Green Dam and the First Law of Identity

China Daily posted this opinion piece by Chen Weihua that provides context on how the Green Dam proposal could ever have emerged.  I found it striking because it brings to the fore the relationship of the initiative to the First Law of Identity (User Control).  As in so many cases where the Laws are broken, the result is passionate opposition and muddled technology.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology&#39s latest regulation to preinstall filtering software on all new computers by July 1 has triggered public concern, anger and protest.

A survey on Sina.com, the largest news portal in China, showed that an overwhelming 83 percent of the 26,232 people polled said they would not use the software, known as Green Dam. Only 10 percent were in favor.

Despite the official claim that the software was designed to filter pornography and unhealthy content on the Internet, many people, including some computer experts, have disputed its effectiveness and are worried about its possible infringement on privacy, its potential to disrupt the operating system and other software, and the waste of $6.1 million of public fund on the project.

These are all legitimate concerns. But behind the whole story, one pivotal question to be raised is whether we believe people should have the right to make their own choice on such an issue, or the authorities, or someone else, should have the power to make such a decision.

Compared with 30 years ago, the country has achieved a lot in individual freedom by giving people the right to make their own decisions regarding their personal lives.

Under the planned economy three decades ago, the government decided the prices of all goods. Today, the market decides 99 percent of the prices based on supply and demand.

Three decades ago, the government even decided what sort of shirts and trousers were proper for its people. Flared trousers, for example, were banned. Today, our streets look like a colorful stage.

Till six years ago, people still needed an approval letter from their employers to get married or divorced. However bizarre it may sound to the people today, the policy had ruled the nation for decades.

The divorce process then could be absurdly long. Representatives from trade union, women&#39s federation and neighborhood committee would all come and try to convince you that divorce is a bad idea – bad for the couple, bad for their children and bad for society.

It could be years or even decades before the divorce was finally approved. Today, it only takes 15 minutes for a couple to go through the formalities to tie or untie the knot at local civil affair bureaus.

Less than three decades ago, the rigid hukou (permanent residence permit) system didn&#39t allow people to work in another city. Even husbands and wives with hukou in different cities had to work and live in separate places. Today, over 200 million migrant workers are on the move, although hukou is still a constraint.

Less than 20 years ago, doctors were mandated to report women who had abortions to their employers. Today, they respect a woman&#39s choice and privacy.

No doubt we have witnessed a sea of change, with more and more people making their own social and economic decisions .

The government, though still wielding huge decision-making power, has also started to consult people on some decisions by hosting public hearings, such as the recent one on tap water pricing in Shanghai.

But clearly, some government department and officials are still used to the old practice of deciding for the people without seeking their consent.

In the Green Dam case, buyers, mostly adults, should be given the complete freedom to decide whether they want the filtering software to be installed in their computers or not.

Respect for an individual&#39s right to choice is an important indicator of a free society, depriving them of which is gross transgression.

Let&#39s not allow the Green Dam software to block our way into the future.

The many indications that the technology behind Green Dam weakens the security fabric of China indicates Chen Weihua is right in more ways than one. 

Just for completeness, I should point out that the initiative also breaks the Third Law (Justifiable Parties) if adults have not consciously enabled the software and chosen to have the government participate in their browsing.

Green Dam goes in all the wrong directions

The Chinese Government&#39s Green Dam sets an important precedent:  government trying to achieve its purposes by taking control over the technology installed on peoples’ personal computers.  Here&#39s how the Chinese Government&#39s explained its initiative:

‘In order to create a green, healthy, and harmonious internet environment, to avoid exposing youth to the harmful effects of bad information, The Ministry of Information Industry, The Central Spiritual Civilization Office, and The Commerce Ministry, in accordance with the requirements of “The Government Purchasing Law,” are using central funds to purchase rights to “Green Dam Flower Season Escort”(Henceforth “Green Dam”) … for one year along with associated services, which will be freely provided to the public.

‘The software is for general use and testing. The software can effectively filter improper language and images and is prepared for use by computer factories.

