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 Friday, January 30, 2009

A key standard – ITU-T Recommendation – on identity management (IdM) has been approved by the ITU-T.

Entitled “NGN Identity Management Framework,” the Recommendation (Y.2720) specifies a structured approach for designing, defining, and implementing interoperable identity management (IdM) solutions for next generation networks (NGN).

The term IdM is understood as "management by providers of trusted attributes of an entity such as a subscriber, a device, or a provider." IdM promises to reduce the need for multiple user names and passwords for each online service used, while maintaining privacy of personal information. Global IdM solutions will help diminish identity theft and fraud. Further, IdM is one of the key enablers for a simplified and secure interaction between customers and services such as e-commerce.

ITU-T Y.2720 results from a truly international effort involving governments, operators and equipment vendors from various countries, including China, Japan, Korea, the United States, and United Kingdom.

In a heterogeneous, converged environment such as NGN, the assurance, security and management of identity information faces unique challenges, including:

  • End users are increasingly using multiple identities
  • These identities may be associated with differing contexts and service privileges
  • The identities may only partially identify the end user
  • The identities may be used anywhere, anytime
  • The identities may not be interoperable between providers

Y.2720 addresses these challenges and identifies a set of functions and capabilities (e.g., administration, discovery, communication exchanges, correlation and binding, policy enforcement, authentication and authorization) to allow:

  • Assurance of identity information (e.g., identifiers, credentials, and attributes)
  • Assurance of the identity of an entity (e.g., users/subscribers, user devices, service providers, and network elements)
  • Enablement of business and security applications.

The framework defined in Y.2720 provides a holistic view of IdM in NGN. It lays the foundation for developing specific aspects of IdM, including detailed requirements, mechanisms and procedures which will form the next stage of work for ITU-T experts.

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