Liberty Alliance Assists Corporate Legal Teams; Consortium Releases Framework for Establishing Contractual Agreements for Digital Identity Management

Liberty Alliance – March 7, 2007 — Liberty Alliance, the global identity consortium working to build a more trusted Internet for consumers, governments and businesses worldwide, today announced the release of a legal frameworks document designed to help organizations address the legal considerations involved in deploying federated identity management. The Liberty Alliance Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust was developed to assist legal and executive management teams develop trusted relationships among organizations participating in a federated network. Liberty Alliance will hold a public webcast to review the legal frameworks document on Wednesday, March 14, from 8-9 am US PT.

“Today’s news marks an important step in eliminating the last major hurdle to the wide scale deployment of federated identity management – how to best approach the legal issues involved in building federated networks across organizational boundaries,” said Roger Sullivan, president of the Liberty Alliance Management Board and vice president of Oracle Identity Management. “With the release of the legal frameworks document, businesses and governments now have a framework to aid the development of legal and contractual agreements necessary for building Circle of Trust relationships.”

The Liberty Alliance Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust provides legal and executive management teams with model business structures and terminology to assist with the identification of legal and contractual issues involved in building an effective Circle of Trust (CoT). The document explains the rationale for establishing contractual CoT relationships, offers practical guidance for developing contractual frameworks depending on the goals and objectives of the organization, and is the first industry resource to discuss and illustrate a range of suitable contractual models.

The models identified in the frameworks document are the Collaborative Model, the Consortium Model and the Centralized Model. Descriptions included for each model help legal and executive management teams examine the various rules, regulations, polices and guidelines that may be appropriate for their own CoT. Organizations implementing a Circle of Trust are committing to abide by certain agreed upon and legally enforceable obligations, rules and remedies for managing digital identity transactions within the CoT relationship.

“In order to enter into a federation, prospective members need to have confidence in their partners, their technology, and their agreements. Gaining confidence in partners has long been a standard business activity. Confidence in federation technology has been growing over the past couple of years with increasing maturity and standardization of federation mechanisms and protocols; standardized federation technology is now ready to support serious business. What’s left is confidence in federation agreements,” said Bob Blakley, principal analyst, The Burton Group. “The Liberty Alliance’s Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust provides businesses with a starting point for their thinking and a context within which to discuss federation issues with potential partners. As such it’s a necessary step on the road to a future in which federations are routinely and efficiently created online.”

The Liberty Alliance Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust has been developed by Liberty’s Public Policy Expert Group (PPEG), working with invited legal experts. The legal frameworks document builds on the recently released Deployment Guidelines for Policy Decision Makers and references other published works from Liberty to provide organizations with a comprehensive set of resources for addressing the technology, business and legal aspects of federated identity management and identity services. The legal frameworks document released today is available for download.

“The technology and specifications are in place to achieve federation today and have been for a little while now. But deployments have been hampered by a lack of confidence in managing the legal and business issues,” said Colin Wallis of the New Zealand Government and chair of the Liberty Alliance eGovernment Special Interest Group. “This framework goes a long way to building that confidence, together with other supporting deployment guidance already published or in the pipeline, from Liberty.”

About the Legal Frameworks Documents and March 14 Webcast

The Liberty Alliance Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust was created by members of Liberty’s Public Policy Expert Group including representatives from Oracle, Sun Microsystems, the University of Washington School of Law and the New Zealand Government. The document was edited by Hogan & Hartson LLP. Liberty Alliance is the only global identity organization with a public policy group consisting of policy and privacy experts from around the world and focused on delivering deployment guidelines and best practices for privacy and security in all Liberty-enabled deployments. The group is currently compiling a Glossary of relevant terms to bridge the gap between technical specifications and legal definitions and regularly engages policy decision makers in both the public and private sectors to further address the business, legal and policy issues involved in successful digital identity management.


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