Identity Management Systems

Identity Management Systems

Waleed Alrodhan (Imam Muhammed Ibn Saud University, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-498-7.ch012
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Abstract

Next, we discuss the practicality of identity management systems, and consider how their practicality can be enhanced by developing reliable integration and delegation schemes. We also provide overviews of the Project Concordia integration framework, and the Shibboleth and OAuth delegation frameworks, as well as reviewing the related literature.
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Introduction

An identity management system enables authoritative sources to perform identity management tasks via an operational framework. Most of today’s web-based identity management systems adhere to one of the practical identity management models described in the previous chapter(i.e. the isolated, Information Card-based or Federated identity management models).

The last few years have seen the development of a number of web-based identity management systems, including AOL OpenAuthi, Yahoo BBAuthii, and Flickr Authentication APIiii. Many of these systems are isolated, and they are largely not interoperable with one another.

After an open dialogue with a number of identity management experts, in 2005 Microsoft published its Laws of Identity (Cameron, 2005). These laws reflects Microsoft’s vision of the requirements that should be met by any web-based identity management system. A list of these laws, with Microsoft’s interpretation of them, is given below (note that we have changed the terminology slightly to use the term ‘identity management system’ instead of ‘identity system’).

  • 1.

    User control and consent: The identity management system must only reveal information identifying a user with the user’s consent.

  • 2.

    Minimal disclosure for a constrained use: The solution which discloses the least amount of identifying information and best limits its use is the most stable long term solution.

  • 3.

    Justifiable parties: The identity management system must be designed so that the disclosure of identifying information is limited to parties having a necessary and justifiable place in a given identity relationship.

  • 4.

    Directed identity: The identity management system must support both ‘omnidirectional’ identifiers for use by public entities and ‘unidirectional’ identifiers for use by private entities.

  • 5.

    Pluralism of operators and technologies: The identity management system must channel and enable the inter-working of multiple identity technologies run by multiple identity providers.

  • 6.

    Human integration: The identity management system must define the human user to be a component of the distributed system, integrated through unambiguous human-machine communication mechanisms offering protection against identity attacks.

  • 7.

    Consistent experience across contexts: The identity management system must guarantee its users a simple, consistent experience while enabling separation of contexts through multiple operators and technologies.

It seems reasonable to believe that, by following the laws stated above, identity management systems can reach an acceptable level of usability, reliability, flexibility, and privacy. We also observe that a number of these laws were derived from the OECD principles for personal data protection (OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, 1980).

In this chapter we describe five identity management systems and frameworks, namely Microsoft CardSpace, Higgins, the Liberty Alliance Project, Shibboleth, and OpendID. We also discuss enhancing the practicality of identity management systems by enhancing both their interoperability (using integration schemes) and their usability and flexibility (using delegation schemes).

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