ITU begins work on interoperable federated ID standards

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set up an identity management working group to help bring together the different federated identity management standards.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set up an identity management working group to help bring together the different federated identity management standards.

The ITU said the use of multiple usernames and passwords represented a boon to hackers, identity thieves and other cybercriminals, and was causing substantial financial loss for companies and individuals.

The organisation aims to develop a “technology- and platform-independent solution” to promote the use of single sign-on federated identity management.

The new ITU focus group on identity management is open to national bodies, companies and individuals to share their knowledge and co-ordinate their identity management.

The aim, said the ITU, was to bring interoperability to solutions by providing an open mechanism that would let different identity management solutions communicate with each other, even as each different solution continued to evolve.

Such a "trust-metric" system has not existed until now, according to the ITU, which said interoperability between existing solutions would provide significant benefits, such as increased trust by users of online services, as well as improved cybersecurity, less spam, and seamless "nomadic" roaming between services worldwide.

Abbie Barbir, chairman of the ITU's identity management working group, and Nortel’s standards adviser, said, "Our main focus is on how to achieve the common goals of the telecommunications and identity management communities. Nobody can go it alone in this space - a system must have global acceptance. There is now a common understanding that we can achieve this goal."

However, the ITU’s work may already have been usurped by the Open ID system. Microsoft, AOL and a host of other large players have recently given their support to this initiative.

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