April 14, 2003, 10:22 AM — Technology trade shows have always been occasions for companies to trot out their new products for display to a curious public. Increasingly, however, they are also a forum in which industry organizations publicize their latest initiatives, guidelines and working groups.
That trend is evident at the RSA Conference, an electronic security event being held in San Francisco from April 13 through April 17, where no fewer than three separate technology standards organizations will be making announcements.
Perhaps the highest profile development on the standards front comes from The Liberty Alliance Project, which appears ready to release draft specifications for the next phase in its network identity architecture on Monday.
While declining to divulge details about the announcement on Monday, Simon Nicholson of Sun Microsystems Inc., chair of the Liberty Alliance's business and marketing expert group, said the new draft specifications will "fill out the blueprint for building and deploying personalized identity-based Web services."
"Web services" refers to software applications that can exchange information without regard to the hardware platform, operating system or network topology used on either side of the exchange.
In an announcement in March, the consortium aimed the release of two draft specifications at mid-2003: the Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF) and the Identity Services Interface Specifications (ID-SIS). A source close to the Liberty Alliance this week said a draft of the ID-WSF specifications will be unveiled at RSA.
Those specifications outline the components needed to build interoperable Web services that protect user identity and the privacy of data that is exchanged.
The Liberty Alliance will also be touting the progress made since the July 2002 launch of Phase 1 of its architecture, the Identity Federation Framework (ID-FF). That framework provided standards for simplified sign-on and the linking of user accounts among businesses with established relationships.
Representatives from eighteen "big name" companies will be on hand to demonstrate interoperability among systems based on Liberty Alliance specifications, according to Nicholson.
Those services will range from projects that are in the "late beta" phase of testing to those that are in production, and they will highlight how the Liberty Alliance specifications can be used to make user sign-on easier and less complicated, he said.
Also at RSA, a group of application security vendors affiliated with the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) will announce a proposal for a new eXtensible Markup Language (XML) standard for application vulnerabilities.