‘In order to improve the government’s ability to deal with Web content of low moral character, and preserve the healthy development of children, the regulation and demands pertaining to the software are as follows: 

  1. Computers produced and sold in China must have the latest version of “Green Dam” pre-installed, imported computers should have the latest version of the software installed prior to sale.
  2. The software should be installed on computer hard drives and available discs for subsequent restoration
  3. The providers of “Green Dam” have to provide support to computer manufacturers to facilitate installation
  4. Computer manufacturers must complete installation and testing prior to the end of June. As of July 1, all computers should have “Green Dam” pre-installed.
  5. Every month computer manufacturers and the provider of Green Dam should give MII data on monthly sales and the pre-installation of the software. By February 2010, an annual report should be submitted.’

What does the software do?  According to OpenNet Initiative:

Green Dam exerts unprecedented control over users’ computing experience:  The version of the Green Dam software that we tested, when operating under its default settings, is far more intrusive than any other content control software we have reviewed. Not only does it block access to a wide range of web sites based on keywords and image processing, including porn, gaming, gay content, religious sites and political themes, it actively monitors individual computer behavior, such that a wide range of programs including word processing and email can be suddenly terminated if content algorithm detects inappropriate speech [my emphasis – Kim]. The program installs components deep into the kernel of the computer operating system in order to enable this application layer monitoring. The operation of the software is highly unpredictable and disrupts computer activity far beyond the blocking of websites.

The functionality of Green Dam goes far beyond that which is needed to protect children online and subjects users to security risks:   The deeply intrusive nature of the software opens up several possibilities for use other than filtering material harmful to minors. With minor changes introduced through the auto-update feature, the architecture could be used for monitoring personal communications and Internet browsing behavior. Log files are currently recorded locally on the machine, including events and keywords that trigger filtering. The auto-update feature can used to change the scope and targeting of filtering without any notification to users.

How is it being received?  Wikipedia says:

Online polls conducted by leading Chinese web portals revealed poor acceptance of the software by netizens. On Sina and Netease, over 80% of poll participants said they would not consider or were not interested in using the software; on Tencent, over 70% of poll participants said it was unnecessary for new computers to be preloaded with filtering software; on Sohu, over 70% of poll participants said filtering software would not effectively prevent minors from browsing inappropriate websites.  A poll conducted by the Southern Metropolis Daily showed similar results.

In addition, the software is a virus transmission system.   Researchers from the University of Michigan concluded:

We have discovered remotely-exploitable vulnerabilities in Green Dam, the censorship software reportedly mandated by the Chinese government. Any web site a Green Dam user visits can take control of the PC [my emphasis – Kim].

We examined the Green Dam software and found that it contains serious security vulnerabilities due to programming errors. Once Green Dam is installed, any web site the user visits can exploit these problems to take control of the computer. This could allow malicious sites to steal private data, send spam, or enlist the computer in a botnet. In addition, we found vulnerabilities in the way Green Dam processes blacklist updates that could allow the software makers or others to install malicious code during the update process.

We found these problems with less than 12 hours of testing, and we believe they may be only the tip of the iceberg. Green Dam makes frequent use of unsafe and outdated programming practices that likely introduce numerous other vulnerabilities. Correcting these problems will require extensive changes to the software and careful retesting. In the meantime, we recommend that users protect themselves by uninstalling Green Dam immediately.

There is no doubt that government has a legitimate interest in the safety of the Internet, and in the safety of our children.  But neither goal can be achieved with any of the unfortunate methods being used here. 

Rather than so-called “blacklisting”, the alternative is to construct virtual networks that are dramatically safer for children than the Internet as a whole.  As such virtual networks emerge, technology can be created allowing parents to limit the access of their young children to those networks.

It&#39s a big job to build such “green zones”.  But government is the strong force that could serve as a catalyst in bringing this about.   The key would be to organize virtual districts and environments that would be fun and safe for children, so children want to play in them.

This kind of virtual world doesn&#39t require the generalized banning of sites or ideas or prurient thoughts – or require government to “improve” the nature of human beings.

