Thursday, April 03, 2008

Identity API for the Internet Identity Layer

Patrick Harding has a great post today on "A Model for an Internet Identity Layer". He breaks down the Identity Layer into three sub-layers. It addition he points out that...

In addition, we have found that applications developers are spending far too much time concerning themselves with the lower levels of the identity layer. App developers need to be able to leverage a standard identity API interface that interacts with the claims sub-layer. The developer should receive all the information it needs via this API directly from the claims sub-layer. This information obviously manifests as claims and as such means that application, by default, must become claims aware. Today, this likely just means user attributes or a role value, but in the future this may include actual authorization decisions. Leveraging a standard API that allows an application to plug-and–play with the identity layer offers some future proofing as the identity protocols underneath change.

Interestingly enough, Phil Hunt talks specifically about this issue his post yesterday.

You see, the idea isn't just to support identity privacy and governance, but to create an application identity API (aka Attribute Services API) that allows applications to become decoupled these issues of having to support all the protocols and technologies out there. It lets the enterprise's decide how and when applications should access identity information and by what means.

The API the Phil references is the IGF AttrSvcs API that is part of the openLiberty project. I believe this API address a key component of the "Identity Interface" and "claims sub-layer". It's going to be very important to track policy at the "Identity Interface" and the Identity Governance Framework addresses these issues.

No comments: