Liberty Alliance Releases Interface Specifications for Identity-based Web Services

Service interfaces offer privacy, personalization and security benefits to users

San Francisco, CA, April 12, 2005–Liberty Alliance, the global consortium for open federated identity standards and identity-based Web services, today announced the release of interface specifications that support presence, contact book and geo-location Web services. Deployable on Liberty’s Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF), these specifications offer new application functionality to enterprises and service providers, as well as privacy, personalization and security benefits to users.

“Identity is a requirement for successful Web services. Unless identity can be established and secured, no enterprise is going to be comfortable using Web services beyond their organizational borders, ” said George Goodman, president of Liberty Alliance and director of Intel’s Platform Virtualization Lab. “As a base framework, Liberty ID-WSF provides a proven blueprint for companies to extend their architectures to a federated Web services model, allowing trusted partners, customers and suppliers to access key resources and information across corporate boundaries. These new service interface specifications make this framework even more valuable for delivering more personalized services, with strong security and privacy mechanisms.”

LAP Services support Privacy, Security and Seamless Interaction
Contact Book, Geo-location and Presence represent the first service interface specifications developed by the Services Group, an expert group within the Liberty Alliance that develops specifications that exploit Liberty ID-WSF. The interfaces specified by this group are narrowly defined to address the needs of specific industries, applications and business models, in a rapid development fashion.

• Contact Book Service Interface: A common method for users to manage and share personal or business contacts regardless of contact book provider, enabling service providers to access or automatically update, at the user’s request, information like billing or shipping address.
• Geo-location Service Interface: An interoperable way to automatically identify a person’s location, at the user’s request, to provide services like weather, news, travel or currency updates or directions to a chosen location.
• Presence Service Interface: A common way for users to share presence information, such as whether they are online, offline, on the phone or in a meeting, with any service provider for the purpose of communicating availability.

The three service interfaces are designed to function individually or in a seamless unified fashion. As with ID Personal Profile and ID Employee Profile, previously released service interfaces available with the first version of ID-WSF, each has been created to enhance user control of invoked Web services, in a privacy-respecting manner. Each has been created to enhance user control of invoked Web services, in a privacy-respecting manner.

For example, a consumer might use the Geo-location service via a mobile phone when looking for movie locations. The service provider simply “recognizes” where the user is situated and delivers the info. The user may then choose to let her friends know where she is via the Contact Book service and send out a single message to 20 people. The Contact Book service may then invoke Presence to determine how the user’s friends want to be contacted (i.e. via mobile phone, laptop, etc.). Some may indicate they want to be contacted via mobile phone. Others may want to be contacted via laptop. Presence takes care of sending the messages to the designated devices. Contact book could also be used to invoke Geo-location if the user wants to reach friends within a certain radius.

From a personalization standpoint, these services offer rich end user benefits in being able to directly affect and control information provided. From a privacy standpoint, checks and balances are also in place. For example, with the Geo-location service, native privacy control measures exist which offer user-friendly interfaces and control. Through a user Interaction Service, a Location Provider can request permission to disclose a user’s location on the fly. This reassures users that sensitive data is properly protected.

“Web service application interface standards are an important step in helping organizations deploy more secure and functional Web services,” said Ray Wagner, vice president, Gartner Research. “These specifications could allow service providers to offer users more options for managing identity information within a secure Web services framework.”

The three service interface specifications are currently available in draft form at https://www.projectliberty.org/resources/specifications.php#box3. As with all technical specifications from Liberty Alliance, the public is invited to review and comment on the specifications. Additional information on the specifications is also available in application use cases.

About Liberty ID-WSF
The Liberty Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF) standard supports the development of Web services. Web services typically require a number of standard functions, including authentication, security, service discovery, and the communication of service policy. Liberty ID-WSF provides such functionality, allowing the development of secure, privacy-protected, rich and interoperable Web services.

About the Liberty Alliance
Liberty Alliance (www.projectliberty.org) is an alliance of more than 150 companies, non-profit and government organizations from around the globe. The consortium is committed to developing an open standard for federated network identity that supports all current and emerging network devices. Federated identity offers businesses, governments, employees and consumers a more convenient and secure way to control identity information in today’s digital economy, and is a key component in driving the use of e-commerce, personalized data services, as well as Web-based services. Membership is open to all commercial and non-commercial organizations.

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