National ID card databases 'should be open source'

The UK government’s national ID card system should be based on open-source standards to build flexibility into the scheme, says a leading identity standards organisation.

The UK government’s national ID card system should be based on open-source standards to build flexibility into the scheme, says a leading identity standards organisation.

The recommendation comes from the Liberty Alliance, which is seeking to drive the take-up of open-standard solutions to deliver web-based federated identity management.

Backed by the likes of IBM and Sun, the Liberty Alliance argues that open standards are the only way forward if the national ID scheme is to make it easier to deliver government services to the public, as well as improve national security.

The government aims to start issuing national ID cards by 2008, but it is still not clear what type of platform it intends to use. Federated identity management on the web allows consumers or employees to access different websites using the same username and password.

Donal O'Shea, executive director of the Liberty Alliance, said a federated open-source approach to supplying government information and services “was the only way”, as long-term government databases needed built-in flexibility so they could be easily changed to support new and updated services.

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