Enhanced driver&#39s licences too stupid for their own good

Enhanced driver&#39s licences too smart for their own good appeared in the Toronto Star recently.  It was written by Roch Tassé (coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group) and Stuart Trew (The Council of Canadians’ trade campaigner). 

A common refrain coming out of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano&#39s visit to Ottawa and Detroit last week was that the Canada-U.S. border is getting thicker and stickier even as Canadian officials work overtime to implement measures that are meant to get us across that border more efficiently and securely.

One of those measures –  “enhanced” drivers licences (EDLs) now available in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Manitoba – has been rushed into production to meet today&#39s implementation date of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This unilateral U.S. law requires all travellers entering the United States to show a valid passport or other form of secure identification when crossing the border.

But as privacy and civil liberties groups have been saying for a while, the EDL card poses its own thick and sticky questions that have not been satisfactorily answered by either the federal government, which has jurisdiction over privacy and citizenship matters, or the provincial ministries issuing the new “enhanced” licences.

For example, why introduce a new citizenship document specific to the Canada-U.S. border when the internationally recognized passport will do the trick?

Or, as even the smart-card industry wonders, why include technology used for monitoring the movement of livestock and other commodities in a citizenship document?

More crucially, why ignore calls from Canada&#39s federal and provincial privacy commissioners, as well as groups like the civil liberty groups to put a freeze on “enhanced” licences until they can be adequately debated and assessed by Parliament? It&#39s not as if there&#39s nothing to talk about.

First, the radio frequency identification devices (RFID) that will be used to transmit the personal ID number in your EDL to border officials contain no security or authentication features, cannot be turned off, and are designed to be read at distances of more than 10 metres using inexpensive and commercially available technology.

This creates a significant threat of “surreptitious location tracking,” according to Canada&#39s privacy commissioners. The protective sleeve proposed by several provincial governments is demonstrably unreliable at blocking the RFID signal and constitutes an unacceptable privacy risk.

Facial recognition screening of all card applicants, as proposed in Ontario and B.C. to reduce fraud, has a shaky success rate at best, creating a significant and unacceptable risk of false positive matches, which could increase wait times as even more people are pulled aside for questioning.

Recently, a journalist for La Presse demonstrated just how insecure Quebec&#39s EDLs are by successfully reading the number of a colleague&#39s card and cloning that card with a different but similar photograph. It might explain why, when announcing Quebec&#39s EDL card this year, Premier Jean Charest could point only to hypothetical benefits.

Furthermore, the range of personal information collected through EDL programs, once shared with U.S. authorities, can be circulated excessively among a whole range of agencies under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. It&#39s important to note that Canada&#39s privacy laws do not hold once that information crosses the border.

So while the border may appear to be getting thicker for some, it is becoming increasingly permeable to flows of personal information on Canadian citizens to U.S. security and immigration databases, where it can be used to mine for what the DHS considers risky behaviour.

Some provincial governments have taken these concerns seriously. Based on the high costs involved with a new identity document, the lack of clear benefits to travellers, the significant privacy risks, and the lack of prior public consultation, the Saskatchewan government suspended its own proposed EDL project this year. The New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island governments, citing excessive costs, have also abandoned theirs.

The Harper government owes it to Canadians to freeze the EDL program now and hold a parliamentary hearing into the new technology, its alleged benefits and the stated privacy risks.

Napolitano has repeatedly said that from now on Canadians must treat the U.S. border as any other international checkpoint. It might feel like an inconvenience for some who are used to crossing into the U.S. without a passport, but the costs – real and in terms of privacy – of these provincial EDL projects will be much higher.

My main problem with this article is the title, which should have been, “Enhanced driver&#39s licenses too stupid for their own good”. 

That&#39s because we have the technology to design smart driver&#39s licenses and passports so they have NONE of the problems described – but so far, our governments don&#39t do it. 

I expect it is we as technologists who are largely responsible for this.  We haven&#39t found the ways of communicating with governments, and more to the point, with the public and its advocates, about the fact that these problems can be eliminated. 

From what I have been told, the new German identity card represents a real step forward in this regard.  I promise to look into the details and write about them.

Ethical Foundations of Cybersecurity

Britian&#39s Enterprise Privacy Group is starting a new series of workshops that deal squarely with ethics.  While specialists in ethics have achieved a signficant role in professions like medicine, this is one of the first workshops I&#39ve seen that takes on equivalent issues in our field of work.  Perhaps that&#39s why it is already oversubscribed… 

‘The continuing openess of the Internet is fundamental to our way of life, promoting the free flow of ideas to strengthen democratic ideals and deliver the economic benefits of globalisation.  But a fundamental challenge for any government is to balance measures intended to protect security and the right to life with the impact these may have on the other rights that we cherish and which form the basis of our society.
 
&#39The security of cyber space poses particular challenges in meeting tests of necessity and proportionality as its distributed, de-centralised form means that powerful tools may need to be deployed to tackle those who wish to do harm.  A clear ethical foundation is essential to ensure that the power of these tools is not abused.
 
&#39The first workshop in this series will be hosted at the Cabinet Office on 17 June, and will explore what questions need to be asked and answered to develop this foundation?

‘The event is already fully subscribed, but we hope to host further events in the near future with greater opportunities for all EPG Members to participate.’

Let&#39s hope EPG eventually turns these deliberations into a document they can share more widely.  Meanwhile, this article seems to offer an introduction to the literature.

Definitions for a Common Identity Framework

The Proposal for a Common Identity Framework begins by explaining the termnology it uses.  This wasn&#39t intended to open up old wounds or provoke ontological debate.  We just wanted to reduce ambiguity about what we actually mean to say in the rest of the paper.  To do this, we did think very carefully about what we were going to call things, and tried to be very precise about our use of terms.

The paper presents its definitions in alphabetical order to faciliate lookup while reading the proposal, but I&#39ll group them differently here to facilitate discussion.

Let&#39s start with the series of definitions pertaining to claims.  It is key to the document that claims are assertions by one subject about another subject that are “in doubt”.  This is a fundamental notion since it leads to an understanding that one of the basic services of a multi-party model must be “Claims Approval”.  The simple assumption by systems that assertions are true – in other words the failure to factor out “approval” as a separate service – has lead to conflation and insularity in earlier systems.

  • Claim:  an assertion made by one subject about itself or another subject that a relying party considers to be “in doubt” until it passes “Claims Approval”
  • Claims Approval: The process of evaluating a set of claims associated with a security presentation to produce claims trusted in a specific environment so it can used for automated decision making and/or mapped to an application specific identifier.
  • Claims Selector:  A software component that gives the user control over the production and release of sets of claims issued by claims providers. 
  • Security Token:  A set of claims.

The concept of claims provider is presented in relation to “registration” of subjects.  Then claims are divided into two broad categories:  primordial and substantive…

  • Registration:  The process through which a primordial claim is associated with a subject so that a claims provider can subsequently issue a set of claims about that subject.
  • Claims Provider:  An individual, organization or service that:
  1. Registers subjects and associates them with primordial claims, with the goal of subsequently exchanging their primordial claims for a set of substantive claims about the subject that can be presented at a relying party; or
  2. Interprets one set of substantive claims and produces a second set (this specialization of a claims provider is called a claims transformer).  A claims set produced by a claims provider is not a primordial claim.
  • Claims Transformer:  A claims provider that produces one set of substantive claims from another set.

To understand this better let&#39s look at what we mean by  “primordial” and “substantive” claims.  The word “primordial” may seem a strange at first, but its use will be seen to be rewardingly precise:  Constituting the beginning or starting point, from which something else is derived or developed, or on which something else depends. (OED) .

As will become clear, the claims-based model works through the use of “Claims Providers”.  In the most basic case, subjects prove to a claims provider that they are an entity it has registered, and then the claims provider makes “substantive” claims about them.  The subject proves that it is the registered entity by using a “primordial” claim – one which is thus the beginning or starting point, and from which the provider&#39s substantive claims are derived.  So our definitions are the following: 

  • Primordial Claim: A proof – based on secret(s) and/or biometrics – that only a single subject is able to present to a specific claims provider for the purpose of being recognized and obtaining a set of substantive claims.
  • Substantive claim:  A claim produced by a claims provider – as opposed to a primordial claim.

Passwords and secret keys are therefore examples of “primordial” claims, whereas SAML tokens and X.509 certificates (with DNs and the like) are examples of substantive claims. 

Some will say, “Why don&#39t you just use the word ‘credential'”?   The answer is simple.  We avoided “credential” precisely because people use it to mean both the primordial claim (e.g. a secret key) and the substantive claim (e.g. a certificate or signed statement).   This conflation makes it unsuitable for expressing the distinction between primordial and substantive, and this distinction is essential to properly factoring the services in the model.

There are a number of definitions pertaining to subjects, persons and identity itself:

  • Identity:  The fact of being what a person or a thing is, and the characteristics determining this.

This definition of identity is quite different from the definition that conflates identity and “identifier” (e.g. kim@foo.bar being called an identity).  Without clearing up this confusion, nothing can be understood.   Claims are the way of communicating what a person or thing is – different from being that person or thing.  An identifier is one possible claim content.

We also distinguish between a “natural person”, a “person”, and a “persona”, taking into account input from the legal and policy community:

  • Natural person:  A human being…
  • Person:  an entity recognized by the legal system.  In the context of eID, a person who can be digitally identified.
  • Persona:  A character deliberately assumed by a natural person

A “subject” is much broader, including things like services:

  • Subject:  The consumer of a digital service (a digital representation of a natural or juristic person, persona, group, organization, software service or device) described through claims.

And what about user?

  • User:  a natural person who is represented by a subject.

The entities that depend on identity are called relying parties:

  • Relying party:  An individual, organization or service that depends on claims issued by a claims provider about a subject to control access to and personalization of a service.
  • Service:  A digital entity comprising software, hardware and/or communications channels that interacts with subjects.

Concrete services that interact with subjects (e.g. digital entities) are not to be confused with the abstract services that constitute our model:

  • Abstract services:  Architectural components that deliver useful services and can be described through high level goals, structures and behaviors.  In practice, these abstract services are refined into concrete service definitions and instantiations.

Concrete digital services, including both relying parties and claims providers, operate on the behalf of some “person” (in the sense used here of legal persons including organizations).  This implies operations and administration:

  • Administrative authority:  An organization responsible for the management of an administrative domain.
  • Administrative domain:  A boundary for the management of all business and technical aspects related to:
  1. A claims provider;
  2. A relying party; or
  3. A relying party that serves as its own claims provider 

There are several definitions that are necessary to understand how different pieces of the model fit together:

  • ID-data base:  A collection of application specific identifiers used with automatic claims approval
  • Application Specific Identifier (ASID):  An identifier that is used in an application to link a specific subject to data in the application.
  • Security presentation:  A set consisting of elements like knowledge of secrets, possession of security devices or aspects of administration which are associated with automated claims approval.  These elements derive from technical policy and legal contracts of a chain of administrative domains.
  • Technical Policy:  A set of technical parameters constraining the behavior of a digital service and limited to the present tense.

And finally, there is the definition of what we mean by user-centric.  Several colleagues have pointed out that the word “user-centric” has been used recently to justify all kinds of schemes that usurp the autonomy of the user.  So we want to be very precise about what we mean in this paper:

  • User-centric:  Structured so as to allow users to conceptualize, enumerate and control their relationships with other parties, including the flow of information.

Proposal for a Common Identity Framework

Today I am posting a new paper called, Proposal for a Common Identity Framework: A User-Centric Identity Metasystem.

Good news: it doesn’t propose a new protocol!

Instead, it attempts to crisply articulate the requirements in creating a privacy-protecting identity layer for the Internet, and sets out a formal model for such a layer, defined through the set of services the layer must provide.

The paper is the outcome of a year-long collaboration between Dr. Kai Rannenberg, Dr. Reinhard Posch and myself. We were introduced by Dr. Jacques Bus, Head of Unit Trust and Security in ICT Research at the European Commission.

