A public-private project has resulted in a link-up between two rival ID authentication schemes.
The project involves the State Services Commission and Datacom. In using the services of Microsoft’s Innovation Centre a link has resulted between Microsoft’s CardSpace identity scheme and the alternative Security Assertion Markup Language SAML, used in the SSC’s authentication scheme.
The shared services aspect of the e-government authentication set-up — comprising, to-date, the Government Logon Service and the still-developing Identity Verification Service (IVS) — means a consistent authentication procedure no matter what government agency is being contacted.
These services and Microsoft CardSpace are based on the same idea: that the user should only have to provide the minimum personal information necessary to establish their identity to perform any desired transaction. However, CardSpace uses WS-Trust and WS-MetadataExchange, a different set of standards to SAML.
The SSC project, claimed to be one of the first in the world to try to integrate Windows CardSpace with the SAML standard, will allow users with an appropriately configured CardSpace ID to “authenticate” themselves to NZ government systems.
The four-month project demonstrates that public-private partnerships have the power to be more effective, and more quickly, than a single organisation working alone, says Microsoft’s public sector director, Chris Brice.
“We believe that one of the best ways to accelerate the speed of technology adoption is through close partnerships between the public sector and the private sector,” he says.