- International standards backed up by a UN body are needed
to clear up the international identity-verification mess, according to
a senior IBM Global Services executive
- The growing need for fast, accurate verification of personal
identities has prompted a call from an industry observer for a global agency
to set international standards.
- The realm of identity and access management (IAM) is
heating up as nations like the UK and the US increase their use of biometrics
and other identifying technology in ID cards, border controls and other
- Beyond different governments "trying to create a
mosaic for what they want as good identity management", wider international
cooperation is needed to establish a common language and standards, said
Cal Slemp, vice-president and global leader for security and privacy services
at IBM Global Services. The common language for exchanging user access
information is also known as federated IAM.
- "Governments have a huge part to play in this, because
they have ultimate responsibility for their citizens, and depending on
the country, they may have ultimate responsibility for the businesses and
e-commerce as well," Slemp said.
- But, current efforts are piecemeal and much more can
be done to exploit the potential of the federated environment, added Slemp.
During a medical emergency, for instance, the identities of a foreign doctor
and a visiting patient need to be established quickly and accurately, in
order for the right healthcare to be administered.
- What's missing right now, he noted, is a trusted third
party to authenticate trustworthiness. "So we've got inconsistent
and incomplete implementation [in individual countries], and also no standard
approach to the future nor a target to shoot at."
- Slemp believes that now is the right time to establish
a global body that will consider the interests of all countries and build
up a foundation, which the individual countries can expand upon to fulfil
their unique requirements.
- "There are organisations that work together on this
issue and issues like that across borders all the time, and it can be as
grandiose as to say the UN has a process in place to share information
like that and create working groups to try and to create standards or expectations
and across multiple jurisdictions," said Slemp. "I just don't
know what the name would be."