OASIS Approves Interoperability Standard for Information Cards

OASIS members have approved Identity Metasystem Interoperability (IMI) version 1.0 as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. IMI is best known as the technical protocol that enables Information Cards, a new way for people to register, login, and share information with websites without needing a new username and password for each site.

IMI was advanced by representatives of IBM, Microsoft, CA, EMC, Novell, and others.

"Information Cards offer the best of both worlds—greater privacy and easier access," said Marc Goodner of Microsoft, chair of the OASIS IMI Technical Committee. "As an approved OASIS Standard, IMI assures interoperability across platforms and services, which will result in Information Card usage becoming even more widespread."

Information Cards are the digital equivalent of the cards people carry in their wallet or purse. They are stored in a new application called a card selector and carry information about a person's identity and relationship to the card provider, such as their employer, bank, library, store, etc.

"Most people will have a variety of Information Cards in their card selector just like they have in their wallet today. With one click they can select the one they want to use at a particular website—no more need to remember multiple usernames and passwords," said Drummond Reed, Executive Director of the Information Card Foundation and a member of the IMI Technical Committee. "They are also the first standard way to prove information about you (such as your age, voting district, employer, or credit rating) on-line. IMI 1.0 becoming an OASIS Standard is a big step forward towards an easier, safer, and more productive Internet."

"We are seeing an international convergence on issues of identity, privacy and security. The OECD pointed out in 2008, in Seoul, that we need better coordination on identity theft. The recent spate of cyber-attacks makes it clear that we need better systems in place--and that means the kind of crisp standards offered by IMI," added Laurent Liscia, OASIS executive director.

IMI is offered for implementation on a royalty-free basis.  Participation in the OASIS IMI Technical Committee is open to all companies, non-profit groups, governments, academic institutions, and individuals. As with all OASIS projects, archives of the Committee's work are accessible to both members and non-members, and OASIS hosts an open mail list for public comment.

Support for IMI:

"The creation of the IMI standard is a significant development in the maturing and industry acceptance of the Identity Metasystem vision," said Kim Cameron, Microsoft's Chief Identity Architect. "The standard provides assurances that Information Card implementations will interoperate based on industry standards, enabling claims-based identity to be employed in real-world scenarios."

"CA is happy to have helped evolve the new standard for interoperable implementations of Information Cards for our customers," said Jeffrey Broberg, senior director at CA, Inc. "With IMI, it will be much easier for Internet sites and service providers to offer their customers easy-to-use, claims-based privacy and security that they require across a wide range of services and platforms."

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