Big News in Identity Today
Project Higgins â€“ which is being managed by the Eclipse open source foundation — is developing software for “user-centric” identity management, an emerging trend in security software. It enables individuals to actively manage and control their online personal information, such as bank account, telephone and credit card numbers, or medical and employment records — rather than institutions managing that information as they do today. People will decide what information they want shared with trusted online websites that use the software.
This is the first user-centric identity management effort to follow the open source software model, where hundreds of thousands of developers contribute — and continually drive improvements through collaborative innovation. Being an open source effort, Higgins will support any computer running Linux*, Windows* or any operating system, and will support any identity management system.
“To move online security to the next level, there has to be fundamental resolve among consumers, government and business to quickly adopt a system where the individual has more control over how information about them is managed and shared,” said John Clippinger, Senior Fellow for The Berkman Center. “Our aim is to construct an open and widely accessible software framework that puts the individual at the center of the identity management universe. With this framework in place, it will be easier for society to begin the migration to more secure online environments, where trusted networks can not only be easily formed, but effectively enforced. For in the end, security is not just technological, but social.â€
Higgins will make it simple and secure for someone to change an address across all their online accounts with a single keystroke; delegate who can see what elements of their medical records; or change a password across online banking and brokerage accounts. For example, a person can grant their insurance company broad access to their personal information and medical records, while at the same time limiting the amount of data made available to their cable company. In turn, businesses can create new channels of communication with customers â€“ enabling information to be shared securely across networks to deliver targeted, relevant products and services.