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Technology Leaders Join OpenID Foundation to Promote Open Identity Management on the Web


OpenID Foundation to Support Internet User Single Sign-On Technology
The OpenID Foundation today announced that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) have joined as its first corporate board members.

With these companies’ deep expertise in Internet and security technology, the OpenID Foundation strengthens the industry-wide effort to empower users with portable Web identities, or OpenIDs. This effort helps ensure the evolution of an open and interoperable Internet that helps people take control of how their personal information is shared on-line and aids on-line businesses to attract and retain more users by simplifying and securing the management of digital identities.

The OpenID Foundation was formed in June 2007 to support and promote the technology developed by the OpenID community. Members includes individuals, students, non-profits, startups and industry giants that have come together to develop and promote open identity management on the Web.

OpenID is free technology that simplifies the on-line user experience by eliminating the need for multiple user names across Internet sites, enabling individuals to take more control and ownership of their digital identities. This user-centric digital identity technology helps users reduce the pain of managing dozens, even hundreds of user-names and passwords, and provides more control over what personal information they share with Web sites when they sign-in using an OpenID.

Today, more than 10,000 Web sites support OpenID log-ins, and an estimated 350 million OpenID enabled URLs currently exist.

“With this support from the new company board members, the OpenID Foundation will be able to continue to promote and protect the technology and its community moving forward,” said Bill Washburn, Executive Director, OpenID Foundation. “The community has clearly expanded since the inception of the Foundation and these companies will help bring OpenID into the mainstream markets.”

The industry collaboration supporting OpenID extends not only to the technology itself, but also to the establishment of the OpenID Foundation as an open forum to promote, protect and enable the OpenID technologies and community. The OpenID community has matured rapidly from its inception as a loose coalition of volunteers to the establishment of the OpenID Foundation with a strong mission and intellectual property structure that enables all to participate in developing and implementing OpenID technology. This progress has been made with donations of legal resources by Microsoft and various contributions from Google, IBM, VeriSign and Yahoo!.

“Google shares the OpenID Foundation’s vision of a Web that’s easy to use and built on open standards available to everyone,” said Brad Fitzpatrick, a software engineer at Google who created OpenID while at Six Apart in 2005. “OpenID was always intended to be a decentralized sign-on system, so it’s fantastic to join a foundation committed to keeping it free and unencumbered by proprietary extensions.”

“Privacy concerns have been escalating rapidly because of repeated incidents involving unexpected personal information loss and user identity theft,” said Anthony Nadalin, IBM Distinguished Engineer and chief security architect, IBM Tivoli software. “As a leader in identity, access and federated identity management and open standards-based software, this is an important step in IBM’s collaboration with other industry leaders to continuously enhance open source projects for user-centric identity. This effort is intended to provide users with more control and to help them better manage and protect their digital identities.”

“The OpenID community is a key constituency in solving the digital identity problems Internet users face, and will benefit from being represented by the OpenID Foundation,” said Kim Cameron, Microsoft’s Chief Identity Architect. “Since Bill Gates and Craig Mundie announced our collaboration with the OpenID community last February at RSA, Microsoft has played a leading role in establishing the Foundation’s open policy framework that allows everyone to participate in the development and use of OpenID specifications. Now, we look forward to working with the community to refine and drive adoption of the specifications.”

“OpenID enables consumers to take control of their online identity, which in turn will drive trust, privacy and security on the Internet,” said Nico Popp, vice president of Innovation at VeriSign, Inc. “Networked identity and authentication services are core elements of VeriSign’s current and future service offerings. Because of this, we applaud the creation of the OpenID foundation and we look forward to contributing to its mission.”

“Yahoo! believes that a truly open Web is the key to the next-generation of Internet experiences; OpenID furthers this cause by delivering a free, standards-based solution that the entire industry can embrace,” said Ash Patel, executive vice president of platforms and infrastructure at Yahoo!. “Over the last year we have worked closely with the OpenID Foundation to develop the organization’s intellectual property framework, finalize the OpenID 2.0 specification and to adopt OpenID for all 248 million active registered Yahoo! users worldwide. We look forward to collaborating with the OpenID Foundation, its board and community to further simplify the consumer experience of the Web and empower users to take control of their online identity with OpenID.”

OpenID Technology
With the increased use of the Internet to conduct business and the rise of new types of on-line interactions, such as social networking and user-generated content, innovative kinds of digital identifier technologies are necessary to sustain the “open Web.” OpenID enables individuals to convert one of their already existing digital identifiers -- such as their personal blog’s URL -- into an OpenID account, which then can be used as a log-in at any Web sites supporting OpenID.

Wide adoption of OpenID reduces the frustration of repeatedly having to register username/password accounts and then later recalling log-in information for an ever increasing array of Web sites. For on-line businesses, these efforts can lower password and account management costs, help reduce the overall risks of security breaches by limiting the amount of customer personal information businesses need to store and protect, and increase both new and return user traffic by lowering the barriers to Web site entry and reentry.


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