Yesterday it was announced that Microsoft, along with other leading technology companies, had joined the board of the OpenID foundation:
The OpenID Foundation today announced that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) have joined as its first corporate board members.
With these companies’ deep expertise in Internet and security technology, the OpenID Foundation strengthens the industry-wide effort to empower users with portable Web identities, or OpenIDs. This effort helps ensure the evolution of an open and interoperable Internet that helps people take control of how their personal information is shared on-line and aids on-line businesses to attract and retain more users by simplifying and securing the management of digital identities.
The OpenID Foundation was formed in June 2007 to support and promote the technology developed by the OpenID community.
A universal identification mechanism would cure a number of current Internet ills, but it will require more than board membership by some big name Internet companies to make it a reality. Only when OpenID authorization becomes a widely available option will there be an incentive for the average user to sign up. Until then it’s just another userid of which to keep track.
Today, Bill Gates and Craig Mundie keynoted the RSA Conference 2007 and announced a variety of security related Microsoft initiatives. Perhaps the biggest news was announced in detail on the blog of Microsoft’s Kim Cameron where Microsoft pledged interoperability between its CardSpace identity technolgy and the emerging open standard, OpenID:
JanRain, Microsoft, Sxip, and VeriSign will collaborate on interoperability between OpenID and Windows CardSpace™ to make the Internet safer and easier to use. Specifically (excerpted – ed.):
- Microsoft recognizes the growth of the OpenID community and believes OpenID plays a significant role in the Internet identity infrastructure. Kim Cameron, Chief Architect of Identity at Microsoft, will work with the OpenID community on authentication and anti-phishing.
- JanRain, Sxip, and VeriSign recognize that Information Cards provide significant anti-phishing, privacy, and convenience benefits to users. Information Cards, based on the open WS-Trust standard, are available though Windows CardSpace™.
- JanRain, Sxip and VeriSign plan to add Information Card support to future identity solutions.
- Microsoft plans to support OpenID in future Identity server products
- The four companies have agreed to work together on a “Using Information Cards with OpenID” profile that will make it possible for other developers and service providers to take advantage of these technology advancements.
The OpenID connection wasn’t surprising given Microsoft’s past failed attempt to go it alone in the identity business with Passport.
• Microsoft announced Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2007. Available to customers in May, ILM 2007 is a new solution that builds on Microsoft’s metadirectory and user provisioning capabilities by adding support for managing strong credentials such as certificates and smart cards. ILM provides an integrated and comprehensive solution for managing the entire life cycle of a user identity. Microsoft also unveiled a comprehensive strategy and road map for identity life-cycle management, including planned availability of ILM “2,” the next version of ILM, in late 2008.
• Microsoft launched the public beta of the new Forefront Server Security Management Console, a centralized, Web-based management solution for onsite or remote administration of Microsoft messaging and collaboration security solutions.
• Microsoft announced that it has enabled support for Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates in Internet Explorer 7, which is the first browser to fully support EV SSL Certificates. When a user visits a site with a valid EV Certificate, Internet Explorer 7 will alert the user to the available identity information by turning the background of the address bar green and displaying identity information. Twelve certificate authorities, including VeriSign Inc., Cybertrust and Entrust, are already issuing EV SSL Certificates.
• Microsoft has added four new data providers to the Microsoft Phishing Filter service: the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT), BrandProtect, MySpace.com and Netcraft Ltd., whose own broad set of Internet Explorer and Firefox toolbar anti-phishing data sources will be included as data feeds into the service. These new providers join Microsoft’s current anti-phishing data providers, which include Cyveillance, Digital Resolve, Internet Identity, MarkMonitor Inc., and RSA Security, the security division of EMC Corp.