Intel to join Liberty Alliance

Industry trade group The Liberty Alliance Project will announce on Thursday that it is adding computer chip maker Intel Corp. to its list of members, according to a Liberty Alliance spokeswoman.

Intel will be added to the Management Board for the group, which develops and promotes open standards management of user identities on computer networks.

The Management Board is the highest level in the Liberty Alliance organization and is responsible for overall governance of the group, including legal and financial operations. Management Board members also get final voting authority for all Liberty-sponsored specifications, according to the Liberty Alliance.

Intel’s decision to join the group signals wide market support for Liberty’s approach to federated identity, the spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

“It’s something we’re pleased to see. We regard it as a good thing for the health of the Alliance to attract leaders in their space, and Intel is certainly that,” said Michael Barrett, president of the Liberty Alliance.

Barrett acknowledged that the prospect of a hardware company like Intel joining a software standards group might strike some as odd. However, Intel employs many software developers who write code that ends up in firmware and on silicon and uses Web services internally, he said.

“Its entirely reasonable for a hardware manufacturer to look at (the Liberty Alliance) protocols to enable their business,” he said.

Intel will be represented on the Liberty Alliance Management Board by George Goodman, director of system software for Intel’s corporate technology group, Barrett said.

“Authentication and identity management are critical to the success of new computer and communications usages,” said Goodman in an e-mail statement. “We are looking forward to working with our customers and member companies to make implementation (of Liberty Alliance standards) a reality across all the hardware platforms we provide.”

In November, the Liberty Alliance published its Phase 2 specifications, completing the organization’s Identity Web Services Framework. That framework gives companies a road map for designing and deploying Web services that share user authentication information, which simplifies the management of user identities and passwords between Web services. Other Management Board members include VeriSign Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

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