Tech Companies Partner in Web Identity Access Effort

Google, PayPal, Equifax and others announced today at the RSA Conference in San Francisco that they are working together to build trust in online identity management through an alliance known as the Online Identity Exchange (OIX).

Several major corporations, including tech industry heavyweights Google, VeriSign and CAannounced today at the RSAConference 2010 they will join forces to form the Open Identity Exchange.

PayPal, Equifax, Verizon and Booz Allen Hamilton are also part of the group, which will be at the center of efforts to build trust in the secure exchange of online identity credentials across the public and private sectors as users move from site to site. Already, the group has been approved as a trust framework provider by the U.S.government to certify online identity management providers meet federal standards.

Google, PayPal and Equifax are the first three identity providers certified by OIX to issue digital identity credentials that will be accepted for privacy-protected registration and login at U.S.government Websites. Verizon is currently in the certification process and is expected to be completed shortly, according to OIX.

"OIX grew out of a public/private industry partnership initiated by the U.S.government at this conference last year," said Don Thibeau, OIDF executive director and OIX board chair, in a statement. "OpenID and Information Card technologies can solve the technical problem of using identity credentials across different Websites, but can't solve the problem of how those credentials can be trusted at different levels of assurance. OIX is a solution to this problem not just for the U.S. government, but for many different governments, industry alliances, non-profit associations, telcos, academic networks, and others all over the world who need to establish trust across a wide online population."

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website is the first government site to accept these credentials, including OpenID and Information Card logins. The OIX is currently working on development of trust frameworks for public media, telecommunications, library services, state and local governments and professional associations, officials said.

"We're pleased to be among the first organizations to be certified by the newly created OIX," said Eric Sachs, senior product manager at Google, in the statement. "We've already seen encouraging implementations of identity technologies in the industry, and our hope is that the work of the OIX will expand on this progress to help facilitate more open government participation, as well as improve security on the Internet by reducing password use across Websites."