Here is a general FAQ on changes announced with the new membership structure that took effect May 1, 2007.
We’ve made changes to our structure and added new member benefits to eliminate barriers to participation within the Alliance across organizations, geographies and vertical sectors. These changes make it easier for all individuals and organizations to access the resources of the Alliance and to participate in developing the next generation of secure, privacy-respecting and interoperable identity standards based on Liberty’s proven model of addressing the personal, business and technology aspects of digital identity management.
As Liberty Alliance moves on its promise to become a more open and inclusive organization, changes generally fall into two categories. The first is a variety of new benefits for members and the second opens many of Liberty’s global and regional Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and mail lists to the public. Combined, these changes provide individuals and organizations with new opportunities to engage with Liberty Alliance at all levels and on a variety of industry and cross-industry digital identity initiatives.
Liberty’s structure is based on four core Expert Groups and many Special Interest Groups. The Expert Groups focus on Technology (TEG), Public Policy (PPEG), Strong Authentication (SAEG) and Business and Marketing (BMEG). TEG and SAEG are open today. Joining Expert Group mail lists will allow individuals and organizations to monitor and understand processes while providing insight into what’s coming next from Liberty Alliance. Information about how to subscribe to mail lists is available at https://projectliberty.org/index.php/liberty/public_community/email_archive
Expert Group chairs and members were asked by the Liberty Alliance Management Board to vote on how to best approach opening individual Expert Group mail lists. Members made decisions based on ensuring that work would not be slowed and the full participation of all members continued as Liberty shifts mail policies. In order to make it easier for wide scale participation in Expert Groups where mail lists are not open, Liberty Alliance has changed its structure to allow Associate Members to fully participate in an Expert Group. Individuals and organizations in the non-profit sector can join Liberty as Associate Members at no charge.
These are groups that members of Liberty Alliance form to collaboratively address and solve global, regional and vertical-specific digital identity management issues. Global SIGs include the Concordia, eGovernment, eHealth and the Identity Theft Prevention groups. There are regional SIGs in Japan and Norway with new groups forming across Europe. A list of all Liberty Alliance SIGs is available at https://projectliberty.org/index.php/liberty/about/structure
The Liberty Alliance Management Board has worked with all SIG chairs and members to best determine what SIGs could immediately be opened to the public. SIG chairs and members decided on the best course of action for opening individual SIGs. Many Liberty Alliance SIGs are now open to the public and all new SIGs will be open from day one. Members of new SIGs will decide collaboratively on how to best approach open membership. A list of SIGs that are open to the public is available at http://wiki.dualdiagnosis.org/index.php/Main_Page
Mirroring the open and collaborative community of openLiberty.org launched earlier this year, joining a SIG allows developers, individuals and organizations of all sizes and in every market sector to both monitor and fully participate in SIG activities. This often includes e-mail list discussions and scheduled calls, the development and sharing of best practices and resources and participating in a variety of events designed to meet key objectives of the group. SIG members work to identity and solve key identity management issues by collaboratively addressing a variety of technology, business and policy issues related to the group’s founding charter.
Liberty Alliance currently has nearly 150 members consisting of technology vendors, consumer service providers and educational and government organizations working together to build a more trusted Internet by addressing the personal, business and technology aspects of digital identity management. The Management Board is made up of representatives from AOL, Ericsson, Fidelity Investments, France Telecom, HP, Intel, Novell, NTT, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems. A complete list of Liberty members is available at https://projectliberty.org/liberty/membership/current_members
The Liberty Alliance membership structure is now based on three levels: the Management Board, Sponsors and Associates. Membership levels are defined based on the degree of participation individuals and organizations may want to undertake within the Alliance. The new structure creates a closer relationship between all categories to allow greater participation at all membership levels. With the new structure, individuals can now join Liberty Alliance as Associate or Sponsor members. A full list of member benefits is available at https://projectliberty.org/index.php/liberty/membership/membership_matrix
Previously, membership in Liberty Alliance was open only to organizations. But as the global identity landscape continues to evolve, Liberty Alliance recognizes that all voices need to be heard when it comes to collaboratively addressing industry-wide and vertical-specific identity management requirements. Individuals may now join Liberty Alliance to take part in cross-organizational initiatives or to participate in the Alliance on an activity-by-activity basis. Individuals interested in joining the Alliance can get more information by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to greater participation across Liberty initiatives, with the new membership structure Associate Members can now fully participate in one of Liberty’s four Expert Groups, which include the Business and Marketing Expert Group (BMEG), the Technology Expert Group (TEG), the Strong Authentication Expert Group (SAEG) and the Public Policy Expert Group (PPEG).
Sponsor members have the ability to fully participate across all Expert Groups without needing to designate a specific focus area. There is also a variety of new marketing benefits available to Sponsor members. This is an ideal level of membership for organizations with many individuals wanting to participate in, and affect the outcome of, all of the work of the Alliance.
The Liberty Alliance Management Board is responsible for the overall governance, budgeting and direction of the organization. The Management Board sets strategy and overall direction for the Alliance, determines key liaisons, and the timing of various activities within the organization. Liberty’s Management Board has the final voting authority for all specifications.
Liberty’s new cost structure has been designed to lower the barriers to individual and organizational participation across all membership levels. There is no charge for the public to participate in SIGs and mail lists and there is no charge for non-profit organizations to join Liberty Alliance at the Associate level. Costs for organizations to join as Associates or Sponsors are based on the number of employees within the organization. Cost structures are outlined on the member benefits section of Liberty’s Web site at https://projectliberty.org/index.php/liberty/membership/membership_matrix