With 11 new members, the--originally founded by Sun Microsystems--has 38 companies working to create a standard method for computer users to identify themselves on the Internet, through either passwords or more sophisticated authentication technology.
The alliance plans to release its first specification this summer, said Eric Dean, chair of the Liberty Alliance and chief information officer of United Airlines. Soon afterward, companies will incorporate the specifications into Web sites, he said.
Microsoft, which offers its own authentication service called Passport, is not part of Liberty but has not ruled out membership. Rival Sun originally created Liberty as a counterbalance to Microsoft's plans. Liberty quickly won the support of dozens of companies, including AOL Time Warner, American Express, Sony and Finland's Nokia.
During a panel discussion at the RSA Conference 2002 in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, representatives from both Microsoft and the Liberty Alliance said they wereto compatibility between the two efforts.
By midyear, Dean said, the Liberty Alliance hopes to release an initial specification that will get Web pages, such as airline or rental-car sites, to work better together. If the group succeeds, customers will be able to enter sign-on information just once, regardless of the site they choose to visit.
"Almost every commercial Web site offers some sort of identity system to log on to," Dean said. "We want you to navigate more seamlessly. That's a first small, functional, but crucial, step."
Dean said future updates to the specification will allow Web sites to share customer information, such as profiles or credit card information. The Liberty Alliance plans to release updates to the specification every six to nine months, he said.
The other new members of the Liberty Alliance announced Tuesday are ActivCard, Catavault, EDS, OneName, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Register.com and SchlumbergerSema.