Each of us brought our different cultures, concerns, backgrounds and experiences to the project and we occasionally struggled to understand how our different slices of reality fit together. But it was in those very areas that we ended up with some of the most interesting results.

Kai holds the T-Mobile Chair for Mobile Business and Multilateral Security at Goethe University Frankfurt. He coordinates the EU research projects FIDIS  (Future of Identity in the Information Society), a multidisciplinary endeavor of 24 leading institutions from research, government, and industry, and PICOS (Privacy and Identity Management for Community Services).  He also is Convener of the ISO/IEC Identity Management and Privacy Technology working group (JTC 1/SC 27/WG 5)  and Chair of the IFIP Technical Committee 11 “Security and Privacy Protection in Information Processing Systems”.

Reinhard taught Information Technology at Graz University beginning in the mid 1970’s, and was Scientific Director of the Austrian Secure Information Technology Center starting in 1999. He has been federal CIO for the Austrian government since 2001, and was elected chair of the management board of ENISA (The European Network and Information Security Agency) in 2007. 

I invite you to look at our paper.  It aims at combining the ideas set out in the Laws of Identity and related papers, extended discussions and blog posts from the open identity community, the formal principles of Information Protection that have evolved in Europe, research on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), outputs from key working groups and academic conferences, and deep experience with EU government digital identity initiatives.

Our work is included in The Future of Identity in the Information Society – a report on research carried out in a number of different EU states on topics like the identification of citizens, ID cards, and Virtual Identities, with an accent on privacy, mobility, interoperability, profiling, forensics, and identity related crime.

I’ll be taking up the ideas in our paper in a number of blog posts going forward. My hope is that readers will find the model useful in advancing the way they think about the architecture of their identity systems.  I’ll be extremely interested in feedback, as will Reinhard and Kai, who I hope will feel free to join into the conversation as voices independent from my own.

Information Cards in Industry Verticals

The recent European Identity Conference, hosted in Munich by the analyst firm Kuppinger Cole, had great content inspiring an ongoing stream of interesting conversations.   Importantly, attendance was up despite the economic climate, an outcome Tim Cole pointed out was predictable since identity technology is so key to efficiency in IT.

One of the people I met in person was James McGovern, well known for his Enterprise Architecture blog.  He is on a roll writing about ideas he discussed with a number of us at the conference, starting with this piece on use of Information Cards in industry verticals.  James knows a lot about both verticals and identity.  He has started a critical conversation, replete with the liminal questions he is known for:

‘Consider a scenario where you are an insurance carrier and you would like to have independent insurance agents leverage CardSpace for SSO. The rationale says that insurance agents have more personally identifiable information on consumers ranging from their financial information such as where they work, how much they earn, where they live, what they own to information about their medical history, etc. When they sell an insurance policy they will even take payment via credit cards. In other words, if there were a scenario where username/passwords should be demolished first, insurance should be at the top of the list.’

A great perception.  Scary, even.

‘Now, an independent insurance agent can do business with a plethora of carriers who all are competitors. The ideal scenario says that all of the carriers would agree to a common set of claims so as to insure card portability. The first challenge is that the insurance vertical hasn&#39t been truly successful in forming useful standards that are pervasive (NOTE: There is ACORD but it isn&#39t widely implemented) and therefore relying on a particular vertical to self-organize is problematic.

‘The business value – while not currently on the tongues of enterprise architects who work in the insurance vertical – says that by embracing information cards, they could minimally save money. By not having to manage so many disparate password reset approaches (each carrier has their own policies for password history, complexity and expiry) they can improve the user experience…

‘If I wanted to be a really good relying party, I think there are other challenges that would emerge. Today, I have no automated way of validating the quality of an identity provider and would have to do this as a bunch of one offs. So, within our vertical, we may have say 80,000 different insurance agencies whom could have their own identity provider. With such a large number, I couldn&#39t rely on white listing and there has to be a better way. We should of course attempt to define what information would need to be exposed at runtime in order for trust to be consumed.’

