Liberty Alliance elects new president

Von Bob Francis

The Liberty Alliance has announced a new president to head the organization designed to create open standards and business guidelines for federated identity management.

George Goodman, director of Intel Corp."s Visualization and Trust Lab, has been elected president of the Liberty Alliance Management Board, a one-year position.

The announcement comes on the heels of Microsoft Corp. backing away from its Passport technology, which was once considered a prime contender for the Liberty Alliance"s identity management standards. Liberty Alliance has more than 100 participants, including technology giants such as Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., and Intel.

Goodman said the Liberty Alliance will continue its work on defining and solving business and policy issues, particularly in the areas of trust and identity assurance. "That is our primary business, but we will also continue to look at addressing the problem of identity theft. That is obviously an issue we should be looking at," he said.

Since Liberty shipped Web services specifications in 2003 and now that several member organizations have implemented projects based on these specifications, Web services case studies and other output on this topic will also be available in the coming year, said Goodman.

?As any organization in the ?technology trenches? knows, experience is an excellent teacher. Our membership has deployed open standards-based federated identity management solutions around the world. These companies are uniquely suited to address many of today?s identity management challenges and questions based simply on having been there first,? said Goodman.

The Liberty Alliance gained some industry momentum last year when IBM joined its ranks. Liberty Alliance was established in 2001, but IBM was initially reluctant to back the consortium, choosing instead to pursue its own identity management standards.

However, as Liberty proved its technology, customer demand pushed IBM to work with Liberty"s specifications. IBM signed a deal earlier this year with Orange SA, France"s Télécom SA mobile division, to create a single sign-on service for Orange"s 50 million cellular phone customers that complies with the Liberty specifications. The initiative is one of the largest so far using the Liberty guidelines and is touted by the consortium as a vote of confidence in its work.