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Liberty Alliance debuts new standard

The Sun-backed group releases the latest revision of specifications that allow companies to securely share identity and account information across several Web sites.

The Liberty Alliance Project, a group that develops security standards for Web services, released the latest revision of its specifications.

Dubbed Phase 2, the specifications allow companies to securely share identity and account information across several Web sites and to provide a single sign-on to Web sites for consumers. That would eliminate the need for customers to re-enter their information multiple times.

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"While other forums are producing technology platforms for building Web services, only the Liberty Alliance is devoting attention to not only building standards but providing the business and policy best practices that allow those standards to work across industries, across the globe, and in a privacy- and security-enhancing manner," Michael Barrett, president of the group, said in a statement.

The latest version of the so-called Liberty Identity Web Services Framework is built on several standards, including the Security Assertion Markup Language, Simple Object Access Protocol, Extensible Markup Language and Web Services Security.

The Liberty Identity Web Services Framework was created to compete with Microsoft's .Net framework, also based on many standards. Sun Microsystems launched Liberty at the behest of Visa International, but the effort is now controlled by many companies.

The Liberty Alliance also announced that it has released an initial "owners manual" to help companies that implement the framework do so in a privacy-compliant manner. The organization said it formed a new group, the Services Group, to develop specifications for various services that could use the new framework.

Among the companies that announced support for the new Phase 2 specifications are Phaos Technology, Ping Identity, Sun Microsystems, Trustgenix and Vodafone Group.