This raises the matter of how trust would be concretized within the various verticals.  White listing is obviously too cumbersome given the numbers.  James proposes an idea that I will paraphrase as follows:  use claims transformers run by trusted entities (like state departments of insurance) to vet incoming claims.  The idea would be to reuse the authorities already involved in making this kind of decision.

He goes on to examine the challenge of figuring out what identity proofing process has actually been used by an identity provider.  In a paper I collaborated on recently (I&#39ll be publishing it here soon) we included the proofing and registration processes as one element in a chain of factors we called the “security presentation”.  One of the points James makes is that it should be easy to include an explicit statement about the “security presentation” as one element of any claim-set being submitted (see Jame&#39s post for some good examples).  Another is that the relying party should be able to include a statement of its security presentation requirements in its policy.

James concludes with a set of action items that need to be addressed for Information Cards to be widely usedl in industry verticals:

‘1. Microsoft needs to redouble its efforts to sell information cards as a business value proposition where the current pitch is towards a technical audience. It is nice that it will be part of Geneva but this means that its capabilities would be fully leveraged unless it is understood by more than folks who do just infrastructure work.

‘2. Oasis is a wonderful standards organization and can add value as a forum to organize common claims at an industry vertical level. Since identity is not insurance specific, we have to acknowledge that using insurance specific bodies such as ACORD may not be appropriate. I would be game to participate on a working group to generate common claims for the insurance vertical.

‘3. When it comes to developing enterprise applications using the notion of claims, …developers need to do a quick paradigm shift. I can envision a few of us individuals who are also book authors coming up with a book entitled: Thinking in Claims and XACML as there is no guide to help developers understand proper architecture going forward. If such a guide existed, we… (could avoid repeating) …the same mistakes of the past.

‘4. I am wildly convinced that industry analysts are having the wrong conversations around identity. Ask yourself, how many ECM systems have on their 2009 roadmap, the ability to consume a claim? How many BPM systems? In case you haven&#39t figured it out, the answer is a big fat zero. This says that the identity crowd is evangelizing to the wrong demographic. Industry analysts are measuring identity products what consumers really need which is to measure how many existing products can consume new approaches to identity. Does anyone have a clue as to how to get analysts such as Nick Malik, Gerry Gebel, Bob Blakely and others to change the conversation.

‘5. We need to figure out some additional identity standards that an IDP could expose to an RP to assert vetting, attestation, indemnification and other constructs to relying parties. This will require a small change in the way that identity selectors work but B2B user-centric approaches won&#39t scale without these approaches…’

I know some good work to formalize various aspects of the “security presentation” has been going on in one of the Liberty Alliance working groups – perhaps someone involved could post about the progress that has been made an how it ties in to some of James’ action items. 

James’ action items are all good.  I buy his point that Microsoft needs to take claims beyond the current “infrastructure” community – though I still see the participation of this community as absolutely key.  But we need – as an industry and as individual companies – to widen the discussion and start figuring out how claims can be used in concrete verticals.  As we do this, I expect to see many players, with very strong participation from Microsoft,  taking the new paradigm to the “business people” who will really benefit from the technology.

When Geneva is released to manufacturing later this year, it will be seen as a fundamental part of Active Directory and the Windows platform.  I expect that many programs will then start to kick in that turn up the temperature along the lines James proposes.

My only caution with respect to James’ argument is that I hope we can keep requirements simple in the first go-around.  I don&#39t think ALL the capabilities of claims have to be delivered “simultaneously”, though I think it is essential for architects like James to understand them and build our current deliverables in light of them. 

So I would add a sixth bullet to the five proposed by James, about beginning with extremely simplified profiles and getting them to work perfectly and interoperably before moving on to more advanced scenarios.  Of course, that means more work in nailing the most germane scenarios and determining their concrete requirements.  I expect James would agree with me on this (I guess I&#39ll find out, eh?…)

[By the way, James also has an intriguing graphic that appears with the piece, but doesn&#39t discuss it explicitly. I hope that is a treat that is coming…]