The Liberty Alliance today released a framework document designed to help organisations address the legal considerations involved in deploying federated identity management systems.
The Liberty Alliance Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust was developed to assist legal and executive management teams in developing trusted relationships among organisations participating in a federated network.
"Today's news marks an important step in eliminating the last major hurdle to the wide-scale deployment of federated identity management: how to best approach the legal issues involved in building federated networks across organisational boundaries," said Roger Sullivan, president of the Liberty Alliance management board and vice president of Oracle Identity Management.
"With the release of the legal frameworks document, businesses and governments now have a framework to aid the development of legal and contractual agreements necessary for building 'Circle of Trust' relationships."
The Liberty Alliance framework aims to provide legal and executive management teams with model business structures and terminology to assist with the identification of legal and contractual issues involved in building an effective 'Circle of Trust'.
The document explains the rationale for establishing contractual relationships, offering practical guidance for developing contractual frameworks depending on the goals and objectives of the organisation.
This is the first industry resource to discuss and illustrate a range of suitable contractual models, according to the Liberty Alliance.
The models identified in the frameworks document are the Collaborative Model, the Consortium Model and the Centralised Model.
"In order to enter into a federation, prospective members need to have confidence in their partners, their technology and their agreements," said Bob Blakley, principal analyst at Burton Group.
"Gaining confidence in partners has long been a standard business activity. Confidence in federation technology has been growing over the past couple of years with increasing maturity and standardisation of federation mechanisms and protocols.
"Standardised federation technology is now ready to support serious business. What's left is confidence in federation agreements.
"The Liberty Alliance's Contractual Framework Outline for Circles of Trust provides businesses with a starting point for their thinking and a context within which to discuss federation issues with potential partners.
"As such it is a necessary step on the road to a future in which federations are routinely and efficiently created online."
The Liberty Alliance framework has been developed by the organisation's Public Policy Expert Group working with invited legal experts.
The document builds on the recently released Deployment Guidelines for Policy Decision Makers (PDF).
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