of those who will assess and evaluate them. The goal of this phased approach is to initially provide federations and Federation Operators with the means to certify their members for the benefit of inter-federation and streamlining the certification process for the industry. Follow-on phases will target the development of criteria for certification of federations, themselves, and a Best Practice guide for relying parties.

Finally, the LIAF will include a discussion of the business rules associated with IAEG participation, certification, and accreditation.


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