March 17, 2004 7:01 AM PST

Intel to join Liberty Alliance

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The Liberty Alliance Project, which creates security-related specifications, is expected to announce on Thursday that chipmaker Intel will join as its latest member, CNET News.com has learned.

The Liberty Alliance was formed in 2001 to create specifications that allow people to sign on to multiple networks by entering user information--such as name and password--once. Such "federated" security technologies have become more important as companies seek to improve the security and privacy of online networks.

Intel's membership in Liberty Alliance fits into the company's strategy of generating demand for its chips by backing companies and technologies that drive usage of PCs and mobile devices, said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst at research company ZapThink. Intel does not sell a federated identity management software product.

A Liberty Alliance representative confirmed that an announcement on Intel's membership is scheduled for Thursday.

The organization includes about 160 member companies, such as technology suppliers Sun Microsystems and Sony, as well as consumer-oriented businesses, like Fidelity Investments and American Express.

The Liberty Alliance develops technical specifications as well as guidelines for using emerging security-related technology in different business scenarios, such as offering mobile phone services.

In November of last year, the organization released a second set of federated identity specifications, dubbed Phase 2, which provides guidelines on issues related to privacy and security.

There are a number of overlapping security and identity management-related specifications now under development. Last year, IBM, Microsoft, BEA Systems and RSA Security authored a technical specification called WS-Federation, which overlaps with the Liberty Alliance specifications.

Microsoft rival Sun formed the Liberty Alliance at the behest of Visa International. The organization is now controlled by many companies, however.